Google doesn't need a 'cheap' Pixel phone, it needs to prove the value of its expensive one

Complaints about the Pixel 3's price have been loud. Even louder than complaints about the Pixel 3 XL's notch. It's reasonable to argue whether the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are worth the full freight of $799-899 given their spec sheets. And I think even a $50 lower price on each would've done a lot of good to help change the conversation around just how expensive they are.

But some have asked why Google doesn't just go back to making "cheap" phones again — as it did in the heyday of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. A lower price, they say, would appease the Android fans who just want an inexpensive phone from Google with "stock" Android, but also give Google's Pixel brand a fighting chance of growing its market share from the current doldrums.

Building yet another cheap Android phone doesn't make Google money, nor does it advance its branding.

To think Google would decide to make an inexpensive Pixel — either by cheaping out on the whole thing or losing money on every phone sold — simply to sell more phones is counter to all of its messaging since the first Pixel. "Expensive" Pixels are here to stay, and it's the right move for Google to accomplish its stated goals for its phone business.

I put "expensive" in quotes above because we have to remember that the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are priced right in line with the market they're attempting to compete in. High-end phones released this year cost between $800 and $1000, that's just the reality, and Google has priced them to match. That should be the only indication you need to understand what market Google wants to try and get a foothold in, and what the competition is. But there's more.

Google is attempting to show that it can make the best phone at any price, competing with Samsung and Apple in particular. Why, exactly? Well these are ultimately the most valuable consumers — the dedicated buyers who want a phone for its features, design, status and brand. Those are the people who turn into repeat customers, make the most money for the company on a per-phone basis, and ultimately come away with a positive feeling about Google as a company. Pixels are, ultimately, a physical advertisement for Google.

Then there's the reality that Google knows the flagship-level space provides more creative freedom of design and features than the mid-range does. The slim margins of the budget phone space make it a poor choice from a business perspective for a company the size of Google, which has the chops to make a truly competitive high-end phone. If Google were making a Pixel for perhaps $450, it would be unrecognizable to the Pixel 3 and 3 XL we have available today. Hardware and specs would be scaled back substantially, the screens wouldn't be this good, and all of the extras like unlimited Google Photos backup and nice in-box accessories wouldn't make the cut.

Sure it'd be great if Google just took a loss of some $200 on every Pixel 3 and 3 XL it sold by undercutting the market, but that isn't realistic. Google's hardware division can't just lose billions of dollars — it has an expectation of being profitable like every other division outside of Google X. At that point, what would differentiate a Pixel from the dozens of other great cheap phones out there? Very little, really. Google also already has Android One, which isn't far removed from the Pixel software experience, that hasn't shown to be a huge driver of device sales as it is.

Pixels are effectively a physical advertisement for Google — it doesn't want to be associated with cheap phones.

It also doesn't make much sense for Google to wade back into the mid-range market where Android already dominates, outselling all others by an order of magnitude in the sub-$500 price bracket. Google isn't going to be able to justify entering that market, where we've established it won't make money nor grow its brand presence anyway, just to insignificantly increase Android's share of the segment. As established above, Pixels are a public-facing marketing tool for the Google brand, not Android as a whole.

And as much as it seems illogical to the former Nexus fans among us, Google just doesn't care about making a cheap Pixel phone "for the fans" anymore. There market is small, won't make Google enough money to justify it, and ultimately doesn't expand its market of potential customers.

Google shows no sign of reducing the price of its Pixel phones, either in the short term with the Pixel 3 or in the long term with subsequent replacements. Given that realization, Google's goal needs to be justifying the price tag. It's done so with the tech press, garnering really positive reviews from us and many other publications and pundits alike. The products are clearly good in the eyes of the smartphone observers — now, it needs to expand that goodwill into the public sphere. Just lowering the price may garner more sales, but it isn't going to magically make "Pixel" a household name or accomplish Google's goals for its smartphone business.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • How about doing what Apple does and keep selling the previous generation phones at a steep discount?
  • They'd need to follow Apple into bespoke chip design first. No good offering previous gen phones at a discount if you're also going to have to stop supporting those phones because your chip manufacturer has called it quits on the SOC you used.
