Google Plans To Disrupt Smartphone Market By Selling Cheaper Pixels

Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3 (Photo: REUTERS/: ChinaPictureService)

Google's bet on the smartphone market is far from the level of success that rivals Apple and Samsung have achieved. The search giant appears to acknowledge this fact by reconfiguring its approach as reports point to the likelihood of more affordable Pixel phones coming out in the next few weeks.

This May, the company will stage its 2019 I/O Developers Conference and among the revelations that will be unwrapped is the next batch of Pixel handsets. Going by, however, on the circulating rumors so far, it seems the upcoming thrust from Google will be a half-generation hop. It will be the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL that supposedly will see the light of the day.

These phones, according to The Verge, will get showcased initially before the I/O crowd and when released they'd be sporting lower than the usual sticker price. The aggressive pricing, the same report said, was motivated by Google's desire to perform a lot better in the field and the plan entails repackaging the Pixel brand as a mid-range option.

In line with this move, Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer of Google's parent company Alphabet, admitted this week that the Pixel line saw weak sales figures as of the end of Q1 2019 and performed better in the same period last year. The moving force behind the downtrend appears to be "the recent pressures in the premium smartphone market."

Per the related report from CNET, it was clear Google lagged behind the competition and partly to blame was the asking price for the Pixel 3 models that came with a starting price of $799. Considering the cash they had to part with in order to own the third-gen Pixel, it was easier for buyers to look for alternatives.

The Pixel maker, however, has learned its lesson and it means to disrupt the market its rivals dominate by pushing forward a proposal that is hard to refuse. The hope is that by downgrading the Pixel hardware to mid-range and selling it at a more competitive price, the brand will suddenly become irresistible.

The ploy might just work. After all, Pixel is a sentimental choice for hordes of Android fanatics that buy the devices on the account of Pure Android OS running the show. In addition, the Pixel phone has an irrefutable selling point - the camera that usually is packed with the device almost always proves to be class-leading.

It remains to be seen though if the Pixel 3a line will work for long-time Android users. While the precise rollout time is still a mystery, the phones are rumored to be powered by Snapdragon 670, housed in a plastic casing and with only 32GB of internal memory. These specs, by any means, are huge step backs from the earlier models.

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