In a significant boost for India’s domestic manufacturing drive, Google has followed in the footsteps of tech giants Apple and Samsung by announcing its plans to produce its latest smartphones within the country. This revelation was made during the 9th edition of the annual Google for India event and was graced by the presence of India’s Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw.
During this event, Google unveiled its intention to commence the assembly of Pixel smartphones within India, with the first device to bear the coveted “Made in India” label being the recently released Pixel 8. The move represents Google’s strategic effort to diversify its manufacturing operations beyond China, mirroring Apple’s previous endeavours in India. It underscores Google’s recognition of India as a pivotal market where it intends to concentrate its efforts for the foreseeable future.
Speaking about the development, Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services at Google, disclosed that the inaugural “Made in India” Pixel phones are slated for release in 2024. Google is actively collaborating with both domestic and international partners to realize this manufacturing initiative. While specific partner names have not been officially disclosed by Google, it has been reported that the company has engaged in discussions with prominent Indian suppliers, including Lava International Ltd, Dixon Technologies India, and Bharat FIH, the Indian subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group.
The Google Pixel 8, which is the latest addition to Google’s hardware lineup, was launched worldwide, including in India, earlier this month. It retails for Rs 75,999, while the Pixel 8 Pro is priced at Rs 1,06,999, with both models available for purchase from October 12.
Notably, Google has refrained from making an official statement regarding the pricing of its “Made in India” smartphones. However, it is worth mentioning that Pixel phone prices typically see significant reductions within six months of their initial launch. With local production, flagship Pixel 8 phones may become more accessible to a broader Indian audience.
Aside from pricing considerations, local manufacturing is expected to result in the wider availability of spare parts for Google Pixel 8 smartphones. Currently, Google has partnered with F1 for official customer support, but with only 27 F1 service centres across India catering to Pixel smartphone servicing, the local assembly is poised to enhance the support infrastructure.
In recent years, India has emerged as an appealing hub for manufacturing, not only for domestic consumption but also for exports. Minister Ashwini Vaishnav highlighted the remarkable growth in mobile manufacturing, citing that India’s manufacturing sector has swelled to nearly $44 billion, with approximately $11 billion in exports.
India’s enticing PLI schemes have enticed numerous global and local companies to initiate manufacturing operations in the country. Notable recent entrants in this sector include the iPhone 15 and various Samsung models, such as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Beyond the Pixel smartphones, Google’s Chromebooks will also undergo manufacturing in India. In a collaborative effort, HP, a leader in the PC market, and Google have teamed up to produce Chromebooks within the country. These Chromebooks, budget-friendly PCs running Google’s Chrome OS, come equipped with built-in accessibility and security features.