What you need to know
- Google launched its latest devices in India, and they attract a hefty premium.
- The Pixel 8 is available for ₹75,999 ($912) in the country, while the Pixel 8 Pro starts off at ₹1,06,999 ($1,285).
- Google also introduced the Pixel Watch 2 at ₹39,999 ($480), but there's no LTE model.
Google unveiled its latest products at the Made by Google 2023 event, with the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro offering heady upgrades across the board and a slate of AI-assisted features. A big talking point is that both phones will get seven years of guaranteed Android updates, more than any other phone in the market today.
While there is a lot to like on both phones — be sure to go through our Pixel 8 hands-on to see what's coming this year — Google also increased the prices. While both devices cost $100 more in the U.S., there's a rather drastic increase in India, where the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are seeing a huge price hike that makes them less desirable.
The Pixel 8 is available in an 8GB/128GB configuration, and it is set to retail at ₹75,999 ($912), a full ₹16,000 ($192) more than its predecessor. In fact, the Pixel 7 is now selling for just ₹41,999 ($504), making it a downright bargain. Although Google is offering faster hardware, a 120Hz panel, and new cameras at the back, the Pixel 8 feels needlessly costly.
Then there's the Pixel 8 Pro, which is listed at ₹1,06,999 ($1,285) for the 12GB/128GB version, which is ₹22,000 ($264) more than what the Pixel 7 Pro launched at last year. I just don't see Google's reasoning for the price hike, and while the Pixel 8 Pro has noticeable upgrades — particularly with the cameras — there's a dissonance between what it costs in the U.S., other global markets, and India.
To its credit, Google is launching the Pixel Watch 2 in India, but there's only a Bluetooth-enabled version for ₹39,999 ($480), with no mention of whether an LTE model will make its debut. Google says that all three products are available for pre-order with sales starting October 12, but the store links show as unavailable.
While it can be argued that Google is importing all phones sold in India — incurring import duties — that's true for the previous generation as well, so it doesn't account for why the Pixel 8 series suddenly costs so much more. So if you're looking for a new phone and had your eye on the Pixel 8 series, get ready to pay a hefty premium in India.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.