Don't expect a budget Google Pixel phone anytime soon

Google Pixel 7a review back angled sticky notes
The Pixel 7a: cheap, but not really cheap (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Google Pixel 8 and the Google Pixel 8 Pro have now launched, and the Google Pixel 8a could be with us sometime next year – but what are the chances of a truly budget phone to round out the Pixel series? Pretty slim, it sounds like.

VP of Google Mobile Business Nanda Ramachandran told Der Standard (via Android Police) that there are currently no plans for a low-cost Google Pixel phone. According to Ramachandran, it would involve too many compromises along the way.

If you take the Google Pixel 7a, for example, it still features the Tensor G2 chip inside the Google Pixel 7 Pro, so you're not losing anything in terms of processor performance, despite the cheaper price.

Ramachandran also goes on the record to say that the Pixel series is going to be expanding into more markets in Europe and Asia, with the aim of getting the brand more widely recognized – and of course boosting sales at the same time.

The price is right

With the Pixel 7a coming in at a starting retail price of $499 / £449 / AU$749, there's not that much lower to go – but as you can see from our list of the best budget phones, you can pick up a smartphone for significantly less than the Pixel 7a.

There has actually been a price jump between the Pixel 7 series and the Pixel 8 series, reflected in the improvements to the internal specs, the camera systems, and the extended seven years of support for software and security updates.

The new phones are also packed with AI wizardry, and cutting back on those features to reach a price that's somewhere around a third of what the Pixel 8 costs wouldn't make sense for Google right now, according to Ramachandran.

Google has a strong track record when it comes to its mid-range handsets, which do a decent job of balancing pricing against features – they cost significantly less without too many compromises – so we're interested to see what the Pixel 8a will bring.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.