Why Google doesn’t want to make a cheap Pixel smartphone

The head of the Pixel branch at Google spoke about the future of the smartphone line. New countries, market shares, and of course price segment are thus mentioned, closing the door in the short term on low-cost Pixels.

The launch of a new smartphone is often an opportunity for the press to speak with those responsible for their development. Thus, on the occasion of the presentation of the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, the German media Der Standard was able to interview Nanda Ramachandran, Google vice-president in charge of the Pixel department. A conversation which provided many clarifications on the future of the range.

The higher definition

Always more Pixels! This is a bit like how we could explain Google’s strategy. Since defining the main lines of the range with the Pixel 6, the brand seems to have found its positioning and intends to expand it again and again to reach as many people as possible.

The Pixel range is doing well: in the second quarter of 2023, its market share increased sixfold compared to the previous year, And that’s just the beginning. With the Pixel 8, the range arrives in new countries, including Australia. An important step for Nanda Ramachandran who explains that territorial expansion is difficult growth, even for a company like Google and that it must be done with caution. He nevertheless promises that at this point, other countries will now quickly followand not just a few, but many“.

Google no longer wants to remain a small player in the hardware market, it wants to seek market share from the bigger ones (understanding Apple and Samsung).

But at what cost ?

Until then, the Pixels had a reputation as smartphones with excellent value for money, whether it was the main line, or the A line in the mid-range. With the Pixel 8, however, Google is making a significant bet by increasing its prices from 150 to 200 euros. Nanda Ramachandran by a significant increase in quality compared to the Pixel 7. “There are better screens, new cameras, a more powerful chip and of course the seven years of updates which also represent a significant investment“, he explains.

This promise of seven years of support is no small thing. Google needs to keep a team of developers dedicated to older phones, but also spare parts for hardware support. All of this obviously comes at a cost.

Can Google then seek growth from below? An entry-level Pixel, around 200 or 250 euros, would be an excellent way to quickly gain market share, as Xiaomi did for example. For Nanda Ramachandran, this is not on the program, the fault of the numerous concessions that would then have to be made.

We are unlikely to move in this direction. The question is what actually constitutes a pixel. These are the camera, security, but also all the functions based on artificial intelligence. Offering all this in good quality is simply not possible with a device costing around 200 euros.

Growth will therefore happen from the top and we should not hope for a Google smartphone cheaper than the A range for the moment. Damage.

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