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Google is on a mission to steal iPhone users

Published Dec 13th, 2016 10:53AM EST

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The Google Pixel is arguably the best Android phone you can buy today. In fact, it’s the only device that runs Google’s latest Android version right out of the box. The phone comes in two sizes, it’s got high-end specs and features, and it touts premium build quality. Sure, it’s still a different company making it for Google, but Google has tighter control than it ever did with the Nexus series. The Pixel and Pixel XL are supposed to be worthy iPhone 7 alternatives, particularly now that the Galaxy Note 7 is officially dead.

And it turns out that Google’s intention has always been to “kill” the iPhone with its new Pixel lineup.

In an interview on TWiT’s All About Android, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome OS, and Play Hiroshi Lockheimer admitted that convincing iPhone buyers to switch to Android is one of the goals of the Pixel.

“I work with all partners, including the internal hardware team and Samsung, etc. I think for the Pixel specifically, they’re really trying to capture new users of smartphones, as well as users who are perhaps on other platforms. It’s always nice to expand the ‘pie’ of Android, not to change the look internally but to expand,” the exec said. “I think you’ve seen a lot of things the Pixel team has done to cater the message around iPhone users, and highlighting some of the great things about Android.”

In recent years, Google has steadily improved Nexus design and hiked prices for the devices that were once affordable flagship handsets. But Google also had to ditch the Nexus brand and replace it with something totally new. Something that could be marketed as a high-end device and that could target iPhone buyers who are willing to spend more money on a smartphone.

Pixel is a hit for Google, but it’s hardly an iPhone killer. However, the Pixel phones also compete directly against other Android devices, including smartphones from top Google partners like Samsung. But these partners had knowledge of the Pixel long before it actually arrived, Lockheimer revealed.

“Google has been doing hardware for a while now. So from that perspective, I don’t think partners were surprised. In fact, in many cases I let them know that this was coming,” he said.

Lockheimer continued, “Every year they ask about Nexus, so this year I told them it was going to be called from something else. They’re used to it. Also, the Pixel device is a very premium price point and Android, as you know, goes from high to low, so there is a lot of room and a lot of partners target different audience. A lot of articles talk about iOS users switching to Android. Not necessarily Pixel, but that’s a great thing for the platform.”

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.