- Completely subjective evidence. I have actually never seen someone with one. I think most Android users have not either.
- It is a nice phone, but most users don't care. Their friends have a Samsung phone, so that's what they ask for. People don't mind spending for a nice phone, since they can pay for them on an installment plan. On top of that, Samsung phones are often discounted.
- Project Daydream has failed to get any traction at all, since it only works with one phone. Unlike Google cardboard.
- Apple is getting ready to release a new phone, whatever they will call it. There is possibly a high end model (according to all the rumors). Selling the Pixel at a discount is a pre-emptive strike. There is most likely a new Pixel in the works. Dual cameras, augmented reality.
- Speaking of which, Apple's AR push will steal the limelight from the nascent low-end VR efforts. I know that AR and VR are only distantly related, but people will kind of lump them together. Dumb headset that you have to wear, versus just pointing your phone - win for Apple.
I think Google's handset efforts are doing OK, but not gangbusters. They have sold Pixels, but not a lot of them. It is hard now to break out in the Android marketplace, since there are many good, capable phones now. Google has yet to find that killer feature. The phone's camera is good, but the iPhone 7 Plus's dual camera crushes it. Running stock Android is not a killer feature. Only geeks care about that. Most people just want a good handset with a nice screen which works well.