Google's Pixel phone shines despite mistakes gauging demand

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  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, file photo, the new Google Pixel phone is displayed following a product event, in San Francisco. Google’s head-on rival to the iPhone, the Pixel, is off to a modest but promising start. It is Google's first step in what it says will be a years-long effort to take on Apple where it’s strongest. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, file photo, the new Google Pixel phone is displayed following a product event, in San Francisco. Google’s head-on rival to the iPhone, the Pixel, is off to a modest but promising start. It is Google's first step ... in what it says will be a years-long effort to take on Apple where it’s strongest. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, file photo, electronic screens post prices of Alphabet stock at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York. Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, reports earnings Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, file photo, electronic screens post prices of Alphabet stock at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York. Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, reports earnings Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, ... File) (The Associated Press)

The Pixel phone, Google's answer to Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy, is off to a promising start that would have been even better if consumer demand had been managed as smartly as the device's sleek design.

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Google hasn't released sales figures, but industry researchers say the Pixel has been a hot item since its October debut. One analyst estimates at least 1 million Pixels were sold in the past quarter, even though Google didn't do enough to keep the phone in stock.

Google can afford to make some mistakes because digital advertising network is so lucrative.

Alphabet, Google's corporate parent, provided another reminder of its financial might with Thursday's release of its fourth-quarter earnings. The company earned $5.3 billion on revenue of $26 billion during the period.