Google made an iPhone, so now what?

IDG.TV | Oct 12, 2016

Google’s new Pixels phones look and cost the same as the iPhone. Now that Google is in Apple territory, what can the original iPhone-maker do to stand out?

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Well, aren't we lucky. We have four new iPhones to choose from. Two came from Apple, and two were made by Google.

Last week, Google revealed a brand-new set of smartphones, the Pixels. They look the same and they cost the same as the iPhone. So, we take it this is Google's obvious – if not desperate – attempt to try to convert us all.

Google has made an iPhone rip-off, so now what? Apple has spent the last decade perfecting the smartphone. When it comes to hardware, I think Apple reached this peak perfection sometime in 2014 because, besides a few incremental improvements, the iPhone hasn't looked that much different since then.
Meanwhile, Google has spent that same amount of time perfecting its mobile software. Now it's starting to integrate apps like Google Maps and Google Photos into its own devices. And unfortunately, mobile software is where Apple falls short, and they know it. Recent iOS updates have included drastic improvements to Siri, Photos, and Maps. But these apps haven't yet caught up to the Google standard.

Sure, Siri may be getting smarter, but sometimes I still feel like I can get better answers from a toddler. The Google Assistant, which comes built-in the Pixel phones, may not have a cute name, but it does have some advantages. No one can deny Google's search prowess and the company's knack for collecting your information. Add some AI to that formula, and we get Google Assistant – or your very own personal Google. The Assistant will automatically scan your phone screen to get more insight about your requests. So when you're in Google Maps and say, take me there! Your Assistant will know exactly what you're talking about.

Another popular Google service that will be built-in to the Pixel phones is Google Photos. This app is so good that it almost makes you forget that all your family photos are now at the whim of some corporate overlords. In the latest iOS 10, Apple updated its Photos app to be more like Google Photos – bringing facial recognition and automated slideshows to the fold. But there's one thing that only Pixel owners will get with Google Photos: Unlimited cloud storage. That means that their photos and even their 4k videos won't take up any local space. Meanwhile, Apple has the audacity to charge us for anything over 5-gigs of iCloud storage.

Google and Apple have come at conquering the mobile world from opposite directions. But now that Google has a high-end smartphone and Apple is focusing on improving its mobile software, their paths are about to go...

Apple needs to become Google faster than Google can become Apple. But Google has their work cut out for them. After all, how hard can it be to sell a $649 smartphone?
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