In November last year, I decided to upgrade a month early and get a new phone. Rather than get the then-new Google Pixel 4, I opted for the Pixel 3A XL as it was significantly cheaper and offered the specs I needed. I feel like my decision was a good one as yesterday, the Pixel 4 was discontinued after just 9 months.
What the hell happened?
According to a Google spokesperson, the Google Store “sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 4 [and] 4 XL”. Pixel 4s are still available through third-party vendors while stocks last and the device will continue receiving updates for the next 3 years but that’s that for Google’s 4th flagship phone.
Given the phone’s poor reception from consumers and reviewers and two Pixel executives quitting after its launch, the phone’s short lifespan is not surprising. Reviews of the Pixel 4 included phrases like:
- Overpriced, uncompetitive, and out of touch
- The battery life is mediocre at best
- The ultimate Android phone has a big flaw
Even the good reviews had significant caveats, noting how bad the battery was. Many people working on the phone took issue with its internals, including Rick Osterloh, the head of Google Hardware, who said he “did not agree with some of the decisions made about the phone” and “in particular, he was disappointed in its battery power”. If your head of hardware isn’t happy with your “best flagship phone yet”, what do you expect?
The 4A lives on
The 4A is on its way and will carry on the “4” legacy in name only. Google’s A phones seem to be better value for money and will likely perform better than the 4, if reviews are lead to be believed.
The Pixel 4A raises the bar for how good a budget phone’s camera can be.Lynn La for CNET
All the phone you need, none of what you don’tDavid Ruddock for Android Police
Does Google have 5 on it?
But this is about the Pixel 4. It’s been a dead phone walking and Google has finally put it out of its misery. The Pixel 5 doesn’t have a concrete release date and has been hampered with leaks, a common issue with technology of this era.
Despite the catastrophic failure of the Pixel 4, Google remains undeterred. According to a leaked internal document, the company will release its first foldable Pixel phone in Q4 of 2021, codenamed “Passport”.
Personally, I don’t know why tech companies are trying to make foldable phones a thing again and I don’t see Google’s reported attempt making waves in the market either. Maybe Google likes failing in the smartphone sector. I guess they have the money to try.