Can Google Pixel capitalize on Samsung phone woes?

The Samsung phone debacle has opened the door — just a crack — for Google to make headway with its fledgling smartphone offering, Pixel, analysts said Tuesday.

South Korea-based Samsung permanently halted production on the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after reports of the phone overheating and, in some cases, catching fire.

“It’s a huge opportunity for the Google Pixel,” said Rob Enderle, an Oregon-based analyst who tracks the tech sector. “The Pixel is the best phone to take advantage of this problem. But its carrier limitations are going to offset what would otherwise be an incredibly well-timed opportunity.”

Google faces plenty of challenges even as¬†the tech behemoth maneuvers to capitalize on Samsung’s woes.

“Google can use Samsung’s problems to their advantage, but they have a really big upward climb,” said Ben Bajarin, a principal analyst with Campbell-based Creative Strategies.

For one thing, the Pixel phone is available only for the Verizon platform and isn’t being offered for other big carriers such as Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile.

“Google is just starting out, and consumers still need to learn what the Pixel phone is,” Bajarin said. “Samsung’s problems will benefit the established brands such as Apple, LG and HTC. Established brands are very powerful things.”

Mountain View-based Google, nevertheless, has the potential to cast a mammoth shadow over Samsung as it scrambles to reverse its misfortunes with the Galaxy Note 7.

“Samsung has created a market for a phone like this, but doesn’t have a phone for this market,” Enderle said. “Google Pixel can slide right into that spot. But the Pixel just won’t be able to take over a lot of shelf space because it’s only available on one carrier.”

Cupertino-based Apple is certain to be the top vendor for smartphones during the final three months of 2016, Bajarin said. That stretch that covers the vital holiday shopping season.

“We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market,” Samsung said of the recall of the phone and the halt in production “This is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers.”


Photo: Rick Osterloh, Google senior vice president of hardware, introduces the new Google Pixel phone Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg/AP)


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  • Robert Smith

    Not true…Pixel has unlocked phones that can be used with numerous telephone companys.

  • Matt

    Please don’t spread disinformation – Pixel is available on either Project Fi (MVNO riding wifi, Sprint, T-Mo and US Cellular) or Verizon. This article should be corrected, as there is hardly carrier limitation when Project Fi is honestly considered.