August 19, 2022
Enlarge / The Pixel 6 Pro.

Google/Alphabet just had its Q1 2022 earnings call, and once again, the company touted the sales of the Pixel 6. During the prior quarter, Q4 2021, CEO Sundar Pichai had said the company set an “all-time quarterly sales record for Pixel.” The “Pixel” referenced there technically included the Pixel 6 and midrange Pixel 5a. For this latest earnings call, though, there’s no ambiguity, with Pichai calling the Pixel 6 “the fastest-selling Pixel ever.” Here are the executive’s full remarks on the company’s hardware division:

In hardware, Pixel 6 is a huge step forward for the Pixel portfolio, and it’s been great to see the response from Pixel users. It’s the fastest-selling Pixel ever, and we are building broad consumer awareness of the brand and making good progress. I am excited about the products we have coming and look forward to sharing more at Google I/O.

The Pixel 6 is an outlier in Google’s flagship phones—because of how good it is. Previous Pixel flagships were rather disappointing, either because they were too expensive, like the Pixel 5, or too expensive and full of experimental features that didn’t work, like the Pixel 4. The Pixel 6 brings Google’s superior software and support to an Android phone without any major show-stopping problems and at a lower price than the competition.

Being the fastest-selling Pixel phone is still a low bar, though. In the tech news sphere, we talk about Google phones in the same breath as Apple and Samsung devices, but Google is really an ad company whose tiny hardware division exists as a side hobby. One report from Nikkei Asia says Google only planned to make “more than 7 million” Pixel 6 phones, while flagship iPhone sales can break 100 million units in seven months. Samsung releases 40 different phone models a year, so there’s no single model that can serve as a direct comparison, but last year, Samsung shipped 272 million phones, while Apple shipped 235 million phones.

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Pichai’s Google I/O tease is probably an allusion to the upcoming Pixel 6a, which is expected to be shown off during the May 11 show. With rumors saying that Google could be packing a flagship SoC into a mid-range phone, the 6a could be another sales winner for the company.