Some of you have read this headline and thought of exactly what I did when I heard this news: How hard is Google’s Pixel phone strategy to discern? After all, the company has been pretty strong in its launch cadence, adjusting things very little during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Should be simple, right? 2023 gives us the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, 2024 takes it to the 9, and 2025 goes to the 10. That would make sense, and there seems to be a discrepancy in this plan, though it’s not quite as obvious as you might be thinking.
There are obviously moving parts to deal with, and one major part will hinge on the success and/or failure of the Pixel Fold. While The Fold is a well-known entity as we move into the new year, the sequels and offshoots of that phone are somewhat unknown at this point.
According to a leak obtained by Android Authority, the fate of any potential Pixel Fold follow-up devices will depend entirely on market reception of the first device. If it’s that good, maybe a second fold will follow and it looks like Google has an appetite for even a vertically folding clamshell style take, too – similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip.
Obviously, this part of the roadmap is fraught with questions and unknowns at the moment. 2023 will give us the data needed to control whether or not Google continues down the foldable phone path in the future. For what it’s worth, I hope they give this at least a couple of tries before throwing in the towel. First generation products are hard to get right, and this part of foldable phones is one that will take years to solidify. I hope this thought is the way forward.
The pixel sizes closely match Apple’s
The other interesting part of this leak is the apparent intention by Google to use a slightly different strategy going forward with the sizes of their phones. With the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, it looks like most things will remain the same with only a small change in the Pixel 8 standard. According to the leak, the Pixel 8 will shrink a bit more than the Pixel 7 and both phones will come with smaller sizes. Equipped with – no shock here – Tensor G3.
With the Pixel 9 in 2024, things seem to be changing. With the Pixel 9, there are likely to be 3 phones: one standard and two Pro models. This way, Google will copy Apple’s setup as you get all the Pro features in not only the largest phone, but a smaller version as well. The standard Pixel 9 will likely be the same as the Pixel 6, 7, and 8 before it, leaving the other two phones to get hardware upgrades and different sizes: 6.7 inches for the larger Pro and 6.3 inches for the smaller. .
What about the Pixel A series?
The leak included some interesting tidbits about the Pixel A-Series as well. We know the Pixel 7a is on its way to early summer, but based on sales of that phone, Google may be looking at a two-year cycle for A-series devices. Like Apple (again) and their iPhone SE, this would only make Google launch its more affordable machines every two years instead of every summer.
If the price stays lower, I assume I understand the move. But the Pixel 6 can now be bought cheap and is only a year old. Longer software support cycles and last year’s Pixel push seem to be a better move for those looking for a bargain. However, I know the SE strategy works for Apple and the Series A has done the same with Google, so I imagine it will stick around one way or another.
A final note on plans for 2025
Finally, there is a bit of a wait-and-see approach looming for 2025. If Google moves forward on the clamshell foldable Pixel, the Pixel 10 lineup will emulate the Pixel 9 series. If not, Google plans to move to 2025 4Pixel models: Large and small in both professional and non-professional models. Again, this matches what Apple is currently doing, so we could see something like the Pixel 10, Pixel 10 XL, Pixel 10 Pro, and Pixel 10 XL Pro. I’m making these names up, but you get the gist.
Overall, I think this strategy will be great to watch as it unfolds. For me personally, I’m interested in the Pixel Fold idea at this point. My only real fear with this upcoming phone is the thought that I get it, I love it, and Google cancels it. I hope it’s great, enough people try it out to keep following the form factor, and that I move on to the foldable phone life and never look back.
For the Pixel 8, 9, and 10, I think more Pro sizes are warranted and will sell well. Google seems to be in it for the long haul at this point, and their phones just keep getting better. Capturing market share over Apple and Samsung is tough, but if Google continues to make solid hardware paired with the best software at great prices, I think they’ll keep chipping away at it.
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