  • That discount really isn't steep though.
  • Got that right. The discount on last year's model seems significant when compared to this year's price increase. I do love Apple's hardware, but I think of their pricing like jewelry. When Zales has a 50% off sale, they are still making money. Apple didn't become a trillion dollar company on razor thin margins.
  • I think this is the real model I'd expect to see. By the time the next gen comes out, producing more of the prior should be cheaper. So, just make a great flagship, and keep selling the last two models for a couple extra years.
  • Price isn't the problem for me. I still have the original Pixel. Each year, I have fully intended to buy the new Pixel, but each year the new Pixel has disappointed.
  • So far pretty happy with P3 and coming from P2. Although I didn't pay anywhere close to $800
  • Nah, just paying a big bill every month that could be used for something else like savings and good food
  • Your comment is the best. People at my work brag all the time that they dont pay the high prices for phones but what they really mean is they pay for it monthly which as you said could go for other things. Priorities though.....
  • lol calm down , i pay 60 bucks a month, and i got the Pixel 2 XL last christmas, id agree with you if i was on my old 120 dollar plan
  • Same. I'm now giving up hope and jumping ship. They're going to lose me to Apple because the features don't differentiate enough for me, and my wife and family use iPhone and communicating with them will be "different" with an iPhone than it is on Android.
  • New pixel 3 xl is great. ( But "nacho notch" is required for me; should be a core Android feature - black background for notch to deemphasize, and not take 3rd party software.)
  • It is a great phone and I don't care about the notch at all. If like me function matters most then the pixel phones win in Android world.
  • The pixel launcher has a setting that allows you to black out the area on either side of the notch so you don't notice it.
  • Exactly this
  • ya, sorry but no. I find a $300-$400 phone hits about all the right buttons for normal use. A oneplus 5T or Essential phone, or hell even an Xperia XA2 ultra satisfies %95+ of what most users need out of a phone, anything more is a mix of marketing hubris and power user ego
  • And, as he pointed out, you aren't the market this device is intended for. For those looking to enter the market at that price, the only option you really have (unless you buy a really old iPhone) is an Android phone so it doesn't really further their business in any way to make those devices themselves.
  • A OnePlus isn't $3-400 Mike, they're more the $600 range, and they blow Google off the map in terms of bang for buck and performance, and the Pixel wins on the camera, and in all reality that's really about it—and that's coming from a Pixel owner.
  • You're implying that "bang for your buck" is the goal of the Pixel and the desire of all cell phone buyers. If the buyers Google is shooting at with this brand represented all buyers, the iPhone would've been a massive failure. Google's goal with Pixel isn't to be "down in the doldrums" with OnePlus, as nice as those phones are. As the article mentions, Google is working on making a phone deserving of the price tag they're putting it at to catch that more lucrative market and have Google's brand be more high end in the phone space. If Apple charged a reasonable profit margin on the iPhone instead of doubling the manufacturing, adding tax and there's your MSRP, it'd be seen LESS high end despite a better value. Again, there are plenty of Android options in the < $200, 2-300, $3-500, $5-700 slots. Pixel isn't for those people and there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Even if everything you say is true it's not compatible with all carriers.
  • I buy a phone with the features and quality I want, I don't buy by price.
  • I'm with you....price is secondary for me
  • What is the market for this device?
    People with no idea that they would get better tech phones for less money?
    I didn't know Google is now chasing for idiot hipsters...
