Google’s 2017 Pixel smartphones have unanimously won the hearts of critics and consumers alike for being among the best smartphones launched last year. However, their limited availability in terms of stocks, steep entry price and initial issues with the display meant that not everyone could own Google’s Pixel devices. That could soon change if a new report citing Google’s plans are to be believed.
A new report from Economic Times states that Google is planning to launch a mid-range smartphone with Pixel branding for emerging smartphone markets like India. The reports says that Google is working on a mid-range smartphone that will serve as extension of the Pixel lineup and ensure the search giant has a big role to play in the emerging markets. The report does not detail what Google has planned for this smartphone and there is no clarity on its target price or specifications.
Google wants to be seen as a major consumer electronics brand similar to Apple, Samsung and Amazon in the Indian market. The search giant sent out media invites for an April 10 event where it will launch Google Home smart speakers as Amazon gains foothold in the Indian households with its Alexa-powered Echo speakers. The launch of Google Home smart speakers is said to be followed by the mid-range Pixel smartphone with ET saying it will arrive at the end of July or early August.
The report also adds that Google will bring the next-generation Pixel smartphones likely to be named Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL to India “around Diwali”. Google officially launches its Pixel-branded smartphones in October and November availability in India would line up with what we saw in the case of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
Google launching a mid-range Android smartphone as extension of the Pixel lineup will be, in a way, similar to resurrecting the now defunct Nexus lineup. With the Nexus program, Google encouraged its OEM partners to build top-of-the-line smartphones with premium material and stock Android, without the high prices typically associated with premium devices. The Nexus smartphones were priced reasonably for their time and were competitors to competitively priced premium devices from brands such as OnePlus.
Google reportedly does not want to chase market share and rather focus on expanding its retail presence. A retailer familiar with Google’s plans told ET that Google “does not plan to become over-aggressive to chase market share in the consumer products space; instead, it first wants to have a sizeable retail presence in the country and build the brand.”
Watch: Google Pixel 2 XL First Look
Google entering the market with its own branded mid-range smartphone will be a win for consumers who will get timely software updates and superior camera experience. Google will have to ensure that it doesn’t affect its relationship with OEM partners like Xiaomi, OnePlus and HMD Global, who all cater to the mid-range segment and have invested significantly on Android and other proprietary technologies.