Borrowing a page from Chinese smartphone makers' book, Google is said to be working on affordable smartphones aimed at emerging markets.
The software giant has failed to make an impact with its three generations of Pixel smartphones. An IDC report stated Google had shipped 4.68 million units of Pixel smartphones in 2018. Although it’s higher than Google’s 2017 shipments of 3.45 million units, it's only about 0.33% of the total market share.
For comparison, Apple shipped 46.9 million units in Q3 2018 and market leader Samsung shipped 72.2 million devices.
Although it seems like Google is a new entrant when it comes to manufacturing smartphones, it actually isn't.
It has previously made Nexus devices with hardware partners including HTC, LG and Samsung. These Nexus phones were branded as 'made by Google' and had the reputation of delivering flagship specifications at reasonable prices.
Realme, a new Chinese entrant that sells smartphones under the ₹15,000 price point quickly made through the market share in India, selling 4 million devices in less than eight months proving that there is a demand for new players in the so-called volume segment.
Coming back to the new affordable Google smartphones, these are expected to be priced much lower than Apple's cheapest flagship, the iPhone XR. It is not a long shot, as the Pixel 3 already starts at ₹64,990 while the iPhone XR starts at ₹76,990.
Google's strategy will most likely be placing a device in the same category as OnePlus or even Xiaomi's sub-brand Poco.
Google acquired HTC’s smartphone business at the start of 2018 and along with the deal, scooped its 2,000 engineers.
The software giant is also said to be poaching Apple talent, according to a Nikkei report. Nikkei says this will help increase Google's production partnerships in emerging markets including Asia.
The report also says Google hired over a hundred Apple hardware engineers and supply chain specialists.