  • So much +1 to this. I get it, Google wants/needs to make money as a business. I wish they'd at least trade privacy for Pixel of that was the case... but that's kind of another topic. To the original poster: I get it, Google wants to have a premium, company defining device, like how the iPhone is defined in Apple. That I get. As you mentioned, the issue is, that there are other players in the Android world that make mid range devices; this does not exist in Apple's world (old phone's don't count.). I agree, there are others who may make better mid range. The problem arises though, when these mid range, PRICED phones, start catching up. The Pixel doesn't do enough of a job to differentiate. Google is going after Apple's pricing scheme. The thing is, Apple doesn't compete with a mid range... so it can be premium. Apple itself, is trying to market itself as premium. The iPhone is supposed to be premium compared to ALL devices period. Google is trying to catch up to market its own product as premium but it has cheaper devices that match it or sometimes exceed. That's the part where it doesn't make sense for the Pixel to be so high. I had another post below on my own, prices have gotten out of control. If OnePlus can make what they make and charge what they charge, and be such a small company and unconnected with providers where sales #'s are just direct from them, the bigger guys can definitely do the same if not even better. Basically, the bigger guys can get these components for cheaper, and produce a cheaper device with comparative specs to a OnePlus. Yet.... they don't. So they profit more. People are paying I guess, so its the idiot consumers. I was done buying flagship after my Note 4 died for no reason (EEPROM error, and Samsung refuses to acknowledge). and seeing the Note5 and Note 7's prices... I just face palmed.
  • They don't need a cheap Pixel, that's what the Android One program is for. Nokia 6.1/7.1, Moto X4, Lg G7 One, etc are all decent mid-range phones that get regular security and OS updates through the Android One program. I always considered those the new "Nexus" phones.
  • Android One is the way to go. I'm using a Motorola X4 Android One. I get security updates regularly. It replaced my 3 year old Motorola Nexus 6. Android One's are "reasonably" priced, unlike Premium phones.
  • Google fanboys are about as loyal as Apple fanboys; just with better taste. =)
  • Getting security updates is certainly important, but Motorola (Lenovo) taking 6 months to release Pie seemed a bit outside the spirit of the Android One label on the back of my X4. That said, the greater target market for the X4 probably didn't notice the delay (generally).
  • Cheap or inexpensive/affordable? My main attraction to the Pixel,and Nexus before that was OS updates without the carrier and phone bloatware. It's possible to still do that without spending nearly $1000.
  • It's called Android One.
  • Or Essential PH-1
  • Or any of the HMD designed Nokia devices!!!!
  • Google/Pixel needs to highlight the software benefit as well as On device customer support with screen mirroring, and the storage of photos at full responsibility. The phone needs to be sold a s a lifestyle brand along as a tech brand. Google at this point is a lifestyle as they are wrapped up into so much of what people do.
  • This. Exactly this. Apple kinda throws some specs out there once in a while, but it's really all about the marketing, and presentation. Apple is def. as much a lifestyle brand as a tech company at this point, and they've done an excellent job at it. Google mostly makes terrible aesthetic design choices however. The Pixel 3 and how it looks, the new Google Home, how it has a fabric back. No way I'm putting that in the kitchen (where it would benefit me most). That thing would be a magnetic for everything, and a PITA to clean!
  • Spot on. I believe they are marketing in that direction overall, but they definitely need to highlight some of the more granular benefits.
  • A 128gb Pixel 3 with preferred care in Canada is $1459 with tax included. The 3XL, $1600. I don't care how good these phones may be, I don't care how the good the camera is or how good the software is. Those prices are absolute BS.
  • A Canadian dollar is worth 75 cents in USD. So these number are not a mind blowing example like you're trying to make it out to be...
  • I can buy a Note 9 for 600 dollars less than a Pixel 3XL. Is the 3XL really worth that much extra money?
  • It is if you like the features, software and customer service that come along with it. That is a personal choice.
  • It's pretty apparent that I'm not the target demographic, and that's okay.
  • Customer service? AHhahaha... that was a good one. Where is the Google shop I can go to put their crap on the table after they breaking things again with a software update?
    There are quite some Samsung partner stores around...
  • When you compare prices across currencies, you need to also consider income levels in those countries. I expect Canadians aren't making 25% more in Canadian dollars to offset the increase in sale price indicated by exchange rate.
  • That's my thoughts too as a fellow Canadian. I just won't spend that much on a phone. It's silly.
  • Same with us Kiwis. These phones are way too expensive and Google doesn't sell them here so we have to parallel import them.
  • Google will need divine intervention to accomplish this goal.
  • Well written article with some good points. Pixel is the best of Google, not the best of Android. They get to play with AR, VR, photography, AI, security chips, integrated Google services like translation, photos, maps, screen call, video chat. The Pixel experience is unique and it's not for everyone. iPhone customers get the best Apple experience and Galaxy Note customers get the best Samsung experience on Android.
