Android 12 is officially out of the bag and it has enough to make people want to try it. The radical new “Material You” design language gives it a much-needed fresh coat of paint while some meaningful updates to privacy make it more desirable among those who love data privacy. In fact, if you want to try it early, the Beta 1 version is available for Pixel users to try.
However, with Android 12 getting modernized, it now brings focus on Google’s Pixel lineup. If you have been following Pixel-related news lately, Google is apparently restricting the Pixel 5a for US and Japan this year, while the older Pixel 4a is Google’s only offering in major markets like India. Moreover, Google hasn’t sold a truly flagship-grade phone in 2020 that competes with the best of Android.
That brings us to the question: what’s happening with the Pixel phones and are we going to see an evolution this year?
Pixel series current status
Google hasn’t been as aggressive with the Pixel lineup as it was a few years ago. Surely, you now have a new Pixel device selling at sub-Rs 40,000 pricing but that ends up being Google’s only offering for a highly competitive market like India. What’s surprising is that Google has decided not to renew the Pixel lineup with an annual upgrade this year with a Pixel 5a on our shores!
In international markets, the Pixel 5 has impressed critics as Google’s best offering yet but it is far from being outright powerful as its predecessors. The Pixel 4a 5G is an affordable version of the same but is outdone by similarly priced Android phones at that price.
Coming back to India, the Pixel 4a is not something that you would call impressive. Yes, we gave it a good review and were left impressed with its camera performance as well as the user experience. But a quick look at the overall package makes it undesirable in comparison everything else you can buy for a similar price.
For example, the OnePlus Nord ticks more boxes than the Pixel 4a in being a midrange Android phone. The iPhone SE might look dated but outdoes it in terms of build quality, performance and features. A Xiaomi Mi 11X at the same price offers far superior performance.
What does the Pixel series need?
At the moment, the Pixel series needs a massive revamp that Android got this year. And by massive, we mean something similar to the renders that tipster Jon Prosser shared online last week. Those renders show array of hope for the Pixel lineup.
Initially, Google needs to have a strong offering in the high-end smartphone space to take on the likes of the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21. A flagship Pixel is what Google needs to showcase the best of its newest technologies. Best-in-class cameras, great designs, a solid user experience – things that most of us expect from a high-end Pixel device.
At the same time, the affordable “a-series” Pixel phones need to keep coming for the masses. With the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a, Google took a smart step to make its phone more accessible to the masses without compromising on crucial areas. The Pixel 4a had a good display, great camera, solid user experience, and a decent battery life. It lacked in the specs department as Google is relying on a midrange Snapdragon 730G chip that you can find in a Rs 13,999 Moto G40 Fusion.
Maybe, we can expect to see Google dropping its prices further for the future versions of the Pixel a series. There’s no Pixel 5a coming here but hopes are high for a competitively priced Pixel 6a. And yes, the company needs to market its products well and improve the after-sales service. With the Material you infused Android 12, the market genuinely needs a reliable Android phone that is delightful to use.
At the moment, you can buy the Pixel 4a for close to Rs 30,000 and while it seems overpriced for what it offers, the user experience is second to none.