Google Pixels outsold OnePlus in 2019 – now is the perfect time for OnePlus Z

It’s official, Google’s Pixel line outsold OnePlus devices in Western Europe, Japan and the USA in 2019. But for us this isn’t a sign the Chinese upstart is out of the game, if anything it’s an opportunity and sign there’s never been a better time for the firm to return to its roots and release the much rumoured OnePlus Z.

According to a tweet from an IDC analyst (see below), shipments of Google’s Pixel devices grew 52% year on year in 2019, with sales reaching 7.2 million. Now, while these sales still leave Google outside of the top 10, it does take them ahead of OnePlus.

A massive company like Google overtaking a far smaller one like OnePlus shouldn’t probably come as much of a shock, however it does once again show holes in the brand’s recent strategy. When it started out, OnePlus focussed on value. The OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 packed high-end internals into phones that were very cheap. This was rare at the time and it really catapulted the OnePlus brand into cult territory.

In recent years that mantra isn’t quite as obvious. As the OnePlus phones have gotten more and more ambitious, the prices have risen. Now we’re not talking to the same levels as the £1000+ Samsungs and iPhones, but still far away from the impulse purchase sector it was in before.

OnePlus has also, so far, decided against offsetting these pricier phones with a far cheaper option. This could be set to change very soon, though.

Rumours are swirling that OnePlus is set to announce a new phone very soon, likely called either the OnePlus 8 Lite or the OnePlus Z. This was supposedly set to be unveiled alongside the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, however it had to be delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic. It now looks like we’ll see the phone in July – which also happens to be the same month many believe the Pixel 4a will finally see the light of day.

OnePlus Z could end up being a very important device for the company and it’s shaping up to offer some of what the company started out doing – flagship features at low prices. Rumours suggest it’ll pack a 6.4-inch 90Hz display, 48-megapixel main camera and Warp Charge charging.

Related: OnePlus 8 vs Motorola Edge: How do they compare?

From a personal perspective, I am a big fan of the OnePlus 7 series from 2019 and the more recent OnePlus 8 phones. They are great devices, with stunning displays and sleek designs. But they remain niche – especially here in the UK where you either have to buy the phones without a contract or through the Three network. Unlike the latest flagships from, say, Oppo the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are not widely available. This is a shame, especially after the 5G version of the OnePlus 7 Pro was used as one of the main launch devices for EE’s 5G service.

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