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Mid-range Pixel phone part of Alphabet’s plan to break into emerging markets

Alphabet, the part company of Google, may be following the lead of Samsung, Apple, and other smartphone manufacturers. According to The Economic Times, the tech giant is rumored to be developing a mid-range Pixel smartphone specifically for emerging markets like India.

Alphabet’s latest move is a no-brainer: India is the second-largest smartphone market in the world in terms of the total number of users. While the country means big opportunity for any device manufacturer, the majority of smartphones sold in India fall firmly into budget and mid-range territory. Since the country has a per capita income of only $1,670, many Indians opt-out of purchasing flagship devices like the Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy S9.

While there are not a lot of details on the rumored mid-range Pixel, The Economic Times does suggest we will see the device in July or August. The same story states third-generation Pixel smartphones will likely be released around Diwali (November).

In addition to a mid-range Pixel, it looks as if Google may release a slew of products to India and other emerging markets throughout the year. According to The Economic Times, the company wants to aggressively pursue these emerging markets and plans to release its Pixelbook, Google Home, Google Home Mini, and a number of other Nest-branded home automation products throughout the year. The company will reportedly aggressively price its items to compete directly with Amazon, Samsung, and other manufacturers that are already established in the region.

While Alphabet appears to be eager to break into the Indian market, there will definitely be hurdles for the tech giant. The company will need to produce at least some of its products in the country since Indian law requires retailers to manufacture at least 30 percent of their products locally. While this doesn’t sound too daunting, other companies who have set up in the country have reported significant problems with bureaucracy as well as actually acquire land to build factories.

Although other companies have had difficulty setting up shop in India, Apple has successfully done so and manufactures its budget iPhone SE in the country. Additionally, two-thirds of all phones sold in India are currently manufactured domestically.

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Steven Winkelman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven writes about technology, social practice, and books. At Digital Trends, he focuses primarily on mobile and wearables…
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