Google has not really managed to sell the Pixel 4 like hotcakes which can primarily be attributed to its poor battery life and the plethora of other issues that plague the phone. A report from The Information has now revealed that the mastermind behind the Pixel’s camera magic, Marc Levoy, left the company back in March. Levoy was on stage last year when Google unveiled the Pixel 4 and talked extensively about its camera prowess before departing the company just a few months later. Additionally, Mario Queiroz, the Pixel general manager, has also left the company. He was leading the smartphone launch inside Google right since the original T-Mobile G1.
Leovy played an instrumental role in shaping the camera performance of the Pixel lineup since he joined the company in 2014. The impact on him leaving the Pixel camera team is definitely going to be noticeable and is a huge blow to the Pixel camera team.
The report also sheds light on how unhappy Google’s head of hardware Rick Osterloh was with the Pixel 4. In an all-hands meeting before the phone’s launch last year, Rick expressed his disappointment with the battery power and some of the other decisions related to the device.
At a hardware team all-hands meeting in the fall, ahead of the October launch in New York, Osterloh informed staff about his own misgivings. He told them he did not agree with some of the decisions made about the phone, according to two people who were present at the meeting. In particular, he was disappointed in its battery power. Google denied a request to speak with Osterloh.
IDC estimates that Google shipped 2 million units of the Pixel 4 within the first two quarters of its launch, which is a fair bit lower than the 3.5 million Pixel 3 units and 3 million Pixel 3a units it had sold. Google has never really managed to sell a lot of Pixel smartphones, but two million units in two quarters despite a lot of marketing push from such a big company sounds disappointing.
Perhaps the departure of two major executives and the displeasure expressed by Rick Osterloh should help the Pixel team at Google to take better decisions and launch more competitive products going forward.