Google’s Pixel Exclusitivity Shows Why Carrier Exclusives Suck for Consumers

Google’s Pixel Exclusitivity Shows Why Carrier Exclusives Suck for Consumers

We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links.

Writer’s Note- Yes, the Pixel is available through the Google Store unlocked. However, this article is primarily targeted for those who already utilize their carrier for the Note7 and plan replace it through the carrier either through a payment plan, lease, or otherwise. In an ideal world everyone would purchase unlocked phones; however, we don’t live in a ideal world.

Amidst all of the craziness of the October 4th event, one thing that stood out was Google working only with Verizon as a launch partner in the US for the new Pixel phones.

On the surface this is a good thing for Google, a manufacturer who wants to gain a foothold in the US. Verizon is still the largest carrier, and they have an excellent track record with exclusives with the long running Droid lineup still going strong. AT&T has had lackluster success with exclusives, and Sprint and T-Mobile have had next to none. It also makes sense in that Verizon is co-branding the Pixel marketing push and judging by Verizon’s home page, there is a mutual benefit at play. While Google in theory stood to benefit from this push, it also is showing why carrier exclusives suck and how we all lose…

pixel1The Note 7 will likely go down in history as one of the most publicly flawed devices in years. While the Amazon Fire Phone, HTC First, and Microsoft Kin would argue otherwise, none of them have crashed and burned in such a spectacular fashion. Now that two major US carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile) have discontinued sales of the Note 7, possibly for good, many potential purchasers of the phone are left looking for an equivalent replacement. Add to that the numerous current owners that are going to return their Note 7 units, again, only to look for something similar. So what will they find? The sad fact is that most US carriers do not currently carry a late-model, large-sized, Android flagship device – the Note 7 demographic – unless you happen to be on big red. To further compound this issue is that, like it or not, most US consumers still get their devices through the carrier with the rise of no interest loans or leases, myself included. This is where Google may have played its cards wrong.

By not making the Pixel phone available to all carriers through their installment plans, Google stands to lose out on potentially millions of sales from current and future Note 7 owners. As odd as it sounds, if you want a comparable device and you are not on Verizon your choices are limited to the LG V10, the currently-unreleased and promising LG V20 (which should arrive at the same time as the Pixel devices), or the Galaxy S7 edge. While the S7 edge may still be a solid contender, some Note 7 owners may want to break free from Samsung entirely leaving them with few choices. Further, LG simply does not carry the clout or notoriety that Google, Apple, or Samsung carry making even their flagship devices feel like a step down from what consumers may have desired. Sadly this leaves many customers with few choices and at least some will flee towards the newly announced, and hard to find, iPhone 7 Plus. The market is just begging for a top tier flagship Android device to fill the large shoes the Note 7 will inevitably leave empty, and Google’s brand recognition can easily make up for what it lacks in history as an OEM.

Google could never have imagined that the Note 7 would go down in history in such a fireball of failure, but it just goes to show why carrier exclusives and backdoor deals just suck for consumers. Hopefully the rumors of that exclusivity only lasting a short time pan out, even if it is a case of too little too late. Until then, I have no clue what device I will replace my Note 7 with…

So current owners of the Note7 what are you planning to do with possibly a second recall looming? Will you replace it with another Note 7, another Samsung device, or will you look elsewhere?