Could Google finally bring a cheaper Pixel phone to Kenya and other emerging markets this 2019?

Google Pixel 3

Apparently, it seems so, but I think our Kenyan readers shouldn’t get their hopes too high on this, at least for now.

According to a report by Nikkei Asian Review, Google is working on a cheaper version of its premium Pixel line of phones targeting developing markets and the price-sensitive smartphone buyers in general.

While it’s easy to think of Kenya whenever the phrases “developing markets” and “price-sensitive” pop up, there is no guarantee that the said budget Google Pixel phone will come to the country on the first attempt. In fact, it’s likely that Google is targeting mostly the Indian market alongside a bunch of other markets in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Nonetheless, the Nikkei report seems to corroborate previous rumors about a certain Google Pixel 3 Lite smartphone that is said to be in the works with an expected launch somewhere in the first half of 2019. But once again, we’ve seen nothing that seems to suggest the said Pixel 3 Lite handset would be sold in the country if it does materialize.

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Google makes phones?

To some of our readers, the sound of a Google-made smartphone seems strange. For the uninitiated, the search giant has been in the smartphone business for years now. Initially, it had the Nexus line of phones, where Google would simply pick an OEM like Motorola, Huawei or LG and ask them to make a phone, but the big G takes care of the software side of things.

This model gave us great devices such as the Motorola Nexus 6, LG Nexus 5X and Huawei Nexus 6P, but things changed beginning 2016, where the search giant decided to abandon this model and instead work on its own hardware, thus introducing the Google Pixel line of phones. The latest model is the Google Pixel 3, which was unveiled in October 2018.

During its short period of existence, the Google Pixel phone has become popular for its great photography skills thanks to the impressive work the company is doing with the software. The phones are also the best when it comes to software updates, promising their timely arrival as well as a support window of up to three years, the longest for any Android device. For fans of stock Android, there is no better offering out there than the Pixel phones.

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Limited availability

One little problem with the Pixel phones is their availability across the globe. The phones are mostly known to folks in North America and a few other regions in Europe and Asia where the company has established distribution channels. In Kenya, Africa and other developing markets in general, getting hold of these phones can be an extreme sport that is also very costly, sometimes even nearly doubling the recommended retail price of the device.

See below example of the total cost of shipping a 64GB Pixel 3 phone into the country from the U.S.

Avechi invoice for global shopping

If the Nikkei report materializes, things might be about to change this 2019, where more developing markets, not necessarily Kenya included, will be able to buy the Google Pixel ‘Lite’ locally and at an affordable price.

Here’s to hoping Kenya will be among the markets to get the cheaper Google Pixel phone when it arrives later this year.

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