Guessing the price of the next Apple, Samsung or Sony flagship is a fairly straightforward guessing game: go high. Over optimistically high, in the case of Sony. 

For Google, it’s been a trickier game. The first three Pixel phones were premium smartphones with price tags to match, but the last two have been mid-range offerings. 

Bad news for anyone hoping that the upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones will continue that modest pricing trend: apparently somebody at Google has flipped the pricing coin, and come up with “expensive” this time around.

That’s according to Google’s SVP of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, who told German site Der Spiegel that both will cost a pretty penny.

“The Pixel 6 Pro, which will be expensive, has been designed specifically for users who want the latest technology,” he said. 

Okay, so what about those of us who don’t see ourselves as Pros? “The Pixel 6 also belongs in the upper segment and can keep up with the competing products. I would call it a ‘mainstream premium product.’” Oh.

These responses are, of course, tediously evasive, because Google wants to keep specific pricing details underwraps until it’s ready to fully talk about the phones in autumn. 

But you can probably guess what it means by this: the Pixel 6 Pro will likely be up there with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (NZ$2,199) and iPhone 12 Pro (NZ$1,899), while the standard Pixel 6 will be rubbing figurative shoulder with the regular Samsung Galaxy S21 (NZ$1,399) and iPhone 12 (NZ$1,499). 

In some respects, that’s a perfectly sensible attitude. In others, it kind of misses the point as to why both Apple and Samsung charge as much as they do. That is, at least in part, because people will pay for it. Between them, the two account for between 25- and 40% of the smartphone market. Google, meanwhile, makes up a tiny fraction of the 18-30% section labelled “others”, ignobly sat alongside the sales also-rans of Nokia, Motorola, OnePlus and, yes, Sony. 

Maybe the Pixel 6 will be the phone to change all that. Osterloh certainly seems to think so. “If that wasn’t the goal, we wouldn’t have put in the effort for tensor development,” he said, talking about the new AI tensor chip Google has developed for the phone. 

“In any case, we believe that we now have the right products for significant growth,” he continued. “We will invest a lot in marketing, sales and the supply chain. We were new to the market, a challenger – and now we have all the core elements to be successful. But it’s a mature market, so you can’t get a big market share overnight. This takes a long time.”

And that’s not even mentioning the huge advantage Google has by making the Android operating system, either…