It looks like Verizon will be the exclusive retailer once again when Google announces their new flagship smartphone this fall. Before you jump up and yell, “But I used the Pixel on so and so network, not Verizon,” let me make this clear… Verizon will be the exclusive RETAIL PARTNER but you will still be able to use the Pixel 2 on most major networks. “Google Pixel 2 Verizon only” just means that other carriers won’t be carrying the Pixel 2 in their stores and offering the device on contract at a discounted price.
The problem with a Google Pixel 2 Verizon only retail availability is that it confuses the hell out of customers. We saw this last year. People saw the Verizon advertisements that claimed the Pixel was only available at Verizon. Of course, you could still buy the Pixel outright directly from Google and use it on any network but Verizon obviously wouldn’t tell you that. The same thing will likely happen this year if the Google Pixel 2 Verizon only rumor is true. Verizon will use their massive marketing budget to make you think that their retail stores are the only place you can get a Pixel 2. People who are committed to AT&T or Sprint will think that they can’t get a Pixel 2 and choose a different device.
Maybe Google has learned their lesson after last year and will put more marketing budget into making it clear that the Pixel 2 will work on any network and you can get it from the official Google store if you want one. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Verizon wants to draw people into their retail stores. Again, the confusion that will result from this could turn people away from the Pixel 2. After all, you want to be 100% sure your new flagship smartphone will work on your network before you drop the money.
This news will obviously be disappointing to customers of other wireless carriers who were hoping to pick up a discounted Pixel 2 on contract. If you’re not on Verizon then the only way you will be able to get your hands on a Pixel 2 will be directly from Google. With a rumored price of somewhere in the $700 to $800 range, that may put the device out of reach for some.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a lot to live up to this fall. The Galaxy Note 8, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus will all be available by time the Pixel 2 is revealed. The iPhone X will be available for sale at the beginning of November. Basically, the Pixel 2 is the last guest to arrive at the party which means they better have a case of beer (metaphorically speaking) under one arm.
That exciting feature which grabs the attention of smartphone buyers could be the rumored Google Assistant-powered headphones, code named “Bisto.” Of course, the main reason for these new headphones is because Google has reportedly done away with the 3.5mm headphone port in the upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices. It looks like the popularity of AirPods have got Google working overtime on their own wireless earbuds and maybe even additional models that feature buttons and/or different designs. Whether these headphones will be bundled with the Pixel 2 or sold separately remains to be seen.
Thanks to Google Pixel 2 certification information we also have a better idea of what to expect in the upcoming devices. The smaller Pixel 2 is being manufactured by HTC and will reportedly include the same squeezable edge technology we see in the HTC U11. For the larger Pixel 2 XL, Google has tapped LG to manufacture the device. This means we will likely see a bezel-less device that follows the latest trends in the smartphone industry. I would expect to see something similar to the LG V30.
This latest news will certainly elicit some mixed reactions. Verizon subscribers will be happy that their carrier is the exclusive retail partner for the new Pixel devices once again this year. Other folks might be upset to find out that the Google Pixel 2 Verizon only trend continues. Of course, the device can still be picked up for full price directly from Google. Start saving your money!
Does the exclusivity of having Verizon as a retail partner change your opinion about the Google Pixel 2? Are you more or less likely to buy?