  • That's a good analogy. The Pixel is the best from Google - not Android. All OEMs have their selling point (feature or offerings) - be it Apple, Huawei, OnePlus, Samsung etc. The first item perspective phone buyers look at - are the specs - and there Google cannot or chooses not to compete. And because of that makes it - hard - to justify the price. Many, many people have repeatedly said the price is too high - and Google has elected not to listen. We'll see how this turns out...
  • They won't bring the price down. The article points out reasons, and then there is the obvious acquisition of the HTC engineers for a substantial amount, and there is no way they're going to purposely take a larger loss. They need to offer MORE. Like how the first Pixel at least had a mid-generation bump (821 instead of 820). They should have followed Samsung's modeling on RAM and storage as well, 128 base option doesn't seem as bad for the price, and it would align better with 6GB ram, 128 GB storage, and 512/8GB . Then it would seem to be a wash or a slight gain in some ways, instead of a downgrade.
  • I had the opportunity to play around with the Pixel 3 and 3XL at my local Best Buy. Great phones, but was shocked that the 3XL is almost the same price as the Note 9, which was next to it. Two very different phones for very different audiences. Even if the reviewers "clearly" think the price is fair and that they're great phones as explicitly stated in this piece, whether or not the price point is fair will ultimately be decided by consumer! It'll be interesting to read about sales figures in a few months.
  • They are almost the same, but not really. :)
    One feels better, looks better and offers very unique feature that people might never thought about using, but will appreciate it when needed and will admire the perfection of each stroke made on that screen. That S-Pen is unbelievable. In top of that there are other features most of the users will find useful. Better storage options - internal and external.
    And this is coming from former Samsung hater and Vanilla evangelists. I still don't care to buy Samsung phones, but Google just can't make things right when it comes to manufacturing just about anything.
    They have so much money around and they could afford to throw the best possible hardware there is - design, quality, durability,etc, just to prove they can do it better than anyone. That is never the case. So, if they wanna focus on software experience, just make them cheaper. For a full package, their pricing is way out of touch.
    At least they did much better job compared to the Pixel 2s
  • I think part of the problem is they don't deserve to charge flagship prices. They can't ship a phone that deserves to be expensive. This is based on the assumption that more bugs/critical flaws are going to pop up with the 3/3xl. So far I've seen the front speaker issue, audio recording, doa, and Verizon Sim locking (that falls on Google for choosing carrier exclusivity). I'm not even following that closely because i carry a note 9 and stylo 4, so I'm good for awhile.
  • Pixel 3 XL in hand. This phone is worth every penny. It is a premium flagship phone, it isn't trying to BE, it IS.
  • A week or two in, the real test if father time, and lag. Google fan boys, myself included saw lag pretty early on, so we'll see....
  • You make me laugh! It is junk.
  • Agreed. Substantially nicer than my OG Pixel XL. The camera is better too. No bad pics so far. Portrait mode is excellent. Wide selfie or groupie mode works and the screen is excellent. No lag either
  • I would say the same probably if I just spent a fortune on a phone with already outdated hardware specs.
    Keep on going, Mulder. "I want to believe"
  • Adding to the list of cons: Pixel 3 (small version) red shift/ LG screen; gesture only navigation with no option to disable.
  • If it had top end specs, might be easier to justify cost. Crap storage and ram.
  • *their market is small, you mean, not "there".
    In any case, congratulations on having google emulate apple and become a luxury brand. The actual reason is, of course, that we can no longer tell who's one of us by the mere fact that they have a smartphone, since everybody has a smartphone in 2018. That's why it's now important to wear an iphone, a note or a pixel as a social indicator of wealth and success.
  • I know some BROKE people who have all of those. I have a friend that easily makes half of what I do and always has a newer phone than me. The GM and Operations guys here make double what I do, and they all still have what look like iPhone 6/7+. I've only seen one XS out of the 3-400 people that work here.
