Google to make Pixel smartphones in India

New Delhi: Internet major Google will make the Pixel series of smartphones in India, starting with Pixel 8, and plans to roll out the India-made devices in 2024, a senior company official said on Thursday.

The tech titan outlined its manufacturing plans at the annual Google for India event that also saw other key announcements for this market while CEO Sundar Pichai in a post on X said that Google is committed to being a trusted partner in the country’s digital growth story.

Google Senior Vice President for Devices and Services Rick Osterloh said the company will partner with international contract manufacturers to make the phones in India.

“We will start manufacturing Google Pixel series smartphones in India,” Osterloh said at the event in the national capital.

The company acknowledged India being a priority for Pixel smartphones, noting the significant momentum for Pixel in the country over the past several years.

Osterloh said that Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw supported the company’s plan to make Pixel smartphones in India.

“Earlier, 98 per cent mobile phones that were used in India were imported. Now, 98 per cent mobile phones (used in the country) are made in India. Electronics companies now want to set up their base in India. India has emerged as a trusted value chain partner.

“Google’s announcement to make Pixel smartphones in India is a big achievement of the government’s made in India policy,” Vaishnaw said.

The announcement, Google said, is an early step on their journey toward expanding their device production capacity and helping meet the country’s growing demand for Pixel.

“In recent years, India has established itself as a truly world-class hub for manufacturing, resulting in a thriving environment for businesses to flourish.

“With this initiative, Google joins the Make in India momentum and looks forward to bringing the magic of Pixel smartphones to more people across India,” the company said in a release.

Osterloh mentioned about the speed and the manner in which India has embraced its consistent smartphone innovations, and said Google continues to receive heartening feedback from partners and the growing TeamPixel family.

In the post on X, Pichai said, “we shared plans at #GoogleforIndia to manufacture Pixel smartphones locally and expect the first devices to roll out in 2024. We’re committed to being a trusted partner in India’s digital growth- appreciate the support for Make In India PMOIndia + MEIT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw”.

The latest move by Google, will further fuel India’s manufacturing aspirations at a time when the nation is wooing global IT and electronics players with policy sweeteners and incentive schemes, making a determined push to position itself as a global powerhouse for hi-tech manufacturing.

Google also announced a slew of new generation AI-powered launches, partnerships, and investments.

These new commitments — spanning Google’s core products such as Search, GPay, and Google Cloud — will enable people, businesses, and institutions to maximise their deepening digitisation for greater value and opportunities for progress, the company said.

GPay will now enable the availability of reliable and responsible formal credit to people and small businesses by offering customised credit products from some of India’s top lenders on the platform.

“Google is supporting the launch of Axis My India’s one-of-a-kind multilingual super-app called ‘a’, which utilises Google Cloud’s gen AI technology to provide millions of citizens information about government schemes and other solutions and services nationwide,” according to a release.

Stepping up its commitment to strengthen citizen safeguards against online financial frauds, Google also announced the launch of DigiKavach, an early threat detection and warning system designed to identify and study emerging financial fraud patterns before they cause widespread harm.

“In a renewed focus on ensuring small businesses gain the advantages of Google’s AI leadership, Google Cloud expands its partnership with ONDC to help Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to sell their produce online,” it said.