Google today took the wraps off its first 5G-ready phones, the Pixel 4a (5G), and the Pixel 5. The phones have the same Snapdragon 765G inside, and also share an identical dual-camera system that has a 12.2MP main camera and a 16MP ultra-wide-angle unit. The front camera is 8MP.
Google is clearly not vying for the premium segment here, and its almost-flagship, the Pixel
5, offers a few extras over the $499 Pixel 4a (5G), such as a 90Hz screen, wireless charging
, water resistance, a slightly larger battery, and more RAM. All of this is for $699, and the price could surely put off a lot of potential buyers, given that we are still not over a pandemic that has dealt a blow to the economy, and competitors are offering better specs
for the same price.
Only 800,000 units of the Pixel 5 will probably be manufactured this year
The internet giant seems well aware of the unattractive value proposition, which is probably the reason why it has set a sales target which makes you do a double-take. Nikkei Asia
reports that Google plans to ship less than a million Pixel 5 units this year. We aren’t even sure if the company will be able to achieve this goal, as the production volume could be as low as 800,000 units in 2020. It also doesn’t help that the phone will not go on sale in most of the few markets it will be available in until November 19.
In all, Google is apparently planning to manufacture 3 million units combined of the Pixel 4a
, Pixel 4a (5G), and Pixel 5 in 2020.
The company is believed to have sold 7.2 million smartphones in 2019, and 4.7 million units in the year before that. Pixel 4
shipments were particularly disappointing, per the publication, which is perhaps why it was discontinued
before a customary one year run.
The Pixel 4a
was considerably delayed, which partially explains why the company was seemingly able to sell just 1.5 million smartphones in the first six months of 2020, as opposed to 4.1 million units in the first half of 2019, when the Pixel 3a propped up sales
. In the meanwhile, other companies such as Apple and OnePlus came out with midrange phones of their own and it’s reasonable to believe that they scooped up some of Google’s already paltry market share.
So, is it all doom and gloom for Google this year? Well, not necessarily, and if consumers respond favorably to the new phones, the company might adjust its production volume.
Google missed the opportunity to seize Huawei’s market share this year
The report also notes that unlike a couple of Chinese companies, Google was not able to take advantage of the situation Huawei currently is in. On the contrary, Huawei might come to haunt Google later.
At the behest of the US government, Google has severed business relations with Huawei, as a result of which the search giant no longer allows the company to install its apps and services on its phones.
This has made Huawei phones less attractive, and the Chinese company is working on its own operating system
. It’s also urging other Chinese company to use its OS, and this could spell danger for Google in the long run.
To cut Google some slack, let’s remind ourselves that global smartphone sales are forecasted to dip 9.5 percent this year when compared to 2019 because of the coronavirus. Of course, that hasn’t made its key rivals lower their ambitions, with Apple reportedly eying sales of 80 million
for the iPhone 12
, and Samsung conjuring up a plan to sell six million units
of its foldable phones that cost an arm and leg before the year concludes.