Google’s Pixel lineup has been successful in appealing to the Android audience. The company took the initiative to appeal to the mid-range market with the introduction of the Pixel 3a last year. This was supposed to be a low-cost version of the Pixel 3 from 2018.
Now that the Pixel 4 has been in the market for quite a while now, we’re getting to hear about a potential Pixel 3a successor, aptly named the Pixel 4a. This phone is more significant for Google as it couldn’t launch the Pixel 4 lineup in several countries due to security concerns emerging out of its Project Soli-based radar feature.
The phone has made appearances in leaks and rumors a few times already, and we’re going to help you find out all the information on the upcoming mid-ranger right here.
Google Pixel 4a Release Date, News, and Rumors
Google Pixel 4a News
Much like last year, it was initially believed that Google will unveil the Pixel 4a at the I/O 2020. The phone was initially known as “sunfish”. Due to the ongoing health crisis, the I/O 2020 event now stands canceled as a precautionary measure, and it’s up to anyone’s guess as to when the phone will be announced.
Multiple leaks in March gave us an excellent idea of what to expect from the Pixel 4a while some confirmed the hardware specs of the phone as well.
It’s worth pointing out that Google stopped selling the 2 year old Pixel 3 in early April, which is a good indicator that the Pixel 4a is on its way.
Google Pixel 4a Release Date
Originally scheduled to arrive on May 12 at the aforementioned I/O event, the Pixel 4a could be unveiled at the same event, potentially with an online announcement. Considering the fact that the phone is already part of several leaks, it’s safe to assume that the launch is not far away. Mark your calendars to May 12 to be safe.
It was previously reported by the Nikkei Asia Review that the phone’s manufacturing/assembly has been shifted to Vietnam and that it will go into production in April. This aligns fairly well with the May timeline. However, with Google’s online-only I/O event canceled as well, there’s really no fixed timeline available.
Google Pixel 4a Rumors
While there have been unconfirmed rumors about the Pixel 4a launching in 2023 for several months now, a picture of the alleged retail packaging of the Pixel 4a emerged recently that confirmed the existence of the phone as well as its name. The image shown on the retail packaging also confirmed that the phone will carry a dual-camera sensor much like the Pixel 4, which was one of the first Pixel phones to switch to dual-cameras after sticking to single-lens cameras with the first three Pixel flagships.
Size & Design
The Pixel 4a will borrow heavily from the Pixel 4 which is not particularly a surprise at this point. However, leaks have revealed that it won’t feature an edge-to-edge display, something that Google probably wants to reserve for its high-end offerings instead. This also means the customers will be treated to thicker bezels than on the Pixel 4.
The phone will use a polycarbonate body, so users will not see the iconic premium materials that were found on the Pixel 4. However, this is something that manufacturers do all the time with low-cost flagship alternatives, so this shouldn’t be a big surprise to the fans.
It is rumored that the phone will carry dimensions of 144.2 x 69.5 x 8.2mm which is not too different compared to the Pixel 4. However, the phone will reportedly be around 9mm thick around the camera bump. If true, this would mean that Google has managed to keep the Pixel 4a as thin as the original Pixel 4.
All rumors so far have mentioned that the Pixel 4a will likely not have a face recognition sensor, which was significantly enhanced with the Pixel 4. Instead, Google will reportedly use a fingerprint scanner located on the back panel, which is in line with the Pixel 3a.
Just like the predecessor, the Pixel 4a will reportedly be sold in two colors – Just Black and Barely Blue. There’s also talk of a white variant launching sometime later, but there’s no confirmation on this front as of yet. Leaks have shown off official Google cases as well, so expect to find a handful of accessories for the phone when it’s launched.
Also different with the Pixel 4a is the inclusion of a hole-punch camera on the front, bringing it more in line with Samsung’s recent flagships. This will probably be a key differentiating factor between the Pixel 4 and the 4a, since the former uses a more elaborate front camera sensor which is positioned alongside the TOF 3D biometrics sensor.
Surprisingly, there’s no concrete information on this front as of yet, but rumors are currently pointing at a 5.81-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 and a display refresh rate of 60 Hz. Since this would basically mean the Pixel 4a will be larger than the standard Pixel, we’re taking this with a grain of salt for now. We should learn more about the display on the Pixel 4a soon enough.
The camera onboard the Pixel 4a is pretty much a mystery at this point. While initial reports, including the retail packaging leak, appeared to suggest that the phone will have a dual-camera, turns out Google will only go with a 12.2MP single-lens rear camera. This is slightly disappointing, but not really a surprise given that this is supposed to be a low-cost version of the Pixel 4. On the front, users will be reportedly treated to an 8MP selfie camera, which should get the job done for video calls and selfies. The secondary front sensor for face unlocking will not be used on the 4a.
Since this is a mid-range offering, Google will reportedly use the Snapdragon 730 SoC with 4G LTE support on compatible networks across the world.
