As we reported last night, Google’s October 4th Event is confirmed and rapidly approaching. There have been more leaks of the supposed Pixel Phones as well, giving us some idea of the phone we will likely see in a couple weeks from now.
What is so interesting this time around, however, isn’t just what is being unveiled. It’s the manner in which it is being unveiled: and what that could mean for Google.
I’m excited about the 10/4 event just like most folks are. I’m interested in what has become my yearly phone upgrade. I’m excited to see some possible new hardware around Google Home, Android Wear, and Daydream VR.
But I’m most intriuged by the use of Pixel in the names of the phones. From the ad we reported on, it seems very clear that Google is done with manufacturer branding (sorry HTC). It also seems that the focus will be on bringing the essence of Google search (Google Assistant) to the phone experience.
But it also hints at a bit more. It hints at a Google phone detached from Android. Don’t hear me saying this phone won’t run Android. I don’t think that is the case at all. But I do see Google possibly using this a launchpad for existing and future products made, designed, and built by Google. Yes, there will always be a manufacturer, but we don’t get hung up on Foxconn making the iPhone, do we?
Phones, tablets, home-based devices, watches, and Chromebooks all ‘made by Google.’ With that sort of focus, we see a shift away from operating systems and manufacturers and a shift towards Google’s services; delivered up by whatever combo of OS and hardware works best.
This approach would also allow Google to let Android be Android: an open-source OS that companies use for devices, including Google. And it will let Google begin leveraging itself as a hardware maker. They can design the Google experience instead of the Android or Chrome OS experience. If Android is the OS to deliver that experience on a phone, fine. The Google experience is built on a phone. If Chrome OS delivers better on a laptop, so be it. The same apps will run on both anyway.
We’ve seen this coming here and there, but this event feels like a real convergence of all these thoughts. While I may be reading too much into all this, Google’s aggressive advertising would serve to show that something bigger than a new phone is on the horizon.
Take this post on Reddit for example. The post is all about a pic taken in New York City showing a huge Google Ad similar to what we are seeing online right now. The poster says it rotates in every 30 seconds or so. That’s one of surely many in high-traffic areas.
Second, consider the fact that on Monday night, Google took out ad spots both for Monday Night Football and the season 10 premier of “Big Bang Theory.” For reference, the season 9 premier saw roughly 18 million viewers.
These spots aren’t cheap.
Google is also clearly going at the mainstream here as well. No longer taking it easy with a blog post or handful of small ads and YouTube videos, Google seems to have finally gotten off the bench and into the game.
Samsung and Apple have owned this space: the space where marketing and advertising become as responsible for phone sales as custom OS experiences. Google looks set to flex it’s considerable advertising muscle and finally begin to market itself to the public.
I highly doubt they’d be doing all this for just a phone or two. And, if they were, they could just keep the Nexus branding. They clearly are not. And the addition of the Pixel branding across phones, tablets and Chromebooks is clearly a signal that something very new is likely to begin at Google. Things they’ve been cooking up for months are likely to come to the surface. And I think the arrival of Android on Chrome OS at this time isn’t a mistake or coincidence.
I really feel that Chromebooks look to factor in this new Google effort in a very, very big way. I obviously don’t know the details or what will happen moving forward, but I can tell you that it is very exciting.
That is why I think October 4th is likely going to be a really big deal. I hope you are excited as well. This is going to be fun.