New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…

Original story (from March 21, 2021) follows:

The many smartphone brands that exist today thrive on having a unique selling point. Essentially, this is something that customers and the brand alike can identify with.

For instance, for years, BlackBerry’s USP was its physical keyboard, a feature that the company carried on with even after going the Android way with the PRIV and KEY devices.


On the other hand, Samsung thrives on offering amazing hardware designs coupled with powerful specifications and a multitude of great features. Phones are also available at various price points.

As for Google, the search giant heavily relies on its software prowess. The Android version that powers Google Pixel phones represents the best there is.

Of course, there will always be debates as to which take on Android is the best, be it Google’s, Samsung’s, OnePlus’, Oppo’s or even Xiaomi’s. There’s always someone rooting for one over the other.

For Google, it is the simplicity that comes with Pixel software alongside several other perks that make people glued to their phones.

Google Pixel Night Sight

One of the perks is the Pixel camera. For years, Google Pixel phones have been regarded as the best in the business, especially with stills.

In fact, many people out here who own a Google Pixel phone, be it the OG model from 2016 or even the current Pixel 5, bought it just for the great photography it offers.

And no, this wasn’t just about the amazing photos Pixel phones can snap, but also the fact that Google offered free unlimited high-quality photos and videos storage via the Photos app.


This simply meant that Google Pixel buyers would enjoy a lifetime of unlimited cloud storage that is also accessible anywhere and on any device.

At the time, Google even boasted that the Pixel’s unlimited cloud storage would nullify any chances of seeing the dreaded “Storage is full” notification, essentially making it a USP of Pixel phones.

Well, it’s confirmed that this free ride and USP of Pixel phones is coming to an end on June 1, 2021.

Going forward, every Google Photos user on the upcoming Pixel 5a, Pixel 6 and any future Pixel phone must purchase Google One cloud storage to backup their high quality photos after hitting the 15GB limit.

This change of arrangement, fortunately, doesn’t affect the current Pixel phones, which will continue enjoying a lifetime of free unlimited high quality storage on Google Photos.


As noted earlier, having unlimited storage on Google Photos was one of the reasons people purchased Google Pixel phones. With this no longer part of the perks, Google may have to deal with some consequences.

One such consequence is the potential loss of Pixel 5a, Pixel 6 and future buyers of other Pixel phones. Given that Pixel phones are still not that popular, this move serves little towards making them even more popular.

Since Google hardly wows with its Pixel hardware, having this software-related perk was one major selling point of the Pixel line, but now that it’s no more, it could start shrinking what is already a small Pixel market.

The likes of Apple and Samsung will definitely be lurking. The former’s iPhone 12 Mini and the latter’s Galaxy S20 FE gave the Pixel 5 and co. a run for the money and still are.

iPhone 12 Mini debuted at $699

Their successors, if they ever get launched, will definitely take the competition a notch higher for the Pixel 5a and Pixel 6.

Samsung’s capable Galaxy A series coupled with the massive improvements on the One UI software front are also a huge threat to the Pixel market.

That said, losing unlimited Photos storage could draw users away from future Pixels. After all, even non-Pixels get a similar deal (15GB) in Photos, so it’s better to get a more powerful device at the same price.

In fact, a recent report already corroborates this, revealing that Pixel brand loyalty is already on the decline compared to 2019, with about 35% of current owners ready to ditch the brand with their next upgrade.

Of course, there are those who will still be fine paying for Google One cloud storage, which is Google’s target market as it looks to make some more money.


In the eyes of Google, Photos losing unlimited high quality storage isn’t removing a feature, but no longer bundling a premium service for free. Certainly, not everyone agrees.

Are you among those who will be fine buying cloud storage to backup photos or this move by Google is already turning you off future Pixel phones?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below. You may also cast your vote on the Twitter poll below, with results to be posted after one week.

Update 1 (March 21)

And our readers have spoken. Among those who voted, while 42% believe the absence of unlimited Google Photos uploads had changed the future of Pixel devices, 40% believe nothing is going to change despite this. However, 18% consider pixel phones boring.

Update 2 (February 01)

The perk of free unlimited backup in Google Photos at the original quality for Pixel 3 and 3 XL is ending today. That means, starting February 01, the photos and videos will be backed up in Storage saver quality at no charge.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Hillary Keverenge
2170 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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