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Google wants to be Apple again. Here's the problem

Written By Ajmal Hassan on 24 September 2017 | September 24, 2017


Walk up to people who don't work in tech -- surely you know at least one -- and ask them what they think about Pixel phones.
I fancy they'll stare at you benignly and wonder if you've been imbibing excessively or if it's just a trick question.
Over the years, Google has dabbled in the idea of having its own phones. The essential strategy was always clear: Apple succeeds because it controls not only the hardware, but the software. 
Google thought it could do the same by buying Motorola, which it then sold to Lenovo. 
It all seems sensible, if remarkably late. Google accepted for far too long that Samsung would make premium Android phones and Google's software would maintain the company's reach across the world.
Now, though, Google has to build a brand, one that isn't called Google. The company currently markets these phones as: "Pixel. Phones Made by Google."
The quality of the phones shouldn't be in doubt. Those who actually saw, touched and played with Pixel phones admired them. My colleague Lynn La described them as "pure Android at its absolute best."
But this Android was so pure that few gained access. Can Google really master the infernally tricky business of turning humans into Pixellites?
There's a certain irony in the company teaming with HTC. This Taiwanese company often used to release very attractive phones. 
On the marketing side, however, its efforts ranged from the pained to the bizarre.
Surely you haven't forgotten HTC mocking "The Bachelorette" in an ad, have you? And remember when the company actually tried mocking Apple's "1984" ad? Yes, with the tagline: "Be Brilliant." 

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