No worlds left to conquer for Google

IndiaTechOnline  commentary
By Anand Parthasarathy
December 4 2016:Soon after he reached the northern frontier of India, Alexander the Great, examined a  map of his empire and wept that  there were no more worlds to conquer.  One doesn't know the precise reaction of Google's India-born head, Sundar Pichai,  after he announced the launch of the Pixel phone, but I'll hazard a guess:  He must be scratching his head to  think of new areas of the Internet life to dominate.  Consider:
Google first came to attention   20 years ago, as a search engine for the Netacape browser. In three years it had wiped out many competing   search tools   and soon 'google' a term became a synonym for search on the Net. In 2008  Google entered  the operating system arena with Android  and in just 8 years took over 90% of all handsets. It competed with established browsers with Chrome  and soon  appeared on all devices -- Windows, Apple and Linux. With OS browser and search engines covered, Google straddled the software arena.  The only  world to conquer was hardware and with the Pixel brand of phones  Google has thrown a challenge to  device hardware makers,  last remaining arena of infotech.  
Read our review of Google Pixel phones here
The 2 models of Pixel are the first handsets fully designed and engineered by Google and  bearing its name. This is not to be confused with the Google-sponsored Nexus phones  that have been around for two years and have been made  by multiple phone players including  LG and HTC -- the latter in fact contract manufacturers  Pixel in Taiwan.
Most of the hoo-ha at launch was about  Google Assistant, the voice smart help that comes with the phone. But like iPhone's Siri, Amazon's Alexa  and Windows' Cortana  have all been there before.  Every other  specification that our reviewer has highlighted alongside seems to scream a comparison with the  latest iPhone  right down to screen size, single SIM and non expandable storage. The refrain, like that song in the old musical,"Annie Get Your Gun!" seems to be "Anything you can do, I can do better!"
Which I find tragic.  For its hardware foray,  Google now put its money and its mouth in a rarified high-end sector of the mobile  business, that is meaningless to over 90  percent phone owners who patronise Android. A head to head comparison with iPhone  is something only Americans  care about.   It is a matter of supreme disinterest to almost all of us in India, except a small slice of the chatterati   who sport every new upgrade to the iPhone and pay the extortionate prices that Apple demands in India. And now presumably they will be encouraged to pay the equally  stiff price of a Pixel. Google could have used its hegemony in a good cause and come up with a phone with all the software that the Pixel sports -- built around hardware that was affordable to the millions who put their faith and money in an Android phone.  As it is the Pixel is  a costly toy for the chatterati rather than a power tool of empowerment.
 What a missed opportunity!