TO PARAPHRASE the words of Gob Bluth in Arrested Development: "They've made a huge mistake".
Google announced some amazing new hardware on Wednesday, but the pricing? Horrendous.
Let's get one thing clear - I'm a Google fan. I've been writing a weekly Google column for several years now and it's one of the highlights of my week.
So, Wednesday was supposed to be my Christmas. But when the prices were revealed, it felt like my Christmas stocking was behind a layer of bulletproof glass.
Here's the thing. Google is churning out some brilliant hardware. The Pixel 2 and XL are gorgeous. The instant translating Pixel Buds are the closest thing we've come so far to a Babelfish. The Clips camera is… well, bloody creepy.
But there's an arrogance in Google's pricing that will betray it.
Take the Pixelbook for example. It's a very sleek looking convertible device. But it's a Chromebook. And getting people to run something other than Windows is hard. Now, are you really going to pay between £1000 and £1700 (plus another £100 for the pen) to see if you can manage without Windows of Mac OS?
If you did, a quick look on eBuyer shows us Dell Chromebook 2-in-1 for under £375.
Ah, you might be thinking, but the specs are better.
But a Chromebook doesn't need an i7 processor and tonnes of RAM. It works in the cloud - its essentially an app streamer, and that takes a fraction of the specs Google is offering up. It is designed and priced for size-queens and they won't feel where the extra money went.
Google is out to convert people to its hardware. Even though the Pixel 2 is fundamentally on a par with recent phones from, say, Samsung, those are mature brands. Google, as a hardware vendor is not. To entice people, it needed to go in much lower, like OnePlus or Honor.
The top-of-the-line Pixel 2 is £899. Compare that with the iPhone 8's biggest configuration, which is only another fifty quid or the Galaxy Note 8 at £869, a full 40 quid cheaper.
Google needed to go in low. And it knows it. The new Google Home Mini is £49. It will ape the runaway success of the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, which made every telly smart, and bring a Sonos type experience into every room for £30 a pop.
It's more like the Amazon model - sell devices at little or no profit, but lock customers into its ecosystem and make money from other services.
But for the phones and tablet, they've gone the other way - priced it as an Apple product would be priced. And that is pure folly for a brand with only one own-branded device under its belt.
Last night's launch had a different tone to what we've been used to. The original Pixel launch was a very traditional affair for tech journalists. Last night, we were joined by influencers. The YouTubers, the Instagrammers. Google was making a statement - "our hardware is premium, our hardware is stylish, our hardware is cool".
But for us, the tech writers, the prices have shot up, for what? Tech that, for the most part, you'll be able to buy from third parties for a fraction of the cost.
It's a brave decision, but not one I can get on board with. The Pixel Buds are game-changing. The Home Mini could finally see Google toe-to-toe with Amazon Alexa.
And then there's that camera. Clips. Creepy. Invasive. Not for me. Maybe the Instas will like it. But I wouldn't buy it. I think Google knows it too, the market here isn't ready. It's not coming to the UK for now.
It's going to be interesting to see if Google's gamble pays off and it cements itself as the premium brand for its own hardware. But my gut feeling is no. And for me, my loyalties won't change - I'll still be Android, Chrome and Google Home. But I won't feel bad that it'll have a cheaper badge on it.
I love the new devices. But I don't feel the need to pay for the name, and I don't think many others will. The Cult of Apple is a one off and we won't see its like engineered, no matter how big the company involved. µ
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