Google’s high-end Pixels scarce for buyers, but firm plans lower-end phones for U.S.: reports

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Google’s new high-end Pixel smartphones are mostly out of stock, and meanwhile the firm plans to bring lower-cost Android phones to the U.S. market, two new reports said.

In October, Google splashily announced the new Pixel and Pixel XL, and they received generally positive reviews.  But would-be buyers have been stymied, a report said Wednesday.

“It has become incredibly difficult for consumers to actually acquire either of them in a reasonable amount of time,” said an article on tech website The Verge. “Google has done a poor job of shipping adequate supply of both Pixels, as it’s now January and there’s still no easy way of obtaining the model you want without resorting to eBay or Swappa.”

Google fell down on the shipping job with the Pixel XL in particular, according to the website. The XL with 128GB capacity hasn’t been in stock in Google’s online store since the end of November, The Verge reported.

The website noted that Google and Verizon Wireless made “a fairly big deal” about the Pixels being “exclusive” to Verizon, but that hasn’t made purchasing one easier for Verizon’s customers, the site said.

“Orders placed today for the 128GB Pixel XL aren’t scheduled to ship until the second week of March. March!” The Verge sniffed. “It’s fairly difficult (though not impossible) to find the regular, 5-inch Pixel with 128GB of storage in stock at Verizon retail locations.

“But online orders for the smaller size are beginning to slide back weeks, too. The black 128GB Pixel is backordered into February. If you want the white color, you might wait until March.”

March!

Meanwhile, Google intends to expand to the U.S. its “Android One” program for phones using the Android operating system, “promising phone makers major new promotional dollars if they play by its rules,” according to a report Tuesday on subscription tech site The Information.

The first phone to enter the U.S. market under the Android One program should arrive before midyear, at a price of $200 to $300, according to (paywall) The Information, which based its report on unnamed sources said to have been briefed on the plan.

“It will be made by a phone manufacturer whose identity couldn’t be learned,” the site said. “It will be different from other Android phones because it will guarantee timely software updates, including security updates, for two years from sale date, one of the people said. That’s something Android often fails to do, unlike Apple.”

Google launched Android One in 2014 in India, and expanded it to Europe and Japan last year, The Information said.

“Part of the Android One push is aimed at strengthening Google’s brand name,” the site reported. “Google has spent years running ads for Android in the U.S., including with TV spots, but phone makers believe Android’s brand name still isn’t widely understood. Consumers know the brands of individual phone makers such as Samsung.”

 

Photo: Rick Osterloh, Google senior vice president of hardware, introduces the new Google Pixel phone during a product event, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg/AP)