Sunday, December 3, 2023

Pixel 6a challenges Samsung for the default Android crown

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The year 2022 heralded a strong revival for Samsung, thanks to compelling devices and an invincible software update cycle, a combination that earns them the default Android status. But it looks like Google’s Pixel 6 is ready to derail that exalted train.

In fact, Google is pursuing the same formula that makes the iPhone SE a popular choice – a fast processor, a reliable camera and polished software – all at half the price of its entry points. Despite a number of glaring omissions and characteristic downsides compared to rivals, Apple has still managed to move millions of units, especially in a segment of users who chase the boasted iPhone ecosystem experience on a budget.

With the Pixel 6, Google aims to offer a similar mix of a state-of-the-art processor, a pair of reliable cameras, fast mmWave 5G connectivity, and clean software that will receive software updates for at least the next five years. All for just $ 450. Of course, concessions were made. The 3.5mm headphone jack has disappeared, and there is also no scope for storage expansion.

This time around, Google isn’t bringing the flagship Pixel’s camera hardware to the budget A-series phones, as it has done in the past, so it exists as well. But the rough consensus so far, at least among experts and excited buyers in Google’s home market, is that the Pixel 6 is a winner from the start, and that doesn’t bode well for the Samsung phone charger in the U.S. market.

Aiming for Samsung’s crown

It’s obvious that Google is achieving iPhone SE-like glory, but the real threat comes from Samsung. Take for example Samsung’s own $ 450 mid-range champion Galaxy A53 5G, which is almost an antithesis to what the Pixel VI and what it may or may not offer.

The Galaxy A53 5G beats its rival from Google by offering a 120Hz OLED display, a versatile four-camera array led by a high-resolution 64-megapixel primary sensor, a larger 5,000 mAh battery that supports faster charging, and a range for storage expansion up. up to 1 terabyte. Most, if not all, are crucial features that smartphone buyers actually care about. In addition, Samsung’s promise to offer five years of software updates is in line with what Google aims to do with its latest phone.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G in blue.
Samsung Galaxy A53 in Awesome Blue Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

But Pixel 6 relies more on the moss offered by the Tensor patch inside, modest camera hardware backed by the Pixel legacy, a slightly smaller footprint with a sleeker design and a clean Android experience with significant exclusive features. But at the end of the day, the question is, which Android phone is the best choice for $ 450? Well, in 2022, the Pixel VI sounds like the best choice.

Of course, aggressive companies and discounts will still allow Samsung to sell a healthy number of Galaxy A53 5G units, but it will no longer be the default $ 450 for an Android phone on the shelf. That is a strong statement in itself. If the Pixel VI can save itself from the legacy of bugs from its more expensive siblings and predecessors, there’s hardly a reason for buyers to look elsewhere.

This is maximum Pixel energy.

Yes, Motorola and TCL are also trying to make a mark, but they are nowhere near the reputation of the $ 450 big boys this year. It’s a shame that the Pixel 6 won’t hit the shelves any time soon, giving rivals plenty of time to come up with even stronger challengers to shrink the breathing room for Google in the budget smartphone segment.

But more than eliminating rivals and capturing some sweet market share, the Pixel 6 is also trying to serve as the stepping stone for an innovative ecosystem of connected products. It’s long overdue, but time seems ripe and Google isn’t playing scary either, revealing 2023 device plans in 2022 itself to give a taste of what it has in the pipeline for Android loyalists and potential converts in the immediate future.

Archive of the gap to build an ecosystem

Google’s budget phones have historically made some big concessions to keep the asking price in check. Take for example recent excursions like the Pixels 5 and 4, both of which had awful screen specifications, a damn plastic build, a slow load, and a handful of bugs. The Pixel VI improves on all these shortcomings. But more than repeated updates, it fills that gap for a satisfying phone at a delicious price.

Return of the pixel clock

So far, the “good Pixel” experience has only hovered around $ 800 and beyond, but the Pixel 6 almost halves that financial requirement. And at the center of it all is the Tensor chip. Google is dipping into the oversupply of its Tensor chip, which is not only pushing the Pixel 6 directly into the premier performance, but also unlocking a lot of new capabilities that have remained exclusive to high-end Pixel phones.

But the savings offered by the Pixel 6 allow buyers to go to Google’s budding product ecosystem, which now includes headphones, an upcoming smartwatch, and a tablet coming next year. It also helps that the sacrifices made by Pixel VI will not have a significant impact on how the connected ecosystem products act in terms of responsibility or functionality.

For potential buyers of Pixel 6 or Pro who don’t really care about high megapixel cameras, Pixel 6 offers a wonderful way to save money and invest the rest in Google’s other products and services. Google’s strategy is almost as incisive as Apple’s, and if the ecosystem products actually turn out to be good, the one-two punch delivered by the Pixel 6 can really push forward Google’s hardware ambitions.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, but the opportunity is here. All Google needs to do is compromise, and not waste it all over again, as it has abandoned the Android tablet case and continues to revisit it with half-hearted ambitions from time to time.

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