Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his trip to India last year had stated that smartphone prices need to come down into the ~$30 (~₹2,000) range in the country to further promote access to the internet. Although Google laid to rest any rumours of a budget Pixel device at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress, a new leak has rekindled hopes that the Mountain View based company is working on a budget smartphone sans the Pixel branding.
As per a report on 9To5Google, they have a credible source that the company is working on a budget handset but would not be carrying the Pixel branding. According to the same source, this is the same team that is working for the Pixel 2 smartphone. The budget device which might be a part of the Android One initiative is not being designed for the mature markets like the US but with the emerging markets such as India in mind. This falls in line with Google’s statements of releasing only premium devices carrying the Pixel branding.
The budget smartphone, which can potentially be an Android One device, is not expected to be released in the US and is being developed with emerging markets in mind. Considering that Google has clarified that the Pixel 2 smartphone will remain in the premium category, this new rumour seems to make much more sense. This was reinforced by statements issued by Google’s hard Rick Osterloh at MWC that the Pixel 2 will target only the premium segment of the market while following the annual release rhythm of the smartphone industry.
No further details have emerged regarding this mystery smartphone which leaves us hoping that Google will provide more clarity on the topic in the coming days or whether it will continue to focus solely on the premium segment.