Google’s senior vice president for hardware Rick Osterloh has been on a roll with the media on talking about first-party Chromebooks (Google hasn’t given up, but it has no plans to share for now) and the Pixel (which will stay in the premium category).
The second bit means that Google stays in the price zone where an expensive phone is a “great phone”. But it also did away with any thought of a Pixel 2B, a more affordable, but still premium Google Android experience. Or does it?
Well, a source to 9to5Google is claiming that while the Pixel hardware team won’t be working on a budget device in the Pixel family, they are working on a budget phone:
You should interpret “Budget Pixel” as a device that is being developed by the same team working on the Pixel 2, that is aimed at being released in emerging markets. This could mean Android One, this could mean something entirely different. My knowledge of this device is that: a.) it’s being developed alongside the Pixel 2 and b.) will not be sold in the US (assuming that it leaves the prototype stages).
The Android One program continues to bud as a Android standard bearer for small-time OEMs out of US bounds. Google may be interested in keeping the OEM relationship strong if this “budget non-Pixel” comes through to encourage spotlit participation in the program — HTC acted as the silent ODM for the Pixel.
It could be none of the above, though, as the tipster points out. We’re all basing our conclusions on past knowledge with no eye for what Google has kept inside the Googleplex.