aAfter 4 years, Google launched its flagship Pixel smartphones in India – Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. It has aggressively priced the phones too, priced at Rs 59,999 and Rs 84,999, along with super discounts on online retail partner Flipkart.
There are positive signs, as the Android creator indicates a desire not only to release its best products, but also to price them competitively for a price-sensitive market. But these phones also compete with the likes of Apple’s iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy flagship Android phones, both of which are well established in the premium segment of the market. Google knew that if these phones were to compete, they had to be affordable.
The interesting anecdote is that Google has spoiled things with its Pixel phones in India in the past to the point that the steep prices of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro phones won’t make Apple or Samsung sweat. That is why, since 2018, the Pixel 4, Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 lines have not launched in India. It can only capitalize on the mistakes of OnePlus, whose loyal enthusiasts have forgotten in order to gain market share, and perhaps it can trample on the dreams of other Chinese OEMs like Vivo and Xiaomi to catch a more discerning customer, which is admittedly the most profitable business.
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Need an after-sales support solution
Since the launch of the first Pixel phone in 2016, Google’s record of aftermarket support has been terrible, to say the least. People often complain about the lack of aftermarket for phones over INR 50,000. The premium customer expects a premium after the sale.
The aftermarket experience at Google was worse than what even a budget customer might experience. It only provides 24/7 online customer support and drop and drop service for defective devices. This has not changed yet.
However, her executives promise that she is working in the background to make things better. But as many previous Pixel customers have suffered, God forbid if there is a hardware issue, the phone won’t be patched for weeks or months due to limited service centers and a dearth of replacement parts.
Google phones are still not bundled in India, which exacerbates the problem. In the past, he didn’t sell many phones, which is why spare parts stock was scarce. People often praise the Pixel user experience, which is universally praised as one of the best smartphone experiences available. Problems arise after purchase, when something fails with the phone. And that will be critical to the success of the new flagship Pixel phones.
Since October 2018, when Google last launched its flagship Pixel phone, Google has focused on the fairly affordable Pixel A series of phones, such as the Pixel 3A (2019), Pixel 4A (2020) and most recently the Pixel 6A (2022).
I’ve had moderate success with these phones in India, where the combination of Google’s branding, pure Android, and Pixel’s legendary camera prowess has helped move these phones around given the lower prices. But after sale It will be a major aspect of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro as they compete with the likes of OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Vivo, not to mention Apple and Samsung.
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Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are competitive but not a game changer
On the face of it – Google has powerful offerings with unique highlighters. My Pixel 7 phone has been updated with a new design, new cameras that are expected to be excellent, crisp, and free of Android that requires less processing hardware. These phones are also very secure with the Titan chip from Google. It also comes with software tricks like the magic eraser, which can remove unwanted elements from the photo; A tool to de-blur blurry photos, even photos taken from other phones; And an audio transcription tool for the messaging app. Like other premium phones in India, it also supports 5G, but don’t expect to use it on a Pixel phone right away, as with Apple and Samsung, Google is running tests with carriers like Jio and Airtel.
But again, even when compared to the Pixel 6A, it gets many of these features. And one shouldn’t expect it to be significantly faster than the Pixel for the masses because the new Tensor G2 chip looks a lot like the first generation Tensor in the 6A, with updates to the AI-focused elements and machine learning magic that make Google’s cameras so special. The Pixel has also lost its de facto leadership in mobile photography as smartphone makers like Apple, Samsung, Vivo, and Xiaomi have been able to catch up, if not overtake it.
Hence, solid pricing – but that should be combined with world-class aftersales service. So far, from what Google has revealed, there isn’t much movement on this front. Google also has to deal with supply chain issues, as already in Flipkart the new Pixel 7 line ran out ahead of its public release on October 13. Importing phones has its drawbacks and how Google and Flipkart manage that will also determine the success of the Pixel 7 as there is no other way, offline or online, except for Flipkart, to buy this phone. It is also one of the reasons why Google chose not to launch the new Pixel Watch in India.
There are some advantages to the way Google has priced this phone, but that is the only way it could have worked. But for the long-term health of the Pixel brand, it needs to do more. And if the measures are carried out correctly, perhaps in the medium term it will not worry Apple or Samsung, but it will worry smartphone makers in China. They all want to graduate to a richer audience, but they will have another barrier in the form of the inventor of the operating system they all use, along with the Indian government, which trained its crosshairs on them in the wake of India’s clashes with China.
But what bodes well is the fact that it does exist Reports Which indicates that Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, presented a plan to manufacture the Pixel line in India earlier this year. However, this plan is not static, but it can happen regardless of the need to serve India due to geopolitical issues and the supply chain crisis caused by the lockdowns in China. In fact, for the more affordable Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 devices, Google made the devices in Vietnam, so reliance on China isn’t as strict as before. This may make things easier for the Pixel in India since almost all of its competition takes place in India, which equates to a profit margins drawback.
Sohail Mohan Gupta is a technical journalist based in New Delhi. Tweeted on DigitallyBones
(Edited by Taranum Khan)
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