Google Pixel 2 Will Face Brutal Fight Against Galaxy Note 8, iPhone 8

For so many hit consumer electronics products, it has been the second-gen version of the product that has propelled it to stardom rather than the first. That’s because its creators relied on customer feedback, technology advances and at times better distribution to deliver a mass-market hit the second time around.

For iPhone 3G and iPad 2 each shipped in far greater volumes than the original iPhone and iPad. For Samsung, it was the Galaxy S II far more than the original Galaxy S that made Samsung the undisputed leader of the high-end Android phone market.

And it was the Galaxy Note II more than the original Note that made phablets a big part of this market. Likewise, Microsoft Xbox 360 console easily outsold the original Xbox.

Can Pixel phone line see a similar breakout via the expected fall launch of second-gen Pixel phones? While the new Pixels should benefit from better distribution, what has been reported about the phones to date, along with what’s known and reported about rival hardware, suggests Google faces an uphill battle.

Reports indicate Google will sell a standard Pixel 2 sporting a 5-inch display that has a traditional 16-to-9 aspect ratio, as well as a 6-inch Pixel XL 2 featuring a wider 18-to-9 aspect ratio, close to what Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones use.

Like rival 2017 Android phones featuring OLED displays — and perhaps also Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 — the displays reportedly support an “Always On” mode that makes useful information and controls quickly available with minimal battery usage.

The new Pixels are expected to be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 processor — a slightly-improved version of its current Snapdragon 835 flagship — and run Google’s just-launched Android 8.0 (Oreo). And like some HTC phones, they’ll reportedly have frames that can do things such as launch the camera app or bring up the lock screen when squeezed.

The phones look decent overall, and should find an audience with consumers partial to the Pixel line’s uncluttered Android interface (technically, it’s not “stock” Android) relative to custom interfaces that make bigger changes, such as Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense. Another appealing feature is Google’s ability to quickly push Android updates to its phones.

In addition, should it leave starting prices for its smaller and larger Pixels at $649 and $769, respectively, Google should be able to undercut its top rivals. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus carry $750 and $800 starting prices, respectively, and the Note 8 — which just launched to good reviews — sells for over $900. Recent reports have put the iPhone 8’s starting price around $1,000.

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