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Google confirms decline in hardware sales: Is Pixel 4 to blame?

Google specifically pointed out some devices that sold well, but the Pixel 4 series wasn't one of them.

Published onFebruary 4, 2020

It looks like the Pixel 4 series didn't meet Google hardware sales expectations.

Alphabet held its Q4 2019 earnings call yesterday (February 3), and we learned how much money YouTube is making for the first time. The Google parent company also shed some light on hardware sales, painting what seems to be a mixed picture.

Alphabet didn’t give exact figures for the hardware business or specific devices, but executives repeatedly noted a decline in hardware sales or revenue (h/t: Motley Fool). Nevertheless, the Other Revenues division, which includes hardware, was up by 10% year-on-year (hitting $5.3 billion). This growth was due to YouTube and Play Store earnings.

The company did however briefly note which devices were selling well, saying the new Google Nest Mini and Nest Hub Max were “selling well” over the holiday period. Alphabet also said the Pixel 3a series “sold well” in 2019, but what about the Pixel 4?

Google Pixel 4 doesn't work with some USB cables (Update: Google responds)
Pixel 4 XL ports macro 1

“With Pixel 4, we continue to build out our capabilities and are keenly focused on execution, delivering great user experiences and broadening our distribution,” said Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai during the call, not mentioning sales at all.

This suggests that Google’s flagship series didn’t meet early hardware sales expectations. It wouldn’t be a surprise though, as we had just as much criticism as praise in our Pixel 4 review. Between the disappointing battery life, poorly supported face unlock, and paltry amount of base storage, it’s clear Google could’ve done so much better. But the phone also offered a 90Hz OLED screen, excellent picture quality, and stock Android.

It doesn’t help that Google’s latest flagship isn’t available in the likes of India, where the Soli radar chip used for gestures doesn’t have certification.