Tech Desk: Tech giant Google’s latest generation of smartphones – Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL – will make their way into the Indian market priced at Rs 39,999 onwards from May 15. These handsets, which are cheaper than their predecessors, compete with devices from the stables of Apple, Samsung and OnePlus in the burgeoning premium smartphone segment in India.
The new lineup promises better camera features and battery life. Speaking at its annual developers meet Google I/O late Tuesday night, its CEO Sundar Pichai said “building for everyone” is a core philosophy for the company.
By offering a more affordable lineup, the US-based giant is keen on wooing customers in emerging countries like India. According to Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak, the “mid-tier variant of Pixel” is expected to provide Google with “a chance to start things from scratch in some of the emerging countries like India where premium market is small but growing fast”.
“This can help Google to lock in some first-time users who are looking for premium features at an affordable prices,” he said. Given that the premium smartphone market in India is expected to grow by 30 per cent, the segment offers a huge potential for players like Google.
Google had introduced its Pixel 3 and 3XL in India in October last year priced between Rs 71,000-92,000. The prices of these devices now hover around Rs 57,000-74,000. In March this year, Samsung had unveiled three devices – Galaxy S10+, S10 and S10e – as part of its flagship Galaxy S series that was priced between Rs 55,900-1.18 lakh in India. The base models of Apple’s iPhone XR and XS are priced Rs 76,900 and Rs 99,900, respectively. Huawei has also upped its ante in the segment with the introduction of P30 for Rs 71,990.
China’s OnePlus – which has been gaining popularity among Indian buyers – is slated to unveil its latest ‘OnePlus 7’ later this month. According to the research firm, Samsung had 44 per cent share of the premium smartphone (Rs 30,000 and above) market in India in the January-March 2019 quarter. OnePlus had 26 per cent share, while Apple had 19 per cent share in the said quarter. Other players – including Google – accounted for the remaining 11 per cent share of the premium segment.
Pixel 3a features 5.6-inch display, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, 12.2MP rear and 8MP front camera, and 3,000 mAh battery. Pixel 3a XL – priced at Rs 44,999 – features a larger six-inch display and 3,700 mAh battery. The eSIM on Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will now be supported by Airtel and Reliance Jio, the company said.
Google has also announced the upcoming version of its operating system – Android Q – that will natively support foldable displays and focusses on key areas like security and well-being.