Two of Google's Key Pixel Phone Architects are out which has caused a little Mayhem behind-the-scenes
When Google announces its latest Pixel smartphone in the coming weeks, it will be without some key architects of its previous model, which drew rare internal criticism from the company’s head of hardware, Rick Osterloh, The Information has learned.
The mastermind behind Google’s Pixel camera, Marc Levoy, who last year showed off his team’s photography advances during a Google event in New York City, left the company in March. At Google Levoy launched Street View, co-designed the library book scanner, and led the Google Research team that created HDR+, Portrait Mode, and Night Sight for Pixel smartphones.
Levoy's exit, which hasn’t been previously reported, follows the departure of Pixel GM, Vice President Product Management Mario Queiroz, the second top executive to leave the Pixel orbit in less than a year.
There was a time when the Pixel's camera shots in low light were miles ahead of the iPhone but Apple's teams stormed back with the iPhone 11 Pro and remedied any ground lost to the Pixel's higher end models.
Google's last phone, the Pixel 4XL was a clear misfire for some. It clearly didn't make a dent against the iPhone 11 Pro and it appears that Google's executive team lost patience with their smartphone direction under both Mario Queiroz and Marc Levoy.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL didn't strike a chord in the U.S. against Samsung's many models and Huawei and the other strong Android phone OEMs in China left the Pixel Phone with nowhere to make a gain in market share across the globe.
When high profile leaders in a company are lost and someone like the company’s head of hardware, Rick Osterloh is critical of the situation, there's possibly a bigger issue yet to surface.
For now, Apple's iPhone 11 Pro team should be pleased knowing that their hard work in advancing the iPhone 11 Pro's camera was strong enough to cause a little mayhem in Google's Pixel team. Will Google's Pixel smartphone team be able to recover? Only time will tell.