Google added two new mid-range devices to its phone line-up Tuesday: The new Pixel 3a is available for $399 effective immediately, while the larger Pixel 3a XL clocks in at $479. The company is also bringing its entire phone line-up, including last year’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, to a range of new mobile carriers, including Sprint and T-Mobile.
The big idea with the Pixel 3a models is to bring high end camera performance and the Pixel ~experience~ (ie: great hardware and design, and Android without any bells or whistles, for people who might find iPhones too basic and Samsung phones too garish/explode-y) to people who weren’t going to spend upwards of $800 on a smartphone. So Google lowered the price by about half, reducing costs by using cheaper hardware and materials – like a pokier processor and plastic housing – in other parts of the phone while sticking with the same camera hardware. In a briefing ahead of the announcement, Google’s VP of product management for Pixel, Brian Rakowski, said the phones are intended for people who would like to buy a Pixel, but are left behind by that phone’s $800 (and up) price tag. (And based on the Pixel 3’s disappointing sales numbers, there were a lot of people, for one reason or another, who may have been left behind!)