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Report: Apple, Google struggling to sell mid-range phones

Apple and Google are struggling to sell some newer mid-range phone models, according to a report published this week.

The report, published by PC Magazine on Tuesday, was based on information provided by wireless research firm Wave7, which surveyed retail sales personnel at a number of phone carriers, including Verizon.

According to the research note, more than 50 percent of carrier representatives saw decreased demand for Apple’s newest budget model, the iPhone SE 3, compared to the previous model.

The iPhone SE 3 offers the same design as the iPhone SE 2 — which uses the chassis of Apple’s iPhone 8 model — but with improved internal hardware, including the same processor found in Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup and the ability to access 5G networks.

The spec bump came with a price bump, too: While the iPhone SE 2 was a hit with customers at $400, the newer iPhone SE 3 costs $430.

Apple continues to support the iPhone SE 2, and the price increase coupled with a modest improvement in internal hardware likely isn’t convincing enough for budget customers to consider upgrading. Wave7 said it was also “unaware of any TV, radio, outdoor or print advertising for the device,” and a Verizon employee reportedly claimed that “not many people know it came out.”

For Google, other issues may be to blame: Despite rave reviews, customers who are “diehard” fans of the company’s Pixel lineup aren’t flocking to phone stores seeking the new Google Pixel 6, which costs $600. Carrier workers who spoke with Wave7 suggested performance and hardware bugs are likely the reason why many are avoiding the phone.

Google has reportedly started offering sales incentives to Verizon workers who promote the phone, PC Magazine reported, though the website didn’t say what those incentives were. Competing manufacturers, including Samsung, offer similar perks to salespeople.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).