With the release of the Google Pixel 7 range last year, the company appeared to have finally struck gold. After many years of teetering around the edges of a great phone, the range proved to be a success.
While there are any number of reasons why that could be the case, the price was a big factor. While other Android phones skirt close to the £1,000 mark – or just blow right past it – the Pixel 7 retailed at just £/$599. That was a big deal, offering a substantial amount of phone for not a lot of cash.
That doesn't look likely to be the case on the Google Pixel 8 range, though. According to tech tipster, Yogesh Brar, the vanilla Pixel 8 model will launch somewhere between $649 and $699. Brar leaked the information on Twitter, along with a relatively comprehensive spec sheet and a tentative launch window of early October.
If that proves true, I'm disappointed. Sure, a $50 increase isn't massive, particularly given the spiralling inflation in many markets. Even the top end of the range – which would represent a $100 uptick in price – is conceivable. But it changes the way we view the handset.
With the Pixel 7, you were getting a capable flagship-level device for midrange money. At closer to $700, it no longer has a significant price advantage over competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the iPhone 14. And while it could still put up a fight, I can't help but feel like it's an uphill battle.
It also doesn't appear to be warranted in the spec sheet. Sure, there are a handful of upgrades rumoured to join the fray. Brar himself notes that the device will launch with a new Tensor G3 processor and the Android 14 operating system. But those have come to be expected with the latest iteration of a device.
Elsewhere, the display looks set to shrink a little, while the battery could see a miniscule upgrade. There's nothing bad about the offering, but there's also nothing at that price which sets it apart.
The Google Pixel 8 Pro could be a different story. Rumoured specs suggest that model is set for a bigger suite of upgrades than its sibling. If it can maintain a similar price hike – no more than $100 – it would still sit below its competitors in the Pro-level flagship category. Sure, the price chasm would still narrow, but at least that would be backed by a more significant spec bump.
With the rumoured release not set to take place for a few more months, there's still time for more information to come to the fore. Let's hope a revised price is part of that.