Google will introduce a mid-priced range Pixel smartphone for sale in India beginning this summer. The company did not provide any specific specs or features for the proposed mid-priced phone.
The strategic business move is the latest by Google in price-sensitive emerging markets, countries long serviced by its rivals, Amazon, Apple and Samsung.
It’s also a sign of Google’s commitment to becoming a hardware manufacturer. The company built its smartphone brand largely by giving away the Android operating system to carriers and handset makers.
The Pixel changed all that, making the search giant an immediate rival of the more contained and controlled Apple iPhone.
Yet Pixels have remained expensive, like the iPhone. In India, the Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones cost anywhere from 40,000 Indian rupees ($615) to about 71,000 Indian Rupees ($1,093 USD).
The mid-priced Pixel introduction is just the beginning. Google also will rollout a Pixelbook laptop, Google WiFi smart speakers and various home automation products such as Google home.
Google’s Pixel smartphone will fully support Hindi and 10 regional languages and dialects in India.
Retailers who attended the trade conferences expressed enthusiasm for Google’s marketing strategy to expand the appeal of mid-priced ranged Pixel smartphones.
“Google is excited about the expansion of the consumer products business in India with the advent of the cheap 4G internet led by Reliance Jio and other operators which it says will help to realize maximum potential of these products,” said a retailer who attended the conferences.
It is the start of a technological business initiative for the Indian consumer demographic specifically.
The company is focusing on India because smartphone use and growth is exploding in the country. This stands in contrast to stabilized rates of smartphone growth in the United States.
India’s huge population makes it a key global market for device makers looking to grow. Of India 650 million mobile phone users, just 300 million have smartphones, according to technology consultancy Counterpoint Research.
Streaming devices Chromecast, Chromecast Audio and the virtual reality product Google Daydream View will also be sold in the country.
Hardware distributor Redington will expand its brick-and-mortar distribution reach in India to accommodate the push by Google in the mid-priced phones, the retailer said.
“Google will also do in-store branding and signage in selected stores, and set up exclusive zones with specially designed fixtures like Apple,” said the retailer.