OK Google, Why Should We Trust You to Make Hardware? (Premium)

You've probably heard the oft-spouted phrase, "hardware is hard." Well, it's true. Just ask Google.

The world's smartest company in October announced a slew of new hardware products. And from what I can tell, it then spent every waking moment of the intervening time learning about, and trying to fix, problems with that hardware. Seriously: Is there a single new Google hardware product that doesn't have issues?

Actually, it's not new Google hardware, now is it? Problems with the Nexus 5X are apparently so common that Google is no longer able to offer customers with refurbished replacement units. So it is, instead, offering them a paltry $100 Google Store credit so they can buy a new phone. That $100 is a small fraction of the price of even the cheapest new phone it offers, of course. Customers are, shall we say, not too impressed.

But let's focus on the present, shall we?

Ultimately, this is about trust. Trust is something that is earned, over time, and it could fade away quickly, because it needs to be maintained. You don't it automatically by slapping a Google "G" logo on some product that---let's be honest here---someone else actually designed and made. You need to really work for it.

As I'm sure you know, trust is one of those themes that comes up here on Thurrott.com again and again. Because it's important. And because a bad technology bet won't just break the bank, it could break your sanity. And your heart. Just ask a recovering Windows phone---or Media Center, or Zune---fan how their seven-step program is going. It's not pretty.

So let's step through Google's 2017 hardware announcements. This makes for some sobering reading.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The problems with the Pixel 2 lineup---in particular the Pixel 2 XL are legion and I assume they need no further discussion here. I'm using a Pixel 2 XL, and I really like it. But I don't trust it, and I can't recommend it to others.

Home Mini. I think the Home Mini is a smart idea, just as it was a few years ago when Amazon released it as the Echo Dot. But despite its diminutive size, he Home Menu has succumbed to a number of issues, already including a microphone that records you when it says it's not a high volume bug that actually reboots the device while you're using.

Pixel Buds. Google's Babbelfish-like demo of the Pixel Buds headphones was awe-inspiring, but the reviews have been brutal. As with Apple's over-hyped Air Pods, these things deliver terrible sound, and I ended up canceling my preorder.

Pixelbook. Curiously, the new only new Google product that doesn't have any reliability issues that we know of is the Pixelbook. I have a few theories about that, the key one being that there are so few sales we've just not heard about any issues. On that note, the device's unfairly high price is, of course, its biggest issue, regardless.

Google Home Max. Thus far, Google Home Max is vaporware and one wonders if it will be delayed past the holidays, as was...

Gain unlimited access to Premium articles.

With technology shaping our everyday lives, how could we not dig deeper?

Thurrott Premium delivers an honest and thorough perspective about the technologies we use and rely on everyday. Discover deeper content as a Premium member.

Tagged with

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2024 Thurrott LLC