This week, Google announced that it would discontinue its Pixel Pass subscription service after less than two years – before subscribers could actually reap some of the benefits of the subscription they thought they had been paying for.
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Pixel Pass debuted alongside the Pixel 6 series, the duo that effectively served as a reboot to Google’s smartphones by bringing a new chip and a clear new focus. The subscription, which started at $45 per month, was reasonably compelling. Subscribers were promised YouTube Premium, Google Play Pass, Google One storage, a protection plan, and the cost of their phone. The real selling point wasn’t the bundle, though, it was the idea that in two years, you’d get the latest Pixel with that monthly payment in mind.
That was 22 months ago.
As of this week, Pixel Pass has been discontinued, with Google neither offering the subscription on future Pixel releases nor continuing the offer for existing subscribers. Anyone who was waiting on that imminent upgrade to the Pixel 8 is left without that part of the deal.
Google isn’t leaving users without anything, though. They still get to keep the phone they’ve paid for (at the end of the two-year term), and all the bundled subscriptions fulfilled their job and will continue to be discounted. Plus, subscribers get a $100 credit to put toward a future Google hardware purchase, whether that’s a Pixel phone or something else. And, doing the math, it works out.
Assuming you subscribed to Pixel Pass for the base Pixel 6 at $45/month back in October 2021 when the device first launched, you would have spent $990 to date. Without the bundle’s discounts, you would have spent around $1,100 over the past 22 months – roughly $25/month on the phone payment (Google’s financing is on a 36-month term, though, so this is assuming paying off the device in 24 months), $11.99/month on YouTube Premium, $2/month on Google One, $5/month on Google Play Pass, and $7/month on a hardware protection plan. So, ultimately, Pixel Pass did save its subscribers a bit of money.
Why did Pixel Pass die?
It likely boils down to the fact that Google would have had to increase the price of the subscription for this incoming generation. YouTube Premium has raised its costs, and the Pixel 8 is also rumored to see a minor price bump. It’s likely the plan wasn’t all that popular either, given it was only available in the US and didn’t reflect the frequent discounts on Pixel phones – it doesn’t take much to realize that you’ll be able to get a PIxel for much less if you buy it during a sale. Pixel Pass never saw any discounts.
But, whatever the reason, Pixel Pass serves as another reminder that you shouldn’t buy into products solely on promises of the future.
A lot of folks are frustrated with the death of Pixel Pass because the big selling point, future upgrades, is going unfulfilled. And they’re right to feel that way. However, the subscription did ultimately end up saving folks some money, which was also part of the appeal.
Google, despite sometimes ending services the right way, still has a tendency to pull the plug on things unexpectedly or for reasons that are less than obvious. There are exceptions to the rule – you should feel comfortable buying Pixel smartphones on the promise of software updates, for instance – but when putting up your money, you should be careful not to buy something solely on something that might not be fulfilled for a while – or ever.
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