Google’s premium Pixel 9 plans really feel too massive, too quickly

This week, we bought one other massive Pixel 9 leak, one which fully redefines how we’re desirous about your entire lineup. Moderately than growing simply two smartphones, Google is definitely engaged on a trio of Pixel 9 models. One is a direct successor to the Pixel 8, whereas the opposite two fashions will break up the Professional sequence in half, providing a smaller mannequin with a telephoto lens for the primary time because the Pixel 4. It is a web page seemingly borrowed from Apple’s playbook specifically, dividing a equally premium expertise throughout two sizes of smartphone.

However whenever you have a look at your entire leaked Pixel lineup for 2024 — not together with the Pixel Fold 2, which appears to exist in its personal realm — it seems like Google’s smartphone sequence is in a bizarre spot, particularly when making an attempt to match it to current-gen pricing. Actually, it seems like this 12 months’s launches might spell the tip of Pixel as a “worth” choice, whether or not or not the corporate is definitely even prepared for that transfer.

Google’s Tensor period has been all about worth

But it surely’s come at the price of true match and end

Because the transfer to Tensor, Google’s smartphone lineup has seen its ups and downs. There’s quite a bit to love about these telephones — imagine me, I’ve reviewed greater than half of them, and used all however the Pixel 6 Professional and Pixel 6a as a each day driver. However loads has held the Pixel lineup from greatness since its reinvention in 2021. Efficiency points, delayed updates, and headache-inducing bugs have been seen on virtually each Tensor-powered cellphone, and that is to say nothing of device-specific complications just like the Pixel 6’s poor reception.

In some ways, Google has held these merchandise again from greatness in comparison with the extra steady experiences provided by, say, Samsung. In flip, the corporate was in a position to downplay a lot of this criticism by promoting its telephones at costs effectively beneath the competitors. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 7, for instance, solely price $600, whereas their Professional counterparts every launched at $900. Evaluate these fashions to, say, the Galaxy S22 sequence, which spanned from $800 to $1,200 relying in your most well-liked mannequin, and you may see why Google’s smartphones regarded much more compelling to budget-minded consumers.

Google's Pixel 8 Pro in mint in a hand.

That is not even accounting for frequent reductions, typically showing only one month after launch, or the Pixel A-series, which provided related experiences at even cheaper costs. Mixed, these parts made all of it too simple to disregard some — not all, however some — of the problems we have seen come and go during the last two and a half years.

With the Pixel 8 sequence, although, issues have began to alter. The smaller mannequin nonetheless prices simply $700, however at $1,000, the Pixel 8 Professional is priced identically to the Galaxy S24+. Consider these gross sales and Google’s smartphones often come out on prime, however contemplating simply how wonderful Samsung’s {hardware} is lately — and, much more crucially, how steady One UI feels — and it is no marvel why I am discovering Pixels more durable to advocate to common customers. There’s simply too many complications, and the worth distinction is not almost as massive because it as soon as was.


Google’s inconsistent Pixel expertise makes its telephones unimaginable to advocate

Three generations into the Tensor experiment, the time has come to cease making excuses for Google’s buggy software program

Google’s transferring in direction of Professional {hardware} — and Professional costs

However can the general expertise maintain up?

Renders of the Pixel 9 in blue against a white backdrop.

With the upcoming Pixel 9 sequence, I believe Google’s about to drop its finances mindset totally. The corporate now has two Professional-branded fashions to promote: the 6.2-inch Pixel 9 Professional, and the please-don’t-actually-be-called-this 6.7-inch Pixel 9 Professional XL. That is along with a daily Pixel 9 and the Pixel 8a that we anticipate to launch at I/O in Might. With this many telephones, Google both has to danger undercutting its personal gross sales by pricing its gadgets too shut to one another, or — extra seemingly — increase prices throughout the board to ascertain a extra premium person expertise.

I will admit, my mind defaulted to the previous. Initially, I sat all the way down to attempt to determine the maths right here, assuming — maybe foolishly — that Google would not blow previous the $1,000 mark for the Pixel 9 Professional XL, all whereas having to start out at a rumored $550 worth level for the Pixel 8a. 4 telephones unfold over simply $450? You possibly can really feel the cannibalization taking place in actual time.

It wasn’t till a dialog on this week’s Android Police podcast (an excellent podcast, if I do say so myself) with former AP EIC Daniel Bader that I noticed there is a purpose that math would not work. With two Pixels adorned with Professional branding, Google can unfold its pricing vary up right into a a lot larger tier, seemingly marking the tip of its smartphone sequence dwelling on this finances flagship area. In reality, contemplating that leaked roadmap from 2022 would not point out a Pixel 9a for 2025, Google is likely to be seeking to completely goal the high-end area with new {hardware} beginning subsequent 12 months.

A Pixel pricing construction rivaling Samsung and Apple

Matching its closest rivals

A Google Pixel 8 Pro smartphone sitting on a canvas cloth next to a green pumpkin.

And so, here is how I see it. The Pixel 8a will already be on sale for (seemingly) $550 when the Pixel 9 debuts this fall. You fit within the primary Pixel 9 at a brand new worth of $800 — matching the Galaxy S24 and customary iPhone 15 — whereas the 6.2-inch Pixel 9 Professional lands on the $1,000 tier. The Pixel 9 Professional XL, in the meantime, strikes into the $1,100 or $1,200 area, mirroring Apple’s technique for its iPhone 15 Professional and Professional Max. Not solely is {that a} a lot more healthy $650 unfold between the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 9 Professional XL, but it surely helps to set larger revenue margins on each Professional fashions as an entire. And hey, it brings again the identical $800 to $1,200 vary Samsung makes use of — go determine.

This is the issue: Google has but to repair these underlying match and end points plaguing its telephones, and it is unclear if something will change this 12 months. Tensor G4 is about to be a small enchancment over its predecessor, with the true modifications — and a transfer to a totally customized, TSMC-manufactured chipset — at the moment rumored for 2025. However bear in mind, that SoC was initially meant for the Pixel 9, which might’ve set Google up completely to maneuver up into this higher-end vary of smartphones.

If the corporate does have one factor going for it, it is a shift to completely supporting Tensor-based gadgets with Android 15. With out having to concurrently develop its Pixel expertise for each Qualcomm and Tensor-based {hardware}, we might see massive enhancements in stability from Google beginning with this fall’s OS launch. That stated, let’s not get forward of ourselves — the corporate has an extended strategy to go to show it is on the appropriate path.


Google Pixel 9: Information, leaks, rumored worth, and launch window

The Pixel 9 sequence is Google’s largest cell shakeup since Tensor — here is what we’re anticipating

Begin saving your pennies for that subsequent Pixel

Render of the standard Pixel 9, shown from the front and rear at a slight angle

Supply: 91Mobiles

If Google is making this soar one technology too early, it’s going to be fairly apparent as soon as the Pixel 9 evaluate embargo is lifted come October. Reviewers — myself included — are much less prone to be as forgiving in direction of inconsistent experiences in case you’re paying Apple and Samsung costs for lower-quality {hardware}.

That stated, we can’t actually know what Google has in retailer for Pixel followers till it takes the stage this fall, and with months to go, pricing particulars won’t even be set in stone but. Simply do not be stunned if this 12 months’s {hardware} prices much more than it used to — even when Google’s not fairly able to justify it.

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