Google’s Pixel struggles mean there’s a lot riding on the mid-range Pixel 3a

Google has admitted that the Pixel 3 isn’t selling as well as its predecessor, the Pixel 2 − but has confirmed that it will launch brand new hardware next week.

The search giant has just revealed its Q1 2019 earnings, and said they “reflect pressure in the premium smartphone industry”.

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Google brought in revenue of $36.34bn in Q1, which is higher than the $31.15bn it brought in over the same period last year, but short of the $37.33bn analysts had forecast (via Guardian).

“While the first quarter results reflect pressure in the premium smartphone industry, we are pleased with the ongoing momentum of Assistant-enabled Home devices, particularly the Home Hub and Mini devices and look forward to our May 7 announcement at I/O from our hardware team,” said Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat during the earnings call.

That’s the biggest hint yet that the mid-range Pixel 3a will launch at Google’s annual developer conference, as has been rumoured.

The Pixel 3a is expected to land as a much more affordable version of the Pixel 3, which launched last year with a £739 price tag (the Pixel 3 XL had a starting price of £869 at launch).

That’s a big step up over the previous generation Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which had starting prices of £629 and £799 respectively, when they came out in 2017.

While Google fell short of admitting that it might have priced the Pixel 3 range too steeply, Porat conceded that the firm has been struggling to compete with its more established smartphone industry rivals, such as Samsung and Apple.

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“Hardware results reflect lower year-on-year sales of Pixel reflecting in part heavy promotional activity industry-wide given some of the recent pressures in the premium smartphone market,” she said.

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