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Google has a surprising Pixel 6 problem

Published Oct 29th, 2021 12:21PM EDT
Pixel 6 Problem
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The Pixel 6 series is out, with orders shipping to lucky buyers who preordered the handsets early. Well, the phones are shipping to some of them, at least. That’s because Google has a big Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro problem right now, one that also happens to be a pretty amazing problem to have.

The company doesn’t have enough Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro units to go around. And that’s great news for the Pixel. It’s also quite surprising if you consider the lackluster sales of previous-generation Pixel phones. The two new handsets are a significant step up from last year’s models and probably the best iPhone rivals Google has ever made. It’s no wonder the phones are selling like hotcakes. Not only that, but the two Pixel 6 models are even more affordable than we expected, with the Pixel 6 starting at $599 unlocked.

Can Google manufacture enough Pixels?

That’s a great Pixel 6 problem to have: tons of interest from consumers. But it’s not necessarily great news for Google.

When the iPhone 13 sold out in the first days after preorders, you knew that Apple would quickly replenish stock. Apple placed record orders for iPhone 13 parts, according to rumors that preceded the launch event. All those reports indicated that Apple did everything possible to prevent the ongoing chip supply shortages from impacting the iPhone. And it’s still not enough.

Also, the iPhone 13 might have sold out online, but you can still get some models in stores. Not to mention that every carrier and electronics retail out there has been selling the iPhone 13 from the first day of preorders. And that goes for dozens of countries where Apple released the iPhone 13 series in mid-September.

Google might be a company as big as Apple, and it might have been making phones for more than a decade. But Google hasn’t developed the massive supply chain deals that Apple has in place for iPhones. None of the Pixels that preceded the Pixel 6 were as appealing. But then again, Google never really tried to market those phones properly. Even with the Pixel 6 series, the phone is only available in some countries. Google can’t yet go toe-to-toe with Apple internationally.

Factor in the chip shortage and all the supply chain delays, and you realize that Google might have a hard time making the most of the Pixel 6 series this year.

Google Pixel 6 Pro Front
The front of Google’s Pixel 6 Pro. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Pixel 6 Pro waitlists

We signaled that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro started selling out a few days ago. Google fixed the Pixel Buds A preorder deal for buyers who forgot the freebie. The company also added a waitlist to the online Google store, allowing buyers to register their interest in the handset.

Those waitlists are very active for both phones, although some SKUs might still be available to buyers. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro come in various color and storage options. Also, some of them sell unlocked, while others come with carrier deals.

“The banner on the Pro page on the Google Store is still accurate — some models of the Pro are out of stock,” Google told The Verge. “While we work to make more available, customers can check out our authorized partners nationwide while supplies last.”

The Pixel 6 delay problem

But it gets worse. It’s not just stock issues that Google is dealing with. According to Android Police, some Pixel 6 preorders are seeing massive delays that extend all the way back to mid-December.

Even buyers who ordered the handset fairly early found that their orders were pushed back, as seen below.

The blog notes that it’s not just AT&T customers facing Pixel 6 delays. It’s also Verizon and T-Mobile subscribers who are dealing with similar Pixel 6 shipping problems.

AT&T told Android Police that some models are sold out, and it blamed Google:

We are currently shipping preorder devices to customers. For a select few variants, there may be delays based on inventory from the manufacturer and we’re working to get every customer their device as quickly as possible.

There’s no telling when there will be enough Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro stock to go around. Rather than dealing with delays, you might want to check with retailers in your area for stock in physical stores.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.