Yesterday we estimated some 50,000 units sold for the Essential Phone from the downloads in Google Play of your camera application and we already realized something strange: Pixel Launcher mysteriously showed as 1-5 downloads.
Does this mean that five Pixels have been sold? No, of course not, because back in June we estimated their sales in a million from the downloads of Pixel Launcher. If for some reason you do not believe me, you can see the status of the page in June in Wayback Machine. Taking into account that other exclusive Pixel applications such as ARCore or Data Transfer Tool are also with 1-5 downloads, it does not seem like an error but an intentional change .
Error or data hiding?
When suddenly millions of downloads of an application in Google Play disappear, our first reflection is to think that it is an error. However, those 1-5 downloads have been there for at least ten days and, even though I searched, I have not found it to happen in other applications beyond the Pixel exclusives.
Instead, it seems that Google has once again used its master key to make and break in its store and operating system to do something we had never seen before: turn off the download counter of an application. There is no such option today for the rest of the developers in the Google Play Developer Console.
Thus, while Essential yesterday was exposed to the public – and investors – about the possibility that they had sold 50,000 units, this will not happen to Google with their Pixel phones and download counters deactivated. Google never reveals sales data, and now we can not estimate them either .
We will see in the coming days if the figure is corrected or if this deactivated counter extends to more pre-installed applications. At the moment, Pixel Launcher shows 1-5 downloads on the web and “more than one download” in the application.