RAM storage will reportedly be upped to 6GB, while the company will provide 64 and 128GB of storage options with no microSD card slot. The phone will reportedly make the switch to UFS 2.1 flash storage, which will offer significantly improved read/write speeds. This will be a major change compared to the Pixel 3a, which only came with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Since there’s likely not going to be an XL version, the decision to offer a bigger storage version makes a great deal of sense.
Much like the Pixel 3a before this, we expect the Pixel 4a to also pack eSIM capabilities. Here are some of the other eSIM phones you can check out in the industry today.
Google will reportedly not make any drastic changes to the battery compartment, with a 3,080 mAh unit expected to be under the hood. The Pixel 3a, by comparison, came with a 3,000 mAh battery. Further, the phone will also support 18W fast charging likely with USB Power Delivery 2.0 on board. The USB C port will take care of battery charging and data transfer duties.
What’s taken a few of us by surprise is the mention of a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4 doesn’t have the headphone jack, although the Pixel 3a did have one despite the Pixel 3 lacking it in 2018. So this something that’s still uncertain, although it would be a logical inclusion given that the phone is aimed at markets of the world where wired headphones are prevalent.
What will the Pixel 4a miss?
No Face Unlock or Motion Sense
Since the idea of the Pixel 4a is to offer a cheaper alternative to the customers, some of the advanced features that we saw with the Pixel 4 will likely be missing. This includes the advanced Face ID sensor and Motion Sense. While face unlocking was a crucial addition with the Pixel 4, Motion Sense is still somewhat limited in terms of functionality, so it’s probably not going to be a big miss.
No water resistance
While the Pixel 4 touted an IP68 certified water and dust resistance, it seems like the Pixel 4a will skip this feature too. Water-resistance is one of the big feature for any smartphone, particularly a mid-range offering. This could prove to be a costly miss given that the recently unveiled iPhone SE (2020) comes with IP67 water resistance on board. Like any other mid-range phone, the Pixel 4a will be compared heavily with Apple’s alternative when it breaks cover, and the lack of water resistance will certainly not look good on the specs sheet.
No wireless charging
This one is probably going to disappoint a few people, although it’s barely a surprise given that this is a mid-range smartphone. However, users shouldn’t mind this too much as the phone will supported 18W wired charging. So while the Pixel 4 demonstrates the best of technology from Google’s sheds, the Pixel 4a is evidently an underpowered version of that.
Despite the buzz surrounding 5G, it’s still a relatively fresh concept for a large part of the world. Considering the fact that the Pixel 4a is targeting the budget audiences and also the customers who couldn’t get the Pixel 4 due to region related restrictions, the omission of 5G from the specs list is probably not going to make a lot of difference.
Will there be a Pixel 4a XL?
Multiple early reports had suggested that there will be a Pixel 4a XL. This made sense given that the Pixel 3a had an XL version alongside. However, things may not be the same this year. It is said that although Google was working on a Pixel 4a XL, it was ditched, possibly at the last minute. A leak even revealed a potential back panel for the XL model listed on eBay, but the phone appears to be axed at this point.
Google Pixel 4a Price
This is one area where all experts agree on. Going by the pricing pattern of the Pixel 3a, it’s safe to assume that the phone will cost well under $500 when it goes on sale eventually. Many suggest that the phone will start from $399 for the 64GB model while the 128GB variant could go up to $479.
This is particularly true when we consider Google’s pricing strategy for its smartphones. Every major Pixel refresh has cost the same as its predecessor, although things will be slightly different this time around as there’s no XL version hitting the markets. It’s likely that
Should you be excited?
The Pixel 4a comes at a time when smartphones are the farthest away from people’s minds. The smartphone is expected to cost around $400 for the 64GB version, which makes it a catch in many aspects. Considering the hardware specs we’re expecting to see from the phone, it may be the only true mid-ranger to take on Apple’s ambitious iPhone SE refresh. While the Pixel 4a is superior in almost all aspects to the iPhone SE (2020), the timing of its launch will be everything.
If you’re looking for an alternative on the Android side of things, well, there aren’t too many. We say this because Pixel phones are always the first to get Android updates. This is one of the primary perks of owning a Google-made Android smartphone.
The phone will release with Android 10 out of the box, and will eventually be one of the first phones on the list to get Android 11 when it is released sometime in the fall. Taking these factors into account, Google could probably strike big with the Pixel 4a.
With the top end version possibly packing 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, the Pixel 4a doesn’t really seem like a mid-ranger by the conventional sense, and this may just power it through the competition.
It’s no secret that the Pixel 3a and 3a XL were very successful in several parts of the world. If the company wants to replicate its success with the 2020 iteration, timing will certainly be everything.
So if you’re looking for a mid-range smartphone with core Android, plenty of RAM space, and a revamped camera software designed for the device, you have every reason to be excited about the Pixel 4a.
What version of Android will the Pixel 4a have?
The Pixel 4a will come with Android 10 out of the box.
Will Pixel 4a have multiple storage variants?
Unlike the Pixel 3a from 2019, the Pixel 4a will apparently be sold in 64GB and 128GB variants at launch.
Will the Pixel 4a have water resistance?
As per multiple leaks we've encountered so far, the Pixel 4a will most likely lack water resistance.