The Pixel 3a and 3a XL will compete with smartphones from Apple, Samsung and OnePlus in the premium segment in India. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Google Pixel 3a, 3a XL To Launch In India On May 15, Prices Start At Rs 39,999

Google's cheaper variant of the Pixel smartphones—the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL—will launch in India on May 15 with prices starting at Rs 39,999.

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL will compete with smartphones from Apple, Samsung and OnePlus in the premium segment in India. The new lineup promises stellar camera features and battery life.

Speaking at the annual developers’ meet Google I/O, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said "building for everyone" is a core philosophy for the company.

By offering a more affordable lineup, Google is keen on wooing customers in emerging markets, such as India.

According to Counterpoint Research's Associate Director Tarun Pathak, the "mid-tier variant of Pixel" is expected to provide Google with "a chance to start things from scratch in some of the emerging countries like India where the premium market is small but growing fast".

"This can help Google to lock in some first-time users who are looking for premium features at affordable prices," said Pathak.

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Given that the premium smartphone market in India is expected to grow by 30 percent, the segment offers a huge potential for companies like Google.

Google had in October 2018 launched the Pixel 3 and 3XL in India, priced between Rs 71,000 and Rs 92,000. The prices of those smartphones now hover between Rs 57,000 and Rs 74,000.

In March, Samsung unveiled three smartphones—the Galaxy S10+, S10 and S10e—priced between Rs 55,900 and Rs 1.18 lakh in India as part of its flagship Galaxy S series. The base models of Apple's iPhone XR and XS are priced Rs 76,900 and Rs 99,900, respectively. Huawei has also upped its ante in the segment with the introduction of the P30 for Rs 71,990.

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China's OnePlus, which has been gaining popularity among Indian buyers, is slated to unveil its OnePlus 7 later this month.

According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung had 44 percent share of the premium smartphone market (Rs 30,000 and above) in India in January-March 2019. OnePlus had 26 percent share, and Apple 19 percent. Other players, including Google, accounted for the remaining 11 percent share.

Pixel 3a features 5.6-inch display, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage, 12.2 MP rear and 8 MP front camera, and 3,000 mAh battery. Pixel 3a XL—priced at Rs 44,999—features a larger six-inch display and 3,700 mAh battery.

The eSIM on Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will be supported by Airtel and Reliance Jio.

Google has also announced the upcoming version of its operating system—Android Q— that will support foldable displays and focuses on key areas like security and well-being.

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