2020 is a strange year for the world of technology, and the Pixel 5 is probably the best testament to that weirdness. While manufacturers often make later products better than their predecessors, the Pixel 5 launches with only the Snapdragon 765G processor, which is used on mid-range / high-end phones like the Vsmart Aris Pro. An unimaginable scenario happened with the Pixel smartphone: in terms of performance, the Pixel 5 is even worse than the Pixel 4, as the Snapdragon 765G is significantly weaker than the Snapdragon 855 from last year. After the first 4 generations of Google, Pixel 5 will be the first high-end pixel model to launch with mid-range processor instead of the high-end “top 8” Snapdragon.
Another noteworthy “rebound” is the front-facing camera: once a central feature of the Pixel 4, the Soli motion sensor has now been cut off from the Pixel 5. Google has finally stopped developing the version. XL for Pixel smartphones. The latest version has only one 6-inch size option.
Hard to believe: Pixel 5 will use a chip with weaker performance than the Snapdragon 855 on the Pixel 4.
Certainly, there will be no other giants developing products in a “backward fashion” like Google. So what are Android bosses real goals?
“Hit” directly on iPhone 11
To understand Google’s change in strategy, we first need to look back at the true purpose of the Pixel smartphone lineup. In the first 3 years, Pixel was in the high-end segment with the price from 700 USD. In 2019, Google just launched the Pixel 3a at $ 400. Last June, the Pixel 4a launched at a cheaper price point – $ 350. The newly launched Pixel 5 will start at $ 700 while the 5G version of the Pixel 4a will sell for $ 500.
With the current product portfolio, Google does not consider itself a direct competitor to other Android brands, whose average selling price is only about $ 250 (Samsung) or $ 120 (Xiaomi). Google’s chosen opponent is Apple, who has been selling only mid-range and high-end products from the very beginning.
Google needs to by all means bring the Pixel price down to par with the world’s best-selling smartphone this year.
Looking at Apple this year, you’ll quickly realize the first reason for Google’s sudden change. In the first half of the year, Apple’s three best-selling iPhone models were iPhone 11 ($ 700), iPhone SE ($ 400) and iPhone XR ($ 600). IPhone 11 alone has sales of up to 37.7 million units in 6 months, higher than all the next 3 competitors (Galaxy A51 and 2 Redmi models) combined. The fact that the “low-end” iPhone models surpassed the iPhone 11 Pro in sales shows that price has really become an important factor in the segment that was previously reserved only for wealthy users.
At the same time, the demand for communication and working over mobile networks has increased, making 5G a must. Since the Snapdragon 865 is the world’s leading chip in terms of performance and since Qualcomm is also almost “monopolizing” the 5G chip, choosing the highest Snapdragon chip will certainly make Pixel prices higher than last year. It would be impossible to lower the price to “hit” Apple.
The Snapdragon 765 is becoming the easiest option for Google: it has 5G and is cheap enough for Google to lower its starting price to $ 700 for the Pixel 5 or $ 500 for the Pixel 4a 5G. Of course, the price comes at the cost of much lower performance than the Pixel 4.
But does this really matter to Google users?
As the name implies, the most important element on a Pixel smartphone has never been the high-end Snapdragon chip.
Probably not. As confirmed by the CEO of Google last year, the decision to launch a cheap Pixel 3a has helped Pixel smartphone sales “double” over the same period in 2018. Compared with the Pixel 4, Pixel 3a has a much weaker configuration. But it packs in most of the Pixel 4’s camera features. Obviously, a large number of Google users are more concerned with overall user experience and camera quality than # 1 performance, which is only really available This means certain games / apps.
This mentality is not unique to Pixel users. While the iPhone 11 has the exact same configuration as the iPhone SE, sales of the iPhone “rabbit ears” are still higher than the SE using the old 4.7-inch screen. Or, the use of Exynos chips that have inferior performance to Snapdragon in many markets still cannot prevent Samsung from taking the No. 2 position in the high-end segment, behind only Apple.
OnePlus, a name associated with the configuration dumping trend, recently also chose 765G for the $ 400 Nord model. The overall trend shows that the spec-heavy sentiment is fading, especially in the price segment of the Pixel. It makes sense to opt for weaker, cheaper chips – IF Google can still convince users to buy the Pixel.
Configuration is not the most important competitive factor in the high-end segment.
Unique Pixel values
So what are users attracted to the Pixel? As you probably know, referring to the Pixel is not referring to the configuration, but to mention the extremely “myth” computational photography features.
With previous Pixel generations, Google was able to create bokeh images from a single, digital zoom camera with horizontal optical zoom quality, which could apply HDR to the frame itself. The Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4a) continue this strength when it comes to capturing portraits in low light. It sounds simple, but this feature demonstrates Google’s superior computational photography: except for the hardware giant, no other giant has yet to combine both the bokeh algorithm and the spending increase algorithm. details in the same photo.
Even the processing of these algorithms is done on the ISP chip designed by Google itself (Pixel Visual Core), not on Snapdragon. Should the Pixel continue to use the most expensive chips, or should Google cut the cost of chips and focus more on what made the Pixel’s name – which didn’t require the Snapdragon 865?
The Pixel 5 is the first phone that can incorporate bokeh in night photography.
Apparently, Google’s key appeal comes from Android, from the “computing” camera, not the hardware components. And that’s why Google can expect the Pixel 5 to retain the same appeal as the Pixel 4, even without having the most powerful chip on the market.