The Pixel 3a series isn't a one-off; Google has plans for more affordable phones
Google is committed to making more affordable devices
Speaking to Android Police during a press briefing last week, Google’s hardware team spoke about the features of the Pixel 3a series and revealed a little about their future plans for the smartphone market. Specifically, the company confirmed that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL aren’t one-off devices and will indeed be succeeded by newer models at some point in the future.
As it turns out, Google is already committed to releasing affordable versions of its Pixel flagships in the future. It’s unclear how many years this plan will continue for – if the first few generations bomb Google could scrap future models – but at this point, a Pixel 4a lineup seems almost guaranteed.
In terms of what these future models will offer, it seems likely that they will follow in the Pixel 3a’s footsteps by adopting a mid-tier Qualcomm processor paired with a decent amount of RAM and storage. Google will probably also continue its focus on the camera experience, but there could be a noticeable difference with next-gen models.
The flagship Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL feature a total of three cameras. These include the rear sensor along with a regular selfie snapper and a wide-angle alternative. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, as some of you may have already noticed, ditch the latter as part of cost-cutting measures.
In the hope of competing more directly with rival flagships, the Pixel 4 series is expected to adopt more than one camera on the rear, bringing the total to a minimum of four. Once again, the lineup's affordable alternatives should keep the main rear camera and the primary selfie sensor. But the inclusion of a second rear camera may not be guaranteed. After all, costs would go up drastically, profits would decrease, and Google would be left with few features to differentiate its flagship models
Cheaper phones and carrier availability should help Google
In addition to being the company’s first mid-range devices, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL mark the beginning of a new era for Google’s smartphone business. Since the original Pixel’s release in 2016, the internet giant has relied solely on flagship sales. Results have been mostly positive – Google is already the third-largest premium brand in the US behind Apple and Samsung – but recently the situation took a turn for the worse.
Following intensifying competition in the US and slower rates of upgrades, Google experienced a decline in sales throughout the first quarter of the year. Things aren’t expected to improve drastically anytime soon, but Google’s entry into the mid-range segment could help save the day.
Another factor that should help boost Google’s smartphone business significantly is carrier availability. The Pixel 3 series, like the Pixel and Pixel 2 lineups that precede it, launched last fall as a Verizon exclusive. The only other way to purchase the models was unlocked through Google Fi, the Google Store, or a handful of other retailers. But starting today, this is no longer the case.
As Google announced earlier, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL can now be purchased at T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular in addition to Verizon and Google Fi. As an added bonus, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL can also be purchased through these carriers starting today – Google skipped the customary pre-order period in favor of an immediate launch.