  • "That's why it's now important to wear an iphone, a note or a pixel as a social indicator of wealth and success." If this is the case then why aren't the Vertu devices more popular considering price is no barrier to iPhone, Note and Pixel owners. I guess most people must be unsuccessful and piss poor then!!!!
  • Problem is, Google is far from being a luxury brand.
    This will be a niche phone again, and NOBODY cares if you pull out your Pixel 3. No one will know how much this phone is, and if, they will probably say "Why? You could get an iPhone for that".
    It's much better if you want to show your luxury and your dismay for money value.
  • Android One is the way to go. Hardware that's "good enough," regular security updates, and "reasonably" priced.
  • Android One is Nexus. Pixel is Google doing their Apple imitation. All good. Glad we have all these choices. I won't be choosing a Pixel this time around, but that is just me.
  • All they (Google & Apple) are doing is taking advantage of a roaring economy. But, it's very said that they don't offer a mid-range phone that's 1/2 priced. And, I'm not a fan of the author telling me to get over it. I can't justify under any circumstances a $900 phone. And a lot of people can't either. But hey! With a $900 phone they'll still be a niche player in the U.S. market and not steal any meaningful market share from Apple or Samsung. Whatever, Google!
  • The global indicators of the economy continue to be good, but purchasing power for average Americans stagnates. People don't have more cash to spend on phones now than 10 years ago.
  • But for many people, not me, the phone is their primary or only computer device. So they are willing to overspend their means for a high quality/expensive device. And many of those people will hold on to their iPhones or Pixels for two to three years. This also helps justify the price here. This is Google's third variant of the Pixels, and in my mind they are the best to date, no question. I do think that if Google stays on this kind of quality, and the 2 XL remains an outlier, they will reach their goal.
  • Can't you just buy a Pixel 2 or 2 XL for a lot less? Still gets two more years of OS updates. Will be getting all the same features. If Google made an inexpensive Pixel, it would likely be limited in abilities. Now Google could expand the Pixel line and launch a Android One Pixel. People might like that and it would show off Android One to another customer base.
  • They could make the Nexus again, and just call it that, don't play off the Pixel branding.
  • There are other manufacturers making fairly/quite/very good phones for 200-400. They are not 2-4x worse than iPhones and Pixels...
  • Why so hateful on the price? Get over it. Every product has high prices and low prices whether it's a vehicle buying a Ferrari or a Honda or.buying clothes whether it's polo or old navy or any product. Not everyone wants to spend top dollar on a cell phone even if they can afford it and not everyone can afford it. So there are choices. Get over it.
  • Very curious about what Google can do with a Snapdragon 6XX series with a healthy amount of RAM and their Pixel Visual Core.
  • There was rumor a few months ago that Google would be launching a "Pixel Lite" next year, running a SD710. Don't know if there have been any recent rumblings, though.
  • The Pixel 3 XL has to address the elephant in the room which is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. If Google is going to be charging Flagship prices then they need to bring Flagship specs. Updates are not good enough and anybody that says that updates are enough are simply justifying their purchase.
  • The only spec techheads are complaining about is the ram. So you mean the ram right? Be specific. Because the ram issue matters more for bloat heavy phones like the Note.
  • It all comes down to what you value the most. For me the great camera, smooth performance, quick updates and the Pixel Android experience (I wouldn't call it "stock") make it worthwhile. Some people may value expandable storage, for example, but I very much prefer the unlimited storage in Google Photos. As for the "Android One... hasn't shown to be a huge driver of device sales as it is." comment, I think this might be a US issue. Nokia phones have been selling very well in Europe (they are already the number 5 OEM), and so as the Xiaomi A series.
  • I'd be happy if they release a small Pixel akin to iPhone Se except it be a Bezel less 5 inch screen just so I can put it in my pocket and not worry of it falling in the toilet due to it being big and not fitting in my pocket.
  • The beauty of this is twofold. Google doesn't have to make a cheaper Pixel phone, and I don't have to buy what they have to offer. We're both happy.
