Screw you, Australia: We’ll get new Google gear late and pay more


news US-headquartered technology giant Google has completely left Australia off the list of countries that will receive its new smartphones, tablet and other devices announced in the United States overnight, with countries like the UK, Korea, Japan and even Ireland getting the nod over the lucky country for access to the new kit and Australians to pay more when the devices do eventually launch

Overnight the company revealed a cluster of new devices. Headlining the launch will the company’s Nexus 6P smartphone. Produced by Chinese vendor Huawei, the model is a large but thin smartphone with a powerful 12.3 megapixel camera. The Nexus 6P’s smaller and cheaper sibling is the Nexus 5X, made by Korean manufacturer LG.

Google is already taking preorders for the two smartphones in the US, UK, Ireland and Japan, with a shipping date of October. However, the company has not announced any plans to launch the models in Australia, stating only that it will be working with third-party retailers outside the United States.

The smartphones are listed on the Australian version of Google’s online Play Store, but Australian customers are only able have their details placed on a “wait list” for the models, with no ability to preorder the models.

In addition, Google appears to have added insult to injury for Australians by applying a substantial additional cost for Australians buying its new handsets. In the US the Nexus 5X will start at US$379 (A$541) for the model with 16GB worth of storage. However, pricing leaked through the Australian Play Store (and since removed) appears to show that the Australian version of the handset will start at A$659 — a significantly more expensive price, even when the cost of Australia’s GST is factored in.

Similarly, Google’s Australian Play Store briefly listed the Nexus 6P as starting from A$899, but in the US the same handset will start at US$499 (A$712).

Google also announced a number of other devices at its event in the US overnight. The company will sell a new version of its Chromecast device for streaming content to televisions, as well as a version that solely handles audio and plugs into speaker systems to play music. Google also announced a new Android-based tablet — the Pixel C, which comes with a detachable keyboard similar to the keyboard offered with Microsoft’s Surface tablet range.

However, it does not appear that Google is initially planning to offer these new products in Australia.

The moves represent a long history from Google of launching products late in Australia. The company has a substantial operation based Down Under, but Australians often take substantially longer to receive Google’s products, and the company has also not always placed a priority on price parity with its home country.

In comparison, Google rival Apple has made a habit of launching its products simultaneously in the US and Australia when they come to market.

This is really a disappointing move by Google. The company should know that Australians are enthusiastic early adopters of its products. Launching a major new set of products and neglecting to give Australians surety about when they can buy them is an invitation for Australians to take their business elsewhere.

I understand that the Nexus line are Google’s reference models — they’re not quite intended for the same degree of mass adoption as a product such as Samsung’s Galaxy line.

But these are still real-world products which Google expects people to buy. It should be relatively trivial for the company to disclose to Australians when they can expect to get access to them. Anything less, in today’s globalised world, and especially considering the way that Apple launches its products globally on a simultaneous basis, is akin to treating customers with contempt.

Image credit: Google


  1. The new motorola handsets seemed expensive but compared with the nexus pricing they are starting to look more reasonable if you’re looking for a near stock android experience. Especially if you can pick them up on a sale for $30 or so cheaper where as the nexus seem to stay at a fixed price until the next years nexus in announced.

  2. How disappointing, I reckon once people realise how handy the chromecast audio is, it will have no trouble selling here.

    I will see how I can get one from overseas for sure.

  3. The pricing should be expected as it protects Google from future exchange rate decreases – the AUD is expected to fall against the USD as result of expected increases in US interest rates – without increasing the price, while supporting a reduction of the the RRP over the sales life of the phone in line with consumer expectations.

  4. In comparison, Google rival Apple has made a habit of launching its products simultaneously in the US and Australia when they come to market.

    The reason is actually much simpler. Market fracturing. Apple figured out a while back that to take on established players, you have to have a simultaneous launch in as many places as possible to capitalise on the impulse.

    They are on track to smash it for sales, again. Meanwhile, Android handset makers are still running around launching stuff at random times, to random markets, for random pricing. This even includes Google.

    When the giant responsible for Android isn’t really on the ball, it doesn’t really send a good message. But then they aren’t a hardware company. It’s all about the (user) meta.

    The hardware might be good, but the way the entire ecosystem is handled, the staggered launches, the busted update cycle, relying almost entirely on individual vendors to maintain releases, really don’t do it any favours.

