Despite offering the best cameras you can find on a smartphone, Google’s Pixel lineup hasn’t been able to break the stranglehold Apple and Samsung enjoy on the smartphone market. But a Google survey hints that the phone maker may be looking to compete on price with this year’s Google Pixel 5 release.
As spotted by Android Authority, a Reddit user posted a screenshot of a phone price survey Google’s apparently been circulating around. If the survey’s legitimate — and it does seem like the sort of thing a company to gauge expectations and interest in upcoming releases — then the Pixel 5 might be one of the lowest-priced flagships around this fall.
The survey mentions two Pixel releases — one that’s labeled as a “Google Pixel Phone” with a plastic body and 3.5mm headphone jack. That phone is listed at $349, while a second model described as a “Premium Google Pixel Phone” with “best in class camera, wireless charging and water resistance” would cost $699.
The first phone is clearly describing a Pixel 4a. And that $349 price isn’t pulled out of thin air. Last week, 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall said Google’s upcoming budget phone would cost $349 — $50 less than Apple’s newly released iPhone SE 2020. Selling the Pixel 4a at that kind of discount would suggest that Google wants to undercut its main competition on price.
Assuming the “Premium Google Pixel Phone” mentioned in the survey is the Pixel 5, Google’s cost-cutting impulse would continue with its fall flagship release. Last year’s Pixel 4 debuted at $799, so Google would be shaving $100 off the price tag of its new flagship device. More importantly, the Pixel 5 would cost as much as the iPhone 11 while also selling for $300 less than the Galaxy S20. This price will also likely make the Pixel 5 competitive with this fall’s iPhone 12, which is expected to start at around $649 but could cost as much as $1,099 for the Pro Max model.
Google would need to make some sacrifices on features to bring down the cost of its Pixel 5 phone. That might mean getting rid of the Soli sensor introduced in the Pixel 4 that powers gesture-based Motion Sense features. Even more likely, it could be a sign that Google’s skipping the Snapdragon 865 chipset powering this year’s top Android phones for a less expensive mobile processor.
Rumors point to the Pixel 5 using either a Snapdragon 765 or the newly unveiled Snapdragon 768G. Those chipsets don’t have the power of the Snapdragon 865, but they have enough processing and graphics muscle for most smartphone shoppers. Those two chipsets also feature built-in 5G modems so Google’s Pixel 5 could still connect to the next-generation cellular network while saving on some costs.
We’re in for a little wait before we can see if this Google survey on phone prices is a sign of things to come. The Pixel 4a isn’t expected to arrive until June, while the Pixel 5’s launch is likely to be later in the fall.