  • I like the title , Andrew. It just seems unfinished. I'll correct it for you
    "... - And it failed." :)
  • I just want a phone that fits in my hand and doesn't stab me when I sit down while it is in my pocket. I don't need an edge to edge screen. I don't need face ID. I don't need multiple cameras. I don't care for a thin phone. Someone make a simple phone with current flagship speeds and a large battery. I will gladly pay 800 dollars for that, even if it pales in comparison to the looks of the current flagships.
  • Well said. I totally agree.
  • I keep hearing people say "Android One, Android One!", but the reality (for US phone buyers, at least) is that Android One is mostly stuck on VERY low range hardware. The Nokia 7.1 is a step in the right direction, but not fully there yet. There is a gap for an Android One device with full US LTE bands, a Snapdragon 710 processor and a good - not decent, but really good - camera setup. Google should be helping to fill that gap. Of course, the elephant in the room are US carriers who do everything possible to kill offerings in this space so they can keep renting out iPhone XS and Galaxy Note 9 phones to people for a monthly fee before they "upgrade" again next year.
  • This is true
  • Sounds like allot of phone elitist BS to me.
    When they develop a way to make a phone that isn't as fragile as an Faberge egg when you drop it I might consider it . I bought an S8 a year back and it didn't last two weeks with a case.
    I dropped it, it broke,$800 bucks down the drain. I don't know about everybody else but I damn sure can't afford to replace an $800 phone every time I drop it .
    even if you have bought insurance for it it's still going to cost you around $200 to replace. Also,In the US the pixel 3 is a Verizon exclusive. I wouldn't use Verizon if it was the last Us phone carrier on Earth they are way too expensive my phone bill was over $200 a month when when I did use them. I bought a $200 Stylo 4 and love it. It may not be as fast or take as nice of a picture as a pixel 3 or any other flagship, but my point is, it does take nice pictures and it does what I want it to. And if I drop it I don't feel like pulling my hair out if it breaks.
  • This guy has seen the light.
  • Verizon exclusive is a bit misleading. You can get one from Fi (including financing) or buy one direct from Google that is unlocked. I am a bit surprised (dismayed?) at the reports that Best Buy's are locked until paid off, and still need to have seen Verizon at least once. If you shell out full price at Best Buy, it should be unlocked.
  • That is true. But allot of us don't have the credit or cash to buy one outright. That leaves only one choice which is Verizon.
  • Google finances 0%
  • Great article, Andrew! Well written and insightful. Good to see someone with the proper perspective and not just more useless ramblings about a dead Nexus program of the past.
  • Pixel 3xl would be a downgrade from Note 8 so let's not compare it to anything newer than that
  • Was it nessasary to raise the regular pixal price by 150.00 bucks? 4gb's & 64gb's of storage on the base model seems like slim pickens to me. If it had 6to8gb's & 128gb's of storage I really could understand the price increase. These are not good value phones. Just saying!
  • Spot on Andrew!! Love what Google is doing with Pixel series. Concentrate on higher end and provide the iPhone equivalent on Android side. Anyway there see either options like Samsung in high end and other OEMs, variety of OEMs at mid and low end. So Google can concentrate on higher margin phones, even though they are gone to sell less. At least make a profit on whatever you sell.
  • Google can’t have it both ways! Charge us a premium for the device AND collect tons of data on us to make money off of as well!!
  • Most either don't care or stopped caring. What do you do about this?
  • I accept the Pixels are pricey. However, I don't see the $150 value add from the pixel 2 to the pixel 3 (non XL pixel 2 64GB was $650. Same configuration of the non XL pixel 3 is $800). I'll be perfectly content with my first gen pixel, as it takes amazing photos, and runs great for my purposes. I could see the base Pixel being $700, to account for inflation or demand for the 845 chip driving up price. But nothing I've seen to date justifies the $150 bump in price..
  • Exactly this. Expensive isn't the same as straight up gouging.
