Pixel 8a: Why is Google So Tone-Deaf on Pixel Pricing in India?

In Short
  • Google announced the Pixel 8a in India for Rs. 52,000
  • When the Pixel 7a and 6a were launched for Rs. 44,000 in previous years, they were deemed expensive.
  • With a price increase of Rs 9,000 for the new Pixel 8a lineup, Google has yet again failed to assess the Indian market.

Every Google Pixel device released in India has been under fire for being “overpriced” which continues with the Pixel 8a series. For those unaware, Google just announced the Pixel 8a in India at Rs 52,000. It proves that with each passing year, Google distances itself from understanding the Indian smartphone scene, but why? In this article, let’s find answers to the question.

Pixel 8a: “A” for Affordable or Astronomical?

Let’s put aside the allegations for a bit and lay out the specifications. The Pixel 8a features a 6.1-inch 120Hz display, Tensor G3, a 4,400 mAh battery, and dual rear cameras. It also comes with 7 years of updates to Google’s latest AI features also found in the Pixel 8 series. All in all, it’s basically a slightly smaller Pixel 8.

Google Pixel 8A India

Leaving aside its US pricing, we know that the Pixel 8 series launched for a price higher than Pixel 7. Google has followed the same pattern with the 8a series, which might seem fine in their opinion. But it shows that Google is unaware of the competitors and the Indian smartphone scene. Or it assumes the cameras and AI features are enough to woo users to get Pixels, which is not true.

I know that many may deem it a stretch when comparing the US pricing with that of India, but I feel it matters in the case of Pixel 8a. The US price of the 8a remains unmoved at $499 which is the same as the Pixel 7a’s launch price. However, India saw a whopping Rs 9,000 price hike for the Pixel 8a compared to the 7a.

Sure, the 8a features a better display and 7 years of updates. But you have to be considerate in a price-sensitive market such as India, where people are obsessed with numbers.

It’s a running joke among the Indian tech community where people say “Now the waiting game begins”. That’s because Google drops the prices of their latest Pixels within months of launch as they don’t sell that well which itself is due to the initial pricing.

The graphs above reflect the price drops of Pixel 6a and 7a. The 6a (left) and 7a (right) prices dropped by almost 22% in just a few months. It’s exactly the reason why Pixels do not retain even half of their value a year after its launch, since Google almost always drops the price in just a few months.

In the current state, buyers wouldn’t wait for the Pixel 8a price drop because it’s been a while since the Pixel 8 launched. And the day is not far when Pixel 8 starts selling for less than the Pixel 8a. Or, it’s also possible that Google discontinues the vanilla Pixel 8 altogether.

Why Is Pricing an Issue? Will Google Counter It?

The Indian government imposes an 18% import tax on smartphones imported from China, which is the case with Pixels. This significantly increases the price of Pixels in India. And that’s precisely why Google plans to start assembling Pixels in India; although, it’s been a while since we last heard an update.

That would’ve been the case with the earlier models too, and yet the Pixel 7a and 6a didn’t see a price increase. There might be something that we’re missing out here. But as you see it, the pricing shouldn’t have increased considering the US price remained the same.

The issue remains that Google is pricing its devices way above competitors who offer better specifications at lower prices. You could argue that the Pixels have cameras and software like none other. While that’s true right now, there’s only so much software and cameras can do to fix persistent issues like overheating and bad cellular connectivity.

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

I love Pixels and the tiny quirks the Pixel UI offers to enhance user experience. But the overinflated India pricing combined with the lack of Pixel-exclusive features in India which are the face of Pixels internationally were some of the reasons why I switched to the OnePlus 12R.

Google needs to address these issues because we’ve reached a point where it’s hard to justify the higher price for better cameras and AI features. There’s also the likelihood that we may not see more “budget” devices from Google in the future, as it may kill the A series after launching three Pixel 9 this year.

What are your thoughts on the Pixel 8a pricing? Will you still be buying one? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments 12
  • Bhags says:

    All this is without even mentioning the fact that the 9000 price hike is for the 128gb model. There is a 7000 price hike over that for the 256gb model which is just ridiculous. We can find way better phones perfomance wise, with larger and faster storage, better displays, better thermals, etc for far lower prices. No idea what Google is thinking. I bet when they move the production into India they will keep this jacked price and say that they didn’t increase because of the move. Pathetic.

  • Vibhor Relan says:

    When you say it’s more expensive than it’s existing competitors, which brands are you talking about? I have the same question with the technical aspects as well. Samsung and Apple don’t seem expensive to you? The build quality or pixel phones is as good as them. So what is the reason for trashing pixel phones? I have a modest pixel 4a, and it’s one of the best phones I have used.

    • Abubakar Mohammed says:

      The OnePlus 12R, a few iQOO devices like the Neo 9 Pro and 12 are all way better devices than the Pixel 8a. This is not “trashing” as many are labeling it. The points we mentioned in the article are facts, hard-hitting facts that tell you that the 8a is ridiculously overpriced for what it is. We never mentioned Pixel build quality is trash.

  • Android says:

    Pixel is overpriced

  • Rikun says:

    Pixel is for people who can afford to buy it. It is pure class and for people who understand AI. Not for chapris who prefer iPhone/OnePlus over a class

    • Abubakar Mohammed says:

      Whatever makes you sleep at night, I guess. If you still feel like bringing genuine criticism about the article on the table, you are still welcome.

  • Manoj Jain says:

    I have a Pixel 6a currently, bought open box from the US for only around 16.5k, so the price is not an issue. But the way the phone heats up during normal use, including plain calls, is ridiculous, it is essentially an unusable phone in the Indian summer at any price point.

  • Nitish Kumar says:

    Dont take google lightely. They have all the data with Indians search hits to convince them it is the right pricing. Trust me. They know way more than us.

  • nishant says:

    they don’t bother about India, we don’t bother about Pixel. Simple. Over priced phone with grandparent era bezel

  • Kawal says:

    I will not prefer due to poor after sale support and inflated pricing… Few other raw Android phones give a good performance at a reasonable price

  • Dhairya says:

    The A in the pixel 8a stands for “A Joke” , just because of its pricing

  • Ri says:

    I would probably still buy a 8A.. But guess what.. Many of the Pixel’s touted features don’t work in India. So that’s another downer. The only way out to have any footing is to get the pricing more lucrative.

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