However, the Pixel 6a won’t be coming to India any time soon. AND tweet from Google India after the main speech, Google I / O vaguely mentions “later this year” as the launch timeline. The situation is not much different also in other dozen markets, including the United States, where the phone is in July. But it’s still an improvement over the Pixel 5a, which was never made available outside of Japan and the US due to supply chain constraints during the pandemic.
Latency can actually be good (for Google)
In 2020, the Pixel 4a’s debut in India was also a few months behind the US. Google set a time to tap into the mega-sales that occurred in the weeks leading up to Diwali, but the company was struggling to keep up with high demand. Retailers tend to earn a large portion of their annual phone sales during the Diwali season, and this could give Google the boost it so desperately needs in the Indian market.
Assuming Google has similar plans this time around, the Pixel 6a could go live in early October. But that’s nothing more than an implication, and with how volatile supply chains have been lately, it takes a lot of things to get a Pixel phone on time. Interestingly, recently a tipster tweeted that the Indian edition may coincide with the US edition, i.e.. to the end of July.
But this delay of several months also has some drawbacks. The enthusiasm of potential buyers will fade over time. And with how fast the local smartphone industry is operating, there will be a ton of options to choose from in a few months’ time. The ability of Chinese smartphone manufacturers to adapt quickly and react to any changes in the market, which this time is the Pixel 6a, cannot be overlooked.
The advantage of pixels
No matter how quickly your competitors respond to mid-tier Google offers, there are certain things Pixel would do better every day. Mid-range phones take good photos in daylight, but tend to fight in low light. But Pixels, even the a-series, shines in all scenarios. And the 6a even gets all the tricks of a more expensive sibling’s AI-enabled camera that positions the phone in a unique way.
Pixel’s pure software also stands out against heavily laden skins from competitors. Motorola is the only other brand to offer a similarly structured operating system, but its update commitment lags behind Google’s Day One update. The benchmark that Pixel phones have set could possibly even push other brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi to step up their game to offer better and continuous software support.
But that’s not even the best part. With Google’s custom Tensor chip hitting the budget segment, the new Pixel 6a is on par with the Pixel 6 Pro and other flagships in terms of performance. This puts it up against the iPhone SE – no outdated design.
It will take a long time to beat brands such as Xiaomi and Realme, which have a strong presence in the Indian market. But with everything Google’s new budget phone brings to the table, if any Pixel has a shot at making it in India, it’s the Pixel 6a.
When price matters – a lot
Those who follow the Indian smartphone market know that the price segments work a little different here. A phone that costs over 40,000 JPY (~ $ 520) is considered premium, and the Pixel 6a’s price including taxes is quite close to that mark. Hence, it becomes crucial for Google to stay below that number to make the Pixel 6a profitable for buyers.
Fortunately for Google, the 30,000 to 40,000 yen price range is expanding in this country, even though most of the sales are made in the lower segments. Increased consumer interest has led to the fact that all large companies offer dozens of good options. But most of these phones are missing the great overall experience shoppers in this segment crave – the experience offered by the Google Pixel 6a.
However, not everything is pink for Google, as Apple is looking at the same price range. Armed with locally produced products (resulting in lower taxes), the heavily discounted iPhone 12 and 11 series were among the best-selling during last year’s Diwali rush. While Google can still distract buyers from other Android phone brands relatively easily, competing with Apple can prove to be a difficult task, especially when iPhones have aspirational value.
India has never been a priority market for Google hardware. No Pixel flagship has hit the country since the Pixel 3, the new Chromecast has yet to hit it here, and Amazon Echo speakers routinely outperform Google’s home speakers.
Despite all these opportunities and limited local availability in various categories, Google still managed to create a hype around the Pixel 6 in India – a phone that wasn’t officially offered in that country. Some die-hard Pixel fans buy imported devices here from local dealers without any warranty, just to have a phone that isn’t made by one of the major brands. Even Amazon.in has the phone put up by a third-party seller, and the price isn’t too low for the suggested US retail price.
The sales figures for these imported units are obviously not high, but the fact that they are doing so is a hallmark that Indians have an appetite for Pixel phones. Last year’s Pixel 6 series aroused positive reception among buyers in India, and its attractiveness reached even beyond a small circle of enthusiasts. Whether or not Google will be able to profit from it will depend solely on one factor – the price. If Google can get it right, the Pixel 6a could be a hit, but if not, then Google will lose, not the buyer.
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