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Google reportedly working on a cheaper Pixel phone for "different markets"

A new report claims Google is working on a "Pixel 2B" phone, which would be cheaper than the next version of its Pixel flagship for "different markets".
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January 26, 2017

Despite launching three months ago, sales of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL have continued to exceed the current supplies of the smartphone. Indeed, the Pixel XL is currently shown as “out of stock” on the Google Store site with no word on when new units will be available. So it’s not a shock to read internet rumors about the company developing an upcoming “new and improved’ Pixel 2. What is a bit surprising are the rumors that Google might also be working on a cheaper Pixel-branded phone as well.

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According to the report from 9to5Google, Google has been testing prototypes for something that’s code-named “Pixel 2B”. If this phone is released, it would reportedly have lower-end hardware compared to the high-end “Pixel 2” and would be priced lower than the main flagship. The idea is to sell the Pixel 2B in emerging markets. This phone would be launched either with, or just after, the Pixel 2. No other details about this Pixel 2B, such as exact pricing or hardware specs, were mentioned in this report.

That sounds an awful lot like the Android One program, which Google started to help launch low-end smartphones from third-parties in emerging markets. Android One’s major selling point was that devices in the line would run on stock Android software and therefore would get updated on a regular basis. Recent rumors claim that Google will help launch a third-party Android One phone in the US later this year, bringing the Android One program to new regions.  Could the Pixel 2B end up being a first-party member of the Android One family? Obviously it’s too early to say for sure, but it would certainly be an interesting move and a way to bring increased momentum to the Android One program.

This same story also claims the higher-end Pixel 2 is currently being tested with new chips from two manufacturers (Qualcomm and Intel), and that the device’s camera will be getting some improvements aimed at further mastering low-light.

Quite honestly, it should be expected that the Pixel 2 will have upgrades in both of these features compared to the first-generation Pixel and and Pixel XL. However, 9to5Google does say that the Pixel 2 could get “at least” a $50 price increase as well. We just hope that Google will be able to make enough of them to keep up with the expected demand, as it has definitely failed to do with the first-generation Pixel. It would also be nice if they would not be locked as a Verizon Wireless carrier exclusive in the US.

What do you think about the prospect of Google launching a cheaper “Pixel 2B”? Do you think the company wants to please former Nexus fans who want a cheaper first-party phone from Google? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!