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Google knew the Pixel 4’s battery life was terrible, but released it anyway

The head of Google’s hardware division raised concerns about the Pixel 4’s sub-par battery life before the phone’s launch in 2019, it has emerged.

Rick Osterloh, the former president of Motorola, didn’t hold back during an all-hands meeting last autumn, according to a report in The Information.

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“At a hardware team all-hands meeting in the fall, ahead of the October launch in New York, Osterloh informed staff about his own misgivings,” the report reads.

“He told them he did not agree with some of the decisions made about the phone, according to two people who were present at the meeting. In particular, he was disappointed in its battery power.”

Mr Osterloh, we couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, Google either chose not to, or didn’t have enough time to, do something about it.

The same report has also revealed that one of the key figures behind the Pixel’s outstanding camera, Marc Levoy, quietly left Google earlier this year.

With Huawei hamstrung by the Google ban for the second half of last year, and Samsung disappointing with a series of perfectly good but boring S10 and Note 10 handsets, Google had an open goal for Android phone of the year in 2019.

Instead, it produced a flagship with an excellent camera but inexcusably poor battery life, costing between £629 and £929.

“For the most part the Pixel 4 is an excellent bit of hardware, apart from one key area – it’s pretty bad battery life … the Pixel 4’s battery life is without a doubt shorter than most competing flagships,” is what we wrote in our review.

And the same applies to the Pixel 4 XL.

The Pixel 3 range wasn’t a big seller for Google, and all indications are that the Pixel 4 range has proven even less popular with consumers than its predecessor.

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According to IDC, Google sold approximately 2 million Pixel 4s in the first two quarters after its release, compared to 3.5 million Pixel 3 handsets and just under 3 million Pixel 3a phones during the first two quarters that they were on sale.

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