Google Reportedly Planning Cheaper Smartphone to Bring Users into Its Ecosystem

Google will reportedly release a cheaper smartphone in a bit to drive users to its services.

According to a new report from Nikkei Asian Review, Google is planning to launch its first lower-priced smartphone at some point this year in an aggressive hardware push to bring users into its ecosystem.

It’s reported Google’s new phone will be its first non-high-priced model for price-sensitive consumers and emerging-market users, and its price is expected to be lower than the Apple iPhone XR, which costs $749 USD. In comparison, Google’s latest smartphone model, the Pixel series launched in October last year, was priced at $799 USD. But the price of mid- to high-end smartphones varies between $150-700 USD, and the price of low-end smartphones is less than $150.

“The new phone will be the spearhead of Google’s drive to expand the hardware using its operating systems,” reads the report. “New products planned for this year include smart speakers, wearables and web cameras, sources familiar with the company’s plans told the Nikkei Asian Review. Google also plans to launch a new premium phone in its Pixel range, as usual.”

Google is also expanding its hardware ambitions, acquiring talent from Apple as well as expanding its production partnerships across the Asian continent. Over the past couple of years, Google has hired hundreds of former Apple hardware engineers and supply chain specialists, reads the report.

In the global smartphone market, Google’s share is quite low. IDC’s data shows that in 2018, the Pixel series sold 4.68 million units only, with a market share of only 0.33%. In 2017, these two figures were 3.45 million and 0.2%, respectively.

Overall, Google’s aggressive expansion will allow the company to drive more users to its services, say analysts.

“Google … sees it as a more direct way to collect user data and make its flagship software and internet services a bigger and more integral part of people’s everyday lives,” said Joey Yen, an analyst at IDC. “Google’s hardware push will make it difficult for people to live without Google’s services and ecosystem … That’s the big picture the internet giant always has in mind.”