Google Previews 5G Phones with New Google Pixel 5


Google Pixel 5

Google is entering the 5G smartphone market with its new aggressively priced Google Pixel 5 (pictured above) and Pixel 4a 5G phones. The entry-level Pixel 4a 5G is $499 and the higher-end Pixel 5 will cost $699. Both are competitive prices, considering that most 5G phones cost more than $1,000.

The new 5G-compatible Pixel phones, which Google introduced Wednesday, will ship Oct. 15. The higher-end Google Pixel 5 has a 6-inch HD+ OLED display. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor powers it. It comes with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and Google’s Titan M security chip. The phone, which has a 4080 mAh battery, is water resistant.

Google Pixel 4a

The new Google Pixel 4a 5G

While the less expensive Google Pixel 4a 5G isn’t water resistant and has a smaller battery, many features are similar. Both devices use the same processor, the Titan M security chip and new front and rear camera system. The main 16MP camera has an ultrawide angle lens, while the other camera features a 12MP duel-pixel lens. Both new Pixel phones also include improved photo editing software and enhanced HDR. Using Google’s Duo video calling app, users can share screens and content.

The Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G also introduce a new function called Hold for Me. When someone puts the caller on hold, Google Assistant will monitor it. Once the representative picks up, “Google Assistant will notify you once someone is on the line and ready to talk,” according to a post by Google VP of product management Brian Rakowski. Expanding on the recorder feature introduced with last year’s Google Pixel 4, the new phone makes it easier to edit audio. Using its transcription feature, users can edit the audio via the transcripts.

Struggling to Gain Share

While Google claims sales of its Pixel devices are on the rise, it has struggled as rivals have added lower cost smartphones. In North America, Google’s smartphones account for just slightly more than 2% in use over the past year, according to Statcounter.

“Google’s mobile hardware is moving in the right direction, but the competition may get there first,” said Avi Greengart, lead analyst at consultancy Techsponential. “Google’s position in the U.S. market was initially constrained by high prices and limited carrier availability. Google has rectified those problems and is focusing on more affordable options. The Pixel 4a is a tremendous value.”

Economic concerns have put the squeeze on smartphone pricing this year. IDC recently estimated 73% of smartphone shipments in 2020 will be those priced below $400. IDC also is forecasting 2020 smartphone sales will fall to $423 billion, a nearly 8% decline over last year’s $458 billion. While Google’s Pixel phones have become less expensive, the midtier market has become very crowded, Greengart noted. LG, Motorola and Samsung are among those that have launched new lower cost 5G phones.

Last week Samsung launched its least expensive 5G phone to date with the Samsung S20 Fan Edition, which it priced at $699. Motorola, which Google briefly owned before selling it to Lenovo in 2014, launched a less expensive 5G phone.

The Motorola One 5G phone, which features a 6.7-inch CinemaVision Full HD+ display, started shipping last week for $445. Only available from AT&T – for now – in the U.S., the carrier is offering it for $5 with a new line.

“That leaves Google in a familiar position,” Greengart said, regarding the lower-priced phones. “They’re competing on software and imaging nuances that appeal to enthusiasts but are ignored by the wider market for phones by Samsung and Apple.”

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon plan to start selling the new Google Pixel 5 on Oct. 15. The Google Pixel 4a 5G will ship first in Japan. It is scheduled for release in the U.S., Canada and six other countries in November. Google has also developed a Google Pixel 4a 5G model that is compatible with Ultra Wideband 5G networks. Verizon said it will have the Google Pixel 4a 5G UW in November. It costs $599.

Motorola Razr with 5G Now Available

Also on sale starting Friday is the new 5G-compatible Motorola Razr. Introduced last month, the redesigned Razr is an Android-based iteration of its once popular flip phone, now a foldable device. While its $1,400 price doesn’t put it in the less expensive range of phones, both AT&T and T-Mobile are offering incentives.

The new Razr includes Motorola’s “Quick View” display when folded. When open, the Razr features Motorola’s 6.2-inch “Flex View” display. It is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor as the new Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G.

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