Apple now has serious competition for leadership at the top-end of the global smartphone market with the launch of the Google Pixel. Google has achieved something that no other device-maker, bar Apple, has—an integration of devices and software to build a strong ecosystem. Pixel competes head-to-head with the iPhone on all parameters, be it OS, app stores, cloud storage, online assistance and even price. Google also gains from the fact that Pixel was launched at a time when the largest-selling Android device-maker Samsung was in trouble over exploding Galaxy Note 7.
While other device-makers opted for the Android OS—since the iOS is a walled garden—for Pixel, it is part of Google. It also has the Play Store to compete with Apple’s App Store; while Apple offers storage on the iCloud, Google is offering Pixel users unlimited cloud storage for full-resolution photos and video. As far as voice-activated assistants go in an AI world—it is a fight between Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant. But, the advantage that Google has is that it can, over time, tie-in the various ventures under Alphabet. That includes the connected home device—Google Home, driverless cars and Nest. iPhone sales that have been on a down-trend—from 51 million in Q2 2016 to 40.4 million in Q3 2016—could have gained traction with the launch of the iPhone 7. But, the Pixel could just be the beginning of the biggest competition to Apple.