Recently when Google announced its “first” two phones the Pixel and the Pixel XL, it surprised a number of its fans with the pricing of the new devices. A lot of Android users, who like the stuff coming from Google because they have been on a Nexus phone, also associate the Google phones, or at least the phones that Google supported, with value for money. Even last year when Google and its hardware partners launched rather expensive Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P the two phones were relatively affordable compared to the latest iPhone or the Galaxy Note. But this year the Pixel phones are priced just like the iPhones or for that matter the top-end Samsung Galaxy phones.
Now, the high price in itself is not that much of an issue. After all, a high-end premium phone will indeed cost more. The stranger bit with the pixel price is that these phones don’t seem to be in the same league as the Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 7 as far as the pure hardware is concerned. And yet, Google is pricing them in such a way.
The design and build quality of the Pixel phones is definitely not as great as the design and build quality of the iPhone 7 or the Galaxy S7. In fact last year’s all-metal Huawei Nexus 6P looks more stylish and polished compared to the large-screen Pixel XL this year. The two Pixel phones also lack a few features that other high-end phones have. Unlike the iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7, the Pixel phones aren’t waterproof. They also don’t have stereo speakers.
And yet the Pixel phones cost almost as much as the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus in India. The question is why? Why would Google price these two phones at a level where they seem overpriced? The reason is because it has to.
For Google, the pricing of the Pixel and the Pixel XL is sort of biting the bullet. It had to make a break from the past, from the Nexus past, and start its line of premium phones
Google probably knows it very well that the Pixel phones are slightly overpriced. But then the company can’t do anything about it because the pricing in this is about sending a message. Or rather, it is about putting up a stake and proclaiming this is the ground where the Pixels are going to play. The Pixel and the Pixel XL, as the India Today Tech argued earlier, are just kind of trailers. Sure, they are very good. But the real stuff will probably come next year because those will be the result of a more through production and development process.
Also read: Pixel is just trailer, Google’s best phone may come next year
The Pixel and the Pixel XL are somewhat rushed. But Google still has to price them the way it has done because if the company had opted for lower prices this year, it would have set the consumer expectations in a wrong way. This is the same reason why Apple doesn’t make a cheap phone. No way, Google could have priced the Pixel at $500 this year and then moved to a $650 for next year’s Pixel.
Google has to keep the pricing constant, and through the prices it also has to send a message to consumers that these are the top-end premium phone. For Google, the pricing of the Pixel and the Pixel XL is sort of biting the bullet. It had to make a break from the past, from the Nexus past, and start its line of premium, high-end and high-margin phones. The Pixel and the Pixel XL mark that beginning and even though at their MRP they look overpriced, to ensure that the message is conveyed properly and to ensure better future for the Pixels that will come next year and year after that, Google had to go for the premium pricing.