Google is planning a major increase in its smartphone shipments with the impending launch of the Pixel 6, according to Nikkei. The Japanese publication says that Google has ordered more than 7 million Pixel 6 smartphones to be produced, roughly doubling its entire 2020 production. Nikkei cites figures from IDC saying that Google produced 3.7 million phones last year.
And according to Nikkei, it’s not just the Pixel 6 that’ll account for the boost in shipments — the lower-end Pixel 5A, released earlier this year, is said to have received more than 5 million orders. Together with the Pixel 6, which will be announced in full later today, that means Google should more than triple its 2020 smartphone output.
Nikkei reports that Google is “attempting to capitalize on its position as the only US maker of smartphones running on the Android operating system” and increase market share following the sanctions-induced collapse of Huawei’s mobile business. The company is said to be targeting Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi, the three current leading vendors. For comparison, Apple is said to be shipping around 80 million iPhone 13 units in 2021 alone, so the Pixel is still going to be very far behind.
Google’s Pixel phones have generally been well-received for their cameras and software design, but have often had their quirks and have never shipped in significant enough volume to make a major impact on the industry at large. In the US, Pixel market share has trailed the likes of Lenovo, LG, and OnePlus, with Apple and Samsung in a different league altogether.
Details of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have already been widely disseminated, including by Google itself, and the phones are set to be officially launched at 1PM ET today. Alleged pricing info from Target leaked yesterday, suggesting that the Pixel 6 line will start at $599. If that’s the case, it would be further evidence of Google’s attempts to increase its market share. Last year’s Pixel 5 had relatively mid-range specs and started at $699.
Google is also working on a new Pixelbook laptop running ChromeOS, according to Nikkei. No details of the product were given, though Nikkei points to its previous reporting that said Google was developing its own chips for Chromebooks. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will be the first Pixel phones to use a Google-developed SoC known as Tensor.