While Google has not explicitly mentioned the reason behind the decision of not bringing the Pixel 4 devices in India, it is largely because of the restrained spectrum of wavelengths that Soli uses for motion detection.
In what comes as a surprising move, Google has decided to junk the launch of Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL in India. The new Pixel smartphones are loaded with many features, including the new Motion Sense technology powered by the Soli chip. While Google has not explicitly mentioned the reason behind the decision of not bringing the Pixel 4 devices in India, it is largely because of the restrained spectrum of wavelengths that Soli uses for motion detection. Moreover, there could be one more reason in the hindsight – the lacklustre sale of Pixel phones as compared with the Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, and iPhone smartphones.
In a statement to FE Tech, Google spokesperson said, “Google has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features. We decided not to make Pixel 4 available in India. We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India.”
The decision to ditch the Pixel 4 for Indian market comes close on the heels of the recently concluded Google for India event, where the Mountain View-headquartered company made a slew of announcements specifically for the Indian users, including some of the pilot programmes. The investment made by Google into its software R&D for Indian consumers speaks volumes but it’s an opposite picture for the company’s hardware portfolio.
Earlier in May, Google introduced watered-down versions of its popular Pixel 3 series to cater to price-sensitive markets such as India. Pixel 3a was launched in India at Rs 39,999 – a price bracket that is dominated by OnePlus, as per Counterpoint Research survey for Q1 2019, for its highly-acclaimed smartphones. The sub-Rs 40,000 price category has lately seen a multitude of smartphone launches where performance overshadows the ‘premium’ brand equity. While Google has not shared the number of Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL units it sold in India, it recently discounted the two devices for as much as Rs 10,000 during the festive sale season on Flipkart to entice customers.
Moving a little away from how well Google has done in India’s smartphone market, the bigger question that looms over the unavailability of Pixel 4 in India is the restriction of wave spectrum. Soli, the chipset that powers the radar sensor sitting at the top of the Pixel 4, leverages the 60GHz band to read aerial gestures of the user’s body parts. In the US and some other countries, the 60GHz spectrum is unlicensed, which means it is free for anyone to use. In India, on the other hand, the spectrum is licensed for military and other restricted activities carried out securely by the government. It is not available for commercial or consumptive purposes by companies.
Google website mentions that the Motion Sense feature will only work in the US, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, and European countries. It will also work in Japan but only after some time in 2020. India is not a part of the list. When roaming to an unsupported country, Motion Sense “won’t work”.
The only product making its way to India is the Nest Mini 2nd-generation. Google Store in India has listed the Nest Mini 2nd-generation on the website with an option to “join waiting list”. The price of the Nest Mini 2nd-generation has not been revealed in India as of writing the article.