Last week Google unveiled the latest Pixel series, which includes Pixel 5. Unlike any typical Pixel device that Google has launched in the past this time Google has taken a completely different approach by moving away from offering flagship-grade to mid-range System on Chip. As a matter of fact, theleaks started coming out three months before the launch suggested Google using a mid-range chipset and a lot of people were disappointed by this approach. So, why did Google choose this path? Let’s discuss the same in this article.
The Software Mantra
As most of you already know, Google is a software company. With most of the Google products including the Pixel Lineup, its Apps, Android, and the search engine itself, Google is known for creating amazing software for masses and this is where things start getting really cheeky.
Google’s Stock Android/ Vanilla Android in Pixel devices which geeks also love calling “Pixel Experience” is what we believe is one of the important reasons why Google even considered playing with the hardware. Most of the people buy a Pixel phone to experience the bloat-free software and while SoC is still important for them it is not for most of the people out there.
The Snapdragon 765G used in the Pixel 5 should suffice and Pixels have this tendency to feel smoother than the competition with the same hardware but with a Software skin with bloat. For instance, let’s take the 8GB RAM + 128GB variant of the OnePlus Nord as an example which also boasts a Snapdragon 765G.
While OnePlus is known for providing an almost stock-ish experience with its OxygenOS, OnePlus’ skin has been accused of poor background apps management which should not be the case with the Pixel 5.
Why no Pixel 5 In India?
Pixel devices are known to arrive at prices that are considered premium in India. Pricing is the main reason why we believe Google does not want to bring the Pixel 5 to India. The previous Pixel devices till the Pixel 3XL did not sell well in India which was also the reason why Google did not bother to bring the Pixel 4 series. The other reason being the Project Soli that was not available in India due to the lack of 60Hz frequency range.
Another contributing factor for Google not launching the phone has something to do with the competition using similar hardware. You see, a lot of Indian consumers just need value for money devices. Let us take an example of the OnePlus Nord again.
Nord starts at Rs 24,999 for the 6/64GB variant and the Pixel 5’s 8/128GB variant starts from $699 which roughly translates to Rs 51,000. Say Google decides to launch the Pixel 5 in India, with all the taxes that have increased due to the pandemic, the price can climb up to Rs 60,000 easily because of which most of the people are going to ignore the phone. In fact, the OnePlus Nord sales might increase due to this move and hence, Google will not be helping itself but others. But Google is bringing Pixel 4a to India and it is priced at Rs 29,999.
Unlike Xiaomi which is estimated to run its business in India at a profit margin of a mere 10%, Google has a profit margin of 19%. It is a premium brand and you just cannot expect their products to be priced dirt cheap.
The X Factor
Aha! 5G! Woah! Incredible download and upload speeds! This is the reaction that we get from the Indian consumers about 5G devices when we talk to them about it and the companies are very clever and have started capitalizing on the same. Reports suggest that 5G will not be commercially available till the end of 2024 as the spectrum auction hasn’t started or announced and we already have devices that support 5G and companies claim they’re making us “Future-ready,” to embrace the 5G goodness.
To shed some light on this, on an average, a typical smartphone user in India switches smartphone once a year or two which means; by the time 5G actually comes out, you would have switched at least one or two phones to keep up with technological advancements other than 5G; hence you will end up wasting your money for the sake of 5G.
Now, we get that phones with 5G will also have better specifications but, at the end of the day, it all boils down to Qualcomm creating SoCs that offer great performance without including the 5G modem to lower down the costs of the package just like how it did for the Snapdragon 855+.
At the end of the day, we are the one’s who’re paying a lot more for the thing we don’t even need. So, we’re stuck in between these walls with nowhere to go but buy phones for gimmicky features.