Google‘s new Pixel devices priced at almost half of its previous rollouts may still not be able to move the needle much for the search giant in Indian smartphones, especially in the premium segment, given the superior features rivals such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo and OnePlus offer at similar or lower price points, say market watchers. Most analysts say the prices and features of the devices — Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL priced in the Rs 39,000-45,000 range — were not in sync with the demands of the smartphone buyer in India, where customers are awaiting the latest specs at affordable levels in models like the OnePlus 7 and Samsung A series.
“There is, unfortunately, a yawning disconnect between Pixel pricing and market realities in India. This is a market where Chinese brands provide flagship level experience at similar prices,” said Prabhu Ram, head of industry intelligence group at Cybermedia Research.
TechArc’s Faisal Kawoosa said Google’s proposition was very weak since it has designed a ‘mediocre smartphone in terms of specs’ and priced it at premium level. “(3a) will not meet with great success in the market,” he said.
The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were announced in Google’s IO conference earlier this week and will be available in India from May 15. Flipkart has begun pre-bookings of both devices from May 8. Priced at nearly half of its predecessors – Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL prices ranged between Rs 71,000 and Rs 92,000 depending on the storage – the new models are aimed to bring in a larger customer base into the Google fold. This is why the software behemoth has bundled content, including a three-month YouTube Premium subscription.
“While brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, RealMe, Vivo offer a much better package in terms of new features, design language at almost half the price of Pixel 3a, the new devices will not have much volume in India… I’m afraid, this will not result in any market share boost for Google,” cautioned Navkendar Singh, research director at International Data Corporation (IDC) India.
IDC India and Counterpoint Research peg Google’s share in the smartphone market at a dismal 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. Counterpoint, though, feels the US company’s share could rise this year with new models, given the low base and in line with the expected expansion of the premium segment itself in 2019.―Business Telegraph