That we as a society refer to the $750 iPhone XR as the “cheap” version of the iPhone says it all — there are nearly no major smartphones being made for people who don’t want or can’t afford bleeding edge, $1,000 devices. The “cheap” version of Samsung’s Galaxy line, the S10e, is also $750.
As flagship smartphones drop headphone jacks, remove bezels, and use your face as a login, the price keeps going up. The latest iPhone, the iPhone XS, looks great and has some cool tricks. But $1,000? One thousand American dollars for a device that gets maybe two years of use, that does essentially the same things as the previous model albeit in a sexier form factor? It’s no surprise that, for the first time since launch, fewer people are buying the newest iPhone than the previous year.
The Pixel 3a is perhaps the greatest example yet that smartphones don’t need to cost so much money. If nothing else, it’s a tremendously strong example of the power of utilitarian design in smartphones — not since Google’s excellent Nexus line and the iPhone SE has a smartphone so directly appealed to the huge market of smartphone owners who don’t want the bleeding edge of tech (or the price that usually comes with it).