Google, for a long time, has been making efforts to make a mark in the lucrative smartphone market of India and other emerging markets. Now, if reports are to be believed, the search giant is planning a low-cost Pixel 3 phone for emerging economies.
Google’s venture into the smartphone business with its Pixel series phones has been positive. The devices, however, failed to gain popularity in India, the fastest growing and the second biggest market for smartphones in the world. Other than the high prices of the Pixel phones, the handsets are nowhere found in physical stores, a must for a country like India where potential customers believe in getting the feel and look of the device before buying it.
So, after not getting the kind of response it wanted, Google has reportedly decided to come up with a special “Made for India” low-cost Pixel 3 series somewhere in July-August. The search engine giant has also decided on the funds for the brand promotion of the upcoming phones, says a report from the Economic Times.
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In a study on the Pixel phone sales in India, Google found that there is a minute difference between the margin in terms of units sold between online and offline channels. Therefore, for its alleged low-cost Pixel 3 phones, the company is reportedly planning to expand the distribution network in the country.
“Google is excited about the expansion of the consumer products business in India with the advent of the cheap 4G internet led by Reliance Jio and other operators which it says will help to realize the maximum potential of these products,” read the report from Economic Times.
According to the report, the U.S. firm would take assistance from hardware distributor Redington to expand its physical presence. Other than retail footprint expansion, the company will also do in-store branding and signage in selected stores.
Other brands such as Samsung, Xiaomi and Motorola have already joined hands with several multi-branded retail chains across India. Another popular brand, OnePlus, is also working on expanding its experience stores to 10 cities before the end of 2018.
Along with the Pixel phones, the U.S. firm is also planning to debut its Google Home, Google Wifi, and the Pixelbook in India. Further, intelligent home automation products like a smart doorbell, alarm system, smoke detectors and cameras would also debut in the country under its Nest brand.
According to Economic Times, one of the retailers who was present at the Google trade meet in the country, said that the California-based company does not want to become over-aggressive in chasing the market share in the consumer product space, rather it wants to have a decent retail presence in the country and build the brand.
For its Home speaker, which is expected to arrive sometime in April, the search giant is determined to carry out a countrywide advertising campaign. Google Assistants support over 30 languages including Hindi, and the speakers can be configured with over 95% of the Android phones all over the world. Also, the smart speakers support Indian streaming apps like Saavn and Gaana. Voice interactions with these apps, however, are still not present.
Through the smart speaker, users can make hands free calls and set single commands such as reading traffic and weather information or play an “already saved” playlist. Smart speakers are compatible with over 1,000 smart home devices in addition to the automation products like playing music in the house or start routines with a broadcast.
The low-cost 3 Pixel smartphone is expected to arrive by the end of the second-quarter of 2018 as the next Pixel flagship would possibly arrive in October. Over the period of the next two years, Google Wifi might also come to the country.
If Google wants to truly make a mark in the Indian and global smartphone market, it would possibly have to come up with a feature phone as well. Feature phones – popularly known as dumb phones – that were thought to be out of the game a few years back are now making an impressive comeback.
A report from Counterpoint Research reveals that the smartphone market grew just 2% last year to 1.6 billion, whereas feature phone shipments rose 5% to 450 million devices. This was the slowest growth for the smartphones, and the first instance (in the past several years) when the feature phone posted growth.