Google unveils first 5G phones, cuts price on base Pixel model

A sign is pictured outs a Google offcie near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California
FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outs a Google offcie near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dave Paresh

August 3, 2020

(Reuters) – Google’s first 5G-enabled phones, Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, will be available this fall at a starting price of $499, the Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O> unit said on Monday.

The company also cut the starting price for its smartphone lineup with a non-5G version of 4a priced at $349, looking to broaden its appeal among budget-conscious customers.

Like Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, which launched a smaller iPhone priced at $399 this April, Google’s budget-priced smartphone reflects reaching out to consumers who have been hit by the coronavirus-led economic downturn.

Google’s lower-priced devices have been top sellers, but are far from being major profit drivers. Higher-priced devices have gained little traction versus those from industry leaders such as Samsung Electronics Co <005930.KS> and Apple because of limited marketing and stiff competition.

This week, Samsung is expected to unveil new flagship smartphones, including the Galaxy Note and a foldable phone, as well as expand sales of mid-tier models, aiming to fend off competition from China’s Huawei, which recently snatched the title of biggest smartphone seller in the second quarter.

Google’s non-5G Pixel 4a will start $50 lower than what was previously the cheapest Pixel phone available, the 3a, which is being retired.

The pandemic had derailed the search giant’s original launch dates for 4a, which will now be available for delivery from Aug. 20 in the United States.

Google said its 5G models will be available in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Australia.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sriraj Kalluvila)