Research firm Strategy Analytics recently published a report on its website with a pretty eye-grabbing headline — Google Pixel is Fastest-Growing US Smartphone Brand. We don't have exact numbers quite yet, but we do have the following statement:

Google Pixel is now the fastest-growing major smartphone brand in the United States. Like Apple, Google is targeting rich Americans with rich eSIM devices and rich apps. Is Pixel the new iPhone?

Google didn't start releasing phones under the Pixel brand until 2016, and at that time, it was entering a market that was essentially dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung. Even for a company of Google's size, that was still a big mountain to climb.

The original Pixel and Pixel XL weren't perfect, but they did deliver industry-leading cameras, were the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant, and offered an incredible software experience. 2017's Pixel 2 series refined the design and made the cameras even better. With the most recent Pixel 3 handsets, Google finally delivered on things like wireless charging, much better displays, and a premium all-glass construction.

Turns out people like Google's phones.

It's been quite fascinating to see the Pixel line grow and evolve over the past few years, and going into 2019 with this momentum, Google's in a position to hold onto that title of owning the fastest-growing smartphone brand in the U.S.

In addition to the Pixel 4 lineup towards the end of the year, we're also expecting a Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL to be released — providing a lot of what makes the Pixel 3 so great in a more affordable package for consumers.

Are you at all surprised by this report? If you live in the U.S., do you own a Pixel phone? Sound off in the comments below.

>> The Pixel 3 Lite will be Google's most important phone in 2019