"Premium" Google Pixel 5 powered by Snapdragon 765G could be priced at US$699: Is Google shooting itself in the foot or is the pricing just about right?
The Google Pixel 5 may be cheaper than the current Pixel 4 by US$100 if a recent Google Opinion Rewards survey is anything to go by. The survey asked users what would their choice be if a Google Pixel phone and a Premium Google Pixel Phone were the only options available. The Google Pixel phone was indicated as having a price tag of US$349 (US$14.54 per month) implying that this could very well be the Pixel 4a that is slated to launch in the coming weeks. The Premium Google Pixel Phone, on the other hand, was shown to be priced at US$699 (US$29.13 per month) and this is very well likely to be the upcoming Pixel 5.
A Pixel 4a priced at US$349 could offer an excellent alternative to what is probably the best budget smartphone at this time, the US$399 Apple iPhone SE (2020). The more interesting part, however, is the US$699 pricing for the Pixel 5. At this price, the Pixel 5 definitely undercuts most flagship Android offerings available. But here's the catch. The Pixel 5 is rumored to sport just a Snapdragon 765G 5G and not the flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC, which would lead many to consider it as an upper mid-range device and not a true flagship.
Further evidence that the Pixel 5 will be powered by the Snapdragon 765 comes via XDA Senior Member cstark27. While analyzing the pre-installed EUICCGoogle APK in Android 11 Developer Preview 4, cstark27 discovered that the APK was updated with a reference to Google's upcoming devices as evidenced by the presence of a new line in the "modem_model_mappings_json" string pointing to a "g7250" modem. The reference to this g7250 modem implies that the SoC could be a Snapdragon 765, 765G, or the 768G as all three are pin and software compatible.
Android Police Editor-in-Chief David Ruddock also claimed on Twitter that his sources confirmed that the Pixel 5 would indeed be powered by the Snapdragon 765 and that there would be no Google phone with a top-tier CPU this year.
With increasing evidence pointing to an upper mid-range SoC for the Pixel 5, is Google right in pricing the device at US$699? Yes and no. Yes, when compared to previous Pixels but no when compared to the competition. While most popular Android flagships including the OnePlus 8 are on par or above this price, they also feature flagship SoCs and possibly larger batteries than the Pixel 5 would offer. Heck, even the much cheaper Poco F2 Pro outclasses the Pixel 5 in terms of sheer specifications. However, the Pixel will always have the advantage of better cameras and a robust stock Android experience.
At a US$699 price, the Pixel 5 would also have to face competition from the Apple camp particularly from the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 is powered by the A13 Bionic — a vastly more powerful SoC than anything that the Android camp offers. The iPhone 11, however, loses out on areas such as the display (it is still a great LCD panel) and the lack of a telephoto lens. The upcoming iPhone 12 will further widen the performance gap, offer much improved cameras, and may even retail at a lower US$649 price point for the base model with 128 GB storage.
It is still early days to speculate on how exactly the market would respond to the Pixel 5. The sales for the Pixel 4 haven't really been encouraging with only two million units being sold in the first six months. The overall experience matters more than just mere specs, and Google definitely has perfected this art over the past few years. That being said, with the increasing proliferation of Android flagship killers and Apple's new found trend of competitive pricing, Google will have to offer enough differentiation to make the Pixel 5 stand out from the crowd either in terms of features or via further reductions in price.