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Google's leaked product roadmap looks strikingly familiar

A (no longer) secret product roadmap suggests that a biennial $449 mid-ranger and two 'Pro' models are on the docket, and I'm not talking about Apple.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
The interior of Google's NYC store with customers and workers interacting.
Image: Google

For how important a company like Google is, it just can't seem to keep the secrets of its product chambers. 

We've seen this happen before; in fact, before Google could take the wraps off of its very first Pixel, there was little left to the imagination.

A recent scoop by Android Authority takes things to the next level, giving us a peak behind the curtains of what Google has in store for the next three years -- you read that right, next three years -- with specific regard to its Pixel phones

The "anonymous but trustworthy source," according to the publication, suggests that from now until 2025, Google will release the following devices:

  • 2023: Pixel 7a, Pixel Fold, and Pixel 8 series.
  • 2024: Pixel 8a (pending success of the 7a) and Pixel 9 series (three models).
  • 2025: Pixel clamshell foldable and Pixel 10 series.

Also: 2022 was secretly the year of Chromebooks. Here's why

Clearly, there's a lot to take in here, from new foldables (finally!) to the possibility of Google adopting a biennial release cycle for its budget-friendly A series of phones. What jumps out at me is how similar its overall product strategy is to a fruitier company; Google clearly wants to take a bite of the apple.

The end of an A-ra?

A layout of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, and Pixel 6.
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Depending on how successful next year's Pixel 7a is, Google will either move forward with releasing the Pixel 8a in 2024 or shift the product line to a biennial release cycle. 

This doesn't come as a big surprise considering how aggressive carrier promotions have been (in the US, at least), slashing up to $1,000 off the latest flagship phones in exchange for two-to-three-year financing commitments. Owning the latest iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or Google Pixel phone at the expense of carrier loyalty? Say less.

Also: Apple's next iPhone SE might be delayed, says industry analyst

In fact, this adaptation gives Google more opportunities to refine and stabilize the Pixel's software and features over the course of every two years, like how Apple has been doing with its own mid-range offering, the iPhone SE, while cutting costs on production and marketing.

Pixel Pro XL? Ultra? Max?

The leaked roadmap also suggests that Google is planning to release 2024's Pixel 9 series in three varieties: Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro, and Pixel 9 Pro XL. (Note that the 'XL' label is just an inference based on Google's past branding.) 

If this is true, and the company continues its Fall October flagship release schedule, then all the signs point to Google wanting to compete with Apple's flagship iPhones, small and large.

Review: Google's best phones zoom past Samsung on this one camera feature 

It's quite bold of any manufacturer not named Apple to extend its product line into four SKUs. Heck, even Apple has had problems maintaining demand for smaller and larger iPhones. But at the rate that the Cupertino phone maker is building up its US market share, you'll have to be bold to compete.

As always, keep in mind that product roadmaps are subject to change, and I wouldn't be surprised if Google does so after its next three years of planning -- real or not -- has been shared with the public. 

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