  • Honestly, I think Google has room to do both. Resurrect the old Nexus line alongside Pixels, with Nexus being turned into showcases for upper-midrange Android One devices meant to run Snapdragon 700 series SoCs and sell them for $399-$599 based on battery, screen size, etc. Hero Devices would bring big attention because, frankly, the Tech Press would never ever ever shut up about them (just look at the Pixel 3 coverage, which started slightly before the Pixel 3 was even an idea in Google's head and just increased from there). Google could set a standard for a "sub-flagship" brand like Motorola did in 2013 with the first Moto X (incidentally, while under Google's stewardship, which seems to have been the font from which all their good ideas flowed). These new Nexus devices could be made with plastic instead of glass or metal and use some lower end components like 1080p displays, be made a little thicker, little heavier, but comp in a bigger battery. Keep an unlocked bootloader to encourage the modding crowd, and push hard and strong with it being "like a Pixel for the rest of us". A bunch of us don't want or need 100% of the Pixel brand or what it stands for. Those people WANT the Nexus brand and what it stood for, and seeing as those two things are actually quite different from a branding and ethos standpoint, there's little reason Google couldn't afford to do both and still make bank.
  • Totally agree on this and I never saw a reason for Google to discontinue the Nexus line in favour of the ridiculously priced Pixel devices. They could have kept the Nexus line around as a "Budget Pixel" for people who prefer stock Android but don't want to pay Pixel prices for it. Discontinuing the Nexus was the main reason I switched to a Nokia 8 rather than a Pixel. So Andrew, you're right Google doesn't need a cheap Pixel, it needs to resurrect the Nexus range for the rest of us instead. Here's a question for you, if Google doesn't want to be associated with cheap phones then why does Android Go exist!!?!
  • So staying with your thought ... Doesn't Android One satisfy those who want a "Nexus-like" experience? Google supplies the software suite and the hardware is designed and distributed by whatever hardware OEM at a lower price point.
  • Yes, but Android One is used on more than flagships. It would be nice if Google had something for those people who DON'T fancy handing over the entire contents of their bank account to get a Pixel!!
  • If they added more memory and storage as standard to the pixel range as other phones can do at a much cheaper price then maybe they would have a true flagship device which could wipe the floor with Apple.
  • They need to prove the value or alternatively just provide more value. The Pixel may represent the best from Google but at the price they are asking the relative value just doesn't seem there.
  • The problem i have with the pixel 3 is I dont feel the price warrants what you get. Everything outside of the camera will get a 3rd party equivalent. Call screeners will flood the app store by next year. The phone is too bland to justify the cost and you're paying to be first at a new experience. One plus is eating the pixels lunch so no I think they need to rethink the price. Least apple and Samsung have dedicated features justifying the cost. Apple ecosystem and apps and notes s pen and other stuff.
  • To charge what they are for the Pixel 3s, they definitely need better hardware. Imagine it looked like the Vivo Nex... It'd be amazing! Right now it's just decent. And that's isn't good enough. It can compete and even out perform the iPhone and S9 on camera and software... But the hardware is too damn mediocre!
  • This is the stupidest topic I've seen. Yes they should make a cheaper pixel. I have no need for a glass back and aluminum etc etc. Have the powerful internals and great screen with a decent frame.. ex nexus 5 was amazing for its time. Top specs good screen. And actually good frame just was plastic not metal and glass. Why would I buy a pixel when the OnePlus 6t is coming out with basically stock Android for far less..
  • Eh the pixel users are still Google's beta testers. For the price they charge, they should put the specs to match it (4gb of ram ain't cutting it for a flagship android device priced $800+ as shown by the memory management issues on the Pixel 3).
  • But, but...Google does make cheap phones....they're called Pixels! They just charge way more than they are worth thereby trying to make them appear to be expensive phones.
  • If that were true why would you care?
  • He's right!
  • I'm not here to poop on Google. I believe Google never has had any intent to sell a high volume of Pixel phones. I think Google merely wants the Pixel in the market to ensure a reasonable Android phone offers the latest Android OS with the latest updates. Other manufacturers are improving security update timing. My Note 8 actually has an October security update patch.
