Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will go on sale in India from November 1, pricing starts at ₹71,000 ($958)

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will go on sale in India from November 1, pricing starts at ₹71,000 ($958)

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After months of leaks, leaks, and some more leaks, the Google Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL have finally been announced at the Made by Google 2018 event. The Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL were launched alongside the Google Pixel Slate and the Google Home Hub. The phones are the successors of the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL respectively. They are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, and wireless charging is included for the first time in a Pixel phone. The Pixel 3 phones are also stated to have the best smartphone camera, and they have new software features such as Night Sight and Super Res Zoom. Unfortunately, the new features have come alongside an increase in cost. In the US, for example, the Pixel 3 starts at $799, $150 up from the Pixel 2’s $649 launch price. The Pixel 3 XL starts at $899, $50 more than the Pixel 2 XL’s $849 price tag. Now, Google has announced the pricing for the Pixel 3 series in India. To put it simply, it’s not good news.

Although Google achieved a fair bit of success with some Google Nexus phones in India back in the past (such as the Nexus 5), the company has not been able to make a mark with the Google Pixel phones. The first-generation Pixel and the Pixel XL raised the boundaries for Android smartphone pricing in India. The Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL had similar launch pricing, although we saw significant discounts for the Pixel 2 early in the device life-cycle. This meant that they were not a commercial success in India, and one analytics firm estimated in August that only 80,000 Pixel 2 phones had been sold in India since launch.

With the Pixel 3 series, Google breaks the ₹90,000 barrier for Android smartphone pricing in India. The Pixel 3 XL will officially be the most expensive Android phone sold in the country.

The Pixel 3’s 64GB storage variant costs ₹71,000 ($958) in India, while the 128GB storage variant has a price tag of ₹80,000 ($1,080). The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, starts at ₹83,000 ($1,120) for the 64GB variant, and goes up to a mind-blowing ₹92,000 ($1,242) for the 128GB storage variant. The Google Pixel 2 XL will continue to be sold for ₹45,499 ($614).

The phones will be available for sale from November 1 via online and retail stores. Pre-orders start from October 11 on Flipkart, Airtel’s store, and at offline partners including Reliance Digital, Croma, Vijay Sales, and other leading stores across India.

Our view: The Pixel 3’s launch price breaks new ground when it comes to Android smartphone pricing in India. The continuously depreciating nature of the Indian rupee isn’t helping matters here, as the USD to INR conversion rate has significantly increased. The Pixel 3 XL’s 128GB storage variant (₹92,000) is more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Note 9‘s 512GB storage variant (₹85,900). The phone’s 64GB storage variant even manages to be more expensive than the upcoming Apple iPhone XR in India, which is an interesting feat of audacity.

For reference, a consumer can buy four POCO F1 units and still spend only ₹1,000 more than the price tag of the 64GB storage variant of the Pixel 3 XL in India. It’s fairly clear that the launch pricing for the Pixel 3 series likely won’t have a positive impact on their popularity and sales in India. While a mid-range Pixel may be on the horizon specifically for India, Google’s flagship phones don’t manage to compete particularly well even when compared with other Android flagships in terms of pricing. This is disappointing to see, and we hope that Google can do better in the future in this respect.