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Going beyond the one-name one-product concept

By Jean-Claude Elias - Oct 18,2018 - Last updated at Oct 18,2018

We are but human beings, and as such we like to associate one name with one main product. It makes sense and it makes our life easier. Essentially, Microsoft is about software, Samsung about smartphones, Sony makes TVs and Toyota makes cars. It is simple and clear.

The fact that giant manufacturers and industry leaders also offer products other than the ones they are chiefly famous for does not change the main image we automatically see when we think of them. For instance you would rarely remember that Microsoft does digital cameras though it actually makes excellent ones too.

When it comes to the greatest Internet search engine that is Google, we mainly see it as, well… a search engine. We tend to forget that Google is also the company that designed Android, the mobile operating system that operates the largest number — and by far — of mobile devices in the world. The fact that Android actually is “based on a modified version of the Linux kernel” does not change the concept and does not reduce the company’s merit.

Making a great operating system gives you the power, the tools to build hardware to run it. This is plain logic, and this is what Google is doing. The company’s smartphones are now so advanced, and so feature-rich that they are directly competing with the three big names, Apple iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy series and Huawei smartphones.

Strangely, and until the second quarter of this year, Google smartphones are not even mentioned explicitly by their brand name in statistics about phones market shares. They are grouped and combined with the “others” category, well after Samsung, Apple, Huawei, LG and Sony.

And yet, Google’s Pixel phones models come with superior features such as a top-notch camera that alone deserves kudos. The latest model, Pixel 3, is expected to hit the market by early November. In almost every aspect, from screen colours and size, to camera resolution, processor and memory, Pixel 3 is a valid and qualified contender for all the models of the aforementioned three market leaders.

Naturally, usage over time is the only way to actually tell how reliable a product is and to judge it, and consequently how and if it will find its place in the top players league. Characteristics such as battery lifetime and autonomy, resistance to falls and physical shock, level of “waterproofing”, or quality of sound playback, all these take time to test and properly evaluate.

Google wants the consumer to go beyond the one-name one-product idea. The company is right in that sense that its Android operating system is software that is not “that far” from the software it took to make a great search engine and the Chrome web browser that complements it rather nicely. And in turn, these last items allows it to make an equally great smartphone.

Perhaps Japanese manufacturer Yamaha is the industry in the world that makes the largest possible range of products, having apparently nothing in common with each other, except for their undisputed, superior quality. From classical acoustic pianos, digital synthesisers, concert guitars, audio amplifiers, motorcycles and water motor sport vehicles, Yamaha does it all perfectly well.

There is therefore no reason why Google, “that specialises in Internet-related services and products”, cannot convince consumers that its Pixel smartphone is not at least as good as an iPhone or a Galaxy. It is worth remembering Google’s financial power: through its Alphabet multinational conglomerate, Google in 2017 had a revenue of $111 billion, the second in the world, exceeded only by Amazon with $177 billion.

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