    The best thing Google could do, is unify and drive adoption on an actual timetable. But then people would scream “walled garden” – missing the point entirely.

    As for pricing? Have you seen the dollar value against the greenback? Everyone is nervous so the pricing will assume some negativity to insulate google.

  5. Its a shame to see google fall into step with other multi national types in regards to the Aussie market.

    Still I have fond memories of buying a Nexus phone (which I still use now) for $350 AUD. In my mind that was one of their biggest selling points you get a decent smart phone and it didn’t cost like a fruit based product would it wouldn’t be as fancy but it wouldn’t be obsolete either!

    Pricing as others have stated likely due to our Dollar and concerns about it falling.

  6. I was thinking of getting the new Nexus 5, especially as Google aren’t planning to release Marshmallow for my Nexus 4, but now several things are putting me off the idea:
    1) the delay (although I can live with it, it’s annoying)
    2) the price (Holy Australia Tax, Batman!)
    3) the small amount of storage (seriously, it’s 2015, only 16GB? My 3yo Nexus 4 has that much).

    The lack of an SD slot is a continuing annoyance (great trend you started there, Apple, so you could pretend to have more than one phone model and charge customers three times the actual cost of storage).

    • The lack of an SD slot is a continuing annoyance (great trend you started there, Apple, so you could pretend to have more than one phone model and charge customers three times the actual cost of storage).

      This was done purely because on board storage is expensive; the SD slot is another IO device to power (along with the energy required to access the card) so was only ever meant to be a short term solution to the bigger problem – where do we store the data?

      We already know the answer though – Google want your data in the cloud instead, so why put storage in the phone when it’s more useful to them on their servers.

      As for the Australia tax? It’s back because of our falling dollar. Companies are playing it safe.

  7. How’re you converting USD$379 to get AUD$541?

    if the dollar continues to slip, then taking into account conversion costs, even 1:0.65 is optimistic, and that plus GST puts it at $641.

    Same math applied to USD$499 gives AUD$1074.

        • What have opinions got to do with it? This is like having the opinion that the sky is red, the fact is that is the exchange rate and if you don’t believe it check it yourself.

          • I don’t believe I at any point said the exchange rate was wrong.

            There’s more to converting a price than asking google.

            I don’t believe google includes the costs of actually converting between currencies, for instance, or as others have pointed out, future trends in currency changes.

            I’m not giving my opinion on the currency exchange rate. I’m giving my opinion that just using that and nothing else is naive.

      • Allowing for GST, it’d be making an assumption of an exchange rate at about 63c to the USD.

        Given that today it’s ~70c, six months ago it was ~76c and twelve months ago it was ~87c – and that financial markets expect this pattern to continue – it’s a more reasonable price than it initially sounds. Especially for a product that doesn’t even have a ship date.

        What would be more “fair” would just be quoting us a price in USD or having a floating price, but I can see how that would be unappealing for retailers…

  8. I find it very funny that in the article:

    Google was held up as the benchmark, as Evil Apple was charging to much for the new iPhone.

    From that article:

    “In Australian dollars, these prices reflect a substantial hike on the cost of last year’s model of the iPhone. Analysis shows Australians are not paying substantially more than US residents once the currency translation takes place, but because the value of the Australian dollar has shrank substantially over the past year, in Australian dollars the cost of the iPhone is larger than it was in Australian dollars last year.”

    I argued then in the comments that its not fair to compare the Nexus to the iPhone, as the Nexus is a “loss leader”; sold as near cost to try and get in the market. Once you compare Apples flagship product to Samsung, the cost is the same…

    In the opinion above:
    “I understand that the Nexus line are Google’s reference models — they’re not quite intended for the same degree of mass adoption as a product such as Samsung’s Galaxy line.”

    Now, before anyone post a reply replying that the iPhone still cost more:
    1. My point is that the author is cherry picking data points to make his case.
    2. Yes the iPhone is expensive compared to the Nexus, but not compare the the S6.

  9. >>and even Ireland<<

    Why wouldn't Google launch in Ireland? Do you think Australia is ahead of Ireland as a market opportunity?

    Anyway, Google's website does say 'coming soon' so Australia has hardly been left out.

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