Google unveils low-cost Pixel smartphones

Google unveils low-cost Pixel smartphones

Google has been holding its annual developers conference - Google I/O - this week in Mountain View, California. As is often the case, the big news items were delivered early on during the keynote speech which was led by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

The announcement that is attracting the most attention is that Google will be releasing a new line of entry level Pixel smartphones, with prices starting at just £399. This decision marks a bold change from the existing line up of Google smartphones, which were among the most expensive on the market. The cheapest new handset previously offered by Google was the Pixel 3 which was released in November and has a price of £739. This was one of the highest entry-level price points of any smartphone manufacturer.

By comparison the new Pixel 3a is almost half the price of its big brother, but does have fewer features as a result. Google has also unveiled the Pixel 3a XL, a larger handset, which will retail for £469 (compare this with the Pixel 3 XL which costs £869).

So what is the difference between the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3a? You still get an OLED screen that is a similar size and resolution, but the case of the Pixel 3a is made from polycarbonate as opposed to glass, and it is not water resistant. The batteries are similar, although the cheaper handset is not capable of wireless charging. Storage is limited to 64GB on the Pixel 3a (128GB for the Pixel 3) and the processor is not as fast. The main camera is the same on both the Pixel 3 and 3a, although the 3a only has one front-facing camera (so no wide-angle selfies). Broadly speaking, the same differences exist between the Pixel 3 XL and the Pixel 3a XL, although the 3a XL is also a little smaller than the 3 XL. Interestingly, the new Pixel 3a and 3a XL both feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, which may be a welcome relief to those who begrudged its removal.

pixel comparison.jpg

Source: Google

The Android mobile operating system, owned by Google, accounts for roughly 80% of the world smartphone market. However, of those handsets only a tiny fraction are Google devices, so it would seem Google are looking to increase their market share.

All in all the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL both have a whole host of great features usually found on the more expensive Pixel handsets, but for a fraction of the price. If Google was looking to establish a firmer foothold in the handset market, then this could be a great way to do it.

Smartphone handsets have been getting more and more expensive, so it's great to see more attention being given to more affordable devices that still offer a great range of features.

You can check out the differences between the Pixel handsets for yourself here: Compare Pixel
Becky Cunningham
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