  • I think what google is really trying to do is become one of the top 3 in smart phones.. here is my reason, Apple has the iphone and apples big competition is google.. yet the flagship as far as android or "google" phones is samsung. Google wants their phone with their system, which is understandable. Samsung has been trying to move slowly away from google by using tizen, but most people, like me who is a note devotee, want the google features, along with the samsung features that come with their flagships. Hope what i said makes sense, lol, apples system works for them and they control a to z on it.. google has a great system in android but lets face it, samsung is the android flagship to a lot of people.. google just wants to be a to z like apple. Cant blame them, but they have to not only compete w apple, they have to compete with a popular big name that uses google android, along with the other companies out there. Good luck to them, but they have to change perception of the market. If they were able to make something that was a direct competitor to the note, w a stylus i would pay attention, but i am aware i am in a very small small group.
  • Totally wrong... Samsung is Android and only will be. Tizen is their superior choice to run their watches.... That's it. Contrary to bring different from Android... Samsung often leads with new features to their android skin, and Android follows.
  • The tech press may love the Pixel line but most tech enthusiasts feel continually dissapointed with them. Over priced and underwhelming.
  • No one needs an expensive smart phone. Any cheap mid to high end Android phone will do it. He'll even the now very cheap IPhone 5 or 6 could be fine. The rest is just fuzz and hype. No need to jump on that wagon. Keep the money for something else. Enjoy the life and stop keep watching the screen.
  • It wouldn't extend me to pay $1000 for a phone. I just don't want to. I don't like bloat. I don't like fat launchers from the lines of Samsung or LG. I have a nice Pixel 2 XL, in my hand, that I got a month ago for just over $400. I just couldn't justify paying more than twice that for something else with only 4GB of RAM. Something with Note 9 specs, maybe, but I'd probably still wait a year to spend less.
  • Ah... The 2006 bloat argument.... When will it die? When phones have 16GB RAM and a terabyte of storage? 🤣
  • The US unlocked LGG6 has only 32GB internal, perpetuating the argument, but mostly, I just don't like a bunch of apps that I don't want and cannot get rid of.
  • Mid range spec phone. Far better spec phnes out there for $300 less. They will never compete with samsung, LG and others if this is the best they have got. Really can't understand why people are trying to hype it up. Yes yes its got probably the best cell phone camera according to hype. However its pretty useless if you can't see what you are taking in bright sunlight. No memory card slot no head phone socket. Really.
  • Andrew your articles tend to be spot on, and I appreciate your insights here as usual. Google has every right and incentive to try and elbow into the high end market. And consumers have every right to ignore the phone en mass... which, beyond tech exactly what I think will happen. Besides. The mid range market is being done better by other companies now (we all know who they are). Some of their phones ran smoother a year in than the far more expensive Pixel 2 did a year in. So by all means, Google. Keep trying. A few will buy; my guess is most won't. And you won't release sales numbers so how well or poor your high end devices do will be left (ultimately) to speculation. As for me, while I do miss Nexus I still (happily) buy in that price range, but I have definitelymoved on from Google hardware.
  • But the Pixel 3 devices are NOT in line with the competition between 800 and 1100. They are far behind. You'll get those specs for $400. Partly even for $299.
    Google offers better mid-range devices for a premium price. THIS is what's bugging me.
  • I agree. My Moto Z2 Play has 4GB of RAM and an SD card tray and it sold for $500, new.
  • People keep forgetting Google is a software company first and a hardware company second. They are slowly building more hardware in their various branches but their bread and butter is software (including ads). They do not depend on Pixel sales to drive the company's financial growth so there is no need to have the "Pixel line" pander to to lower cost markets.
  • Maybe this is more Apple's fault than Google's for starting this trend, but phone prices are stupid now. I say this as a technology enthusiast, an IT professional and someone with good disposable income. I refuse to spend money on a "flag ship". Unlike others in this thread, i do NOT finance my phone through my plan. I have a good plan that I do not want to modify. On top of this, those extra dollars every month while seemingly small, in the end still add up to the full price of the phone. I think some folk forget this. I know its their money and you can do whatever you want with it, but I can't help its become a "follow the sheep" type of thing, everyone needs the "top phone" when most people use 1% of it.
    So many people's I know's prized possessions have become their phone and they spend more money than they should given their wages on this. Camera aside, there's almost nothing that a flag ship phone does that a mid range can't. Maybe the camera is worth that? I'd rather spend it on a mirrorless (if an SLR is too big) and take better pics but that's just me.