Update, July 2, 2020 (04:30 PM ET): The Google Pixel 4a just apparently slipped through another certification agency which gives us a better idea of its specs. We also found out that the Pixel 3a is no more. Read on for all the details!
Original article, February 1, 2020 (6 PM ET): Without a doubt, the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were some of the most exciting devices launched last year. For under $400 you got most of what made the Google Pixel 3 great, including that amazing camera. Now itâ€™s 2020, and all eyes are on the Google Pixel 4a.
Ostensibly, the Pixel 4a will attempt to replicate what the 3a series did: slash out the expensive hardware aspects of the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL while retaining the super-fast Android updates, rear camera experience, and Pixel-exclusive software features.
Thatâ€™s a tall order, but Google seems up for the task.Â Below, youâ€™ll find everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 4a. Be sure to bookmark this page as weâ€™ll update it often as new rumors come to light.
Google Pixel 4a: Name and release date
The Google Pixel series has stuck to the same naming convention since its inception. With that in mind (along with the leaks weâ€™ve already seen), thereâ€™s little doubt as to the name of the upcoming mid-range entry in the series. Outside of some crazy situation arising, itâ€™s a safe bet that weâ€™ll see the Google Pixel 4a launch as Googleâ€™s next mid-ranger.
Unfortunately, sources close to Android Authority have confirmed there will be no Pixel 4a XL this year. This might be disappointing for some fans of the Pixel 3a XL, but this will likely reduce production costs for Google and help keep the Pixel 4a at a reasonable price.
In early April, a few pictures of some Pixel 4a packages surfaced online, which appear to confirm the name. The images look pretty legit, but we should still take them with a grain of salt.
Google Pixel 4a is On Itâ€™s Wayâ€¦ pic.twitter.com/rJclXg1Yqo
â€” TechDroider (@techdroider) April 9, 2020
The name might be solidified, but when exactly will the Google Pixel 4a land? Google launched the Pixel 3a series at Google I/O 2019, so it seemed reasonable to assume at first that it would launch the follow-up around the same time. Unfortunately, Google I/O 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We expected Google to go ahead with an online-only launch of the new phone on or around the same time anyway, but that didnâ€™t come to be.
Eventually, evidence popped up that suggested Google moved the general sale date to June 5, 2020. This led us to believe the Pixel 4a would land at the confirmed Android 11 event on June 3. Of course, that didnâ€™t happen, either.
Now, we expect the device to land on July 13. The phone has already hit the FCC, the IMDA, and Taiwanâ€™s NCC (which are usually the last steps before a phone launches), so the release canâ€™t be far off, whenever it might be.
Interestingly, a known tipster hinted that the Google Pixel 4a could launch in July, but only go on sale in October. Another leaker reports that the phone could have a different name and could be part of the Pixel 5 lineup slated to launch later this year. You can read all about these bizarre claims here.
Google Pixel 4a: Design
As has become the norm, we already have a decent idea of what the Google Pixel 4a will look like thanks to serial leaker @OnLeaks. The renders below, based on CAD files supplied to factories that actually create the devices, tell us the most basic information about the Pixel 4a with relative certainty.
Check out the renders for yourself below:
As one would expect, the phone looks like a pared-down Google Pixel 4, which makes perfect sense. The square-shaped camera bump on the back of the device is a dead-ringer for the one on the Pixel 4 series, albeit with only one lens. The white colorway, Google â€œGâ€� logo, and orange-colored power button all carry over from the Pixel 4.
However, there are some differences here. The matte-black ring that envelops the Pixel 4 body is absent, the selfie camera is housed in a display cutout, thereâ€™s a headphone jack present, and thereâ€™s a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor here, too. The fingerprint sensor and display cutout make sense, though, as it would hardly be cost-effective to transfer all the face unlock tech from the Pixel 4 series to the Pixel 4a.
Interestingly, 9to5Google later reported that the Google Pixel 4a might not come in the white and orange colorway depicted above. The outlet claims it will come in at least two color variants: the usual Just Black and a new Barely Blue. 9to5Google notes that depending on how â€œbarelyâ€� blue the new blue color is, it could replace the white variant we see in the renders above.
A couple of months after those renders surfaced online, alleged photos of the smartphone matching them also surfaced online. The device in these photos appears to sport a black chassis with a white lock button instead of the white and orange combo seen in the previous renders. It also comes in what appears to be an official Google Pixel fabric phone case. If this is true, this fabric cover is unlike any weâ€™ve seen from Google before.
Weâ€™re not fully convinced that the images above are 100% legit. If you look closely at them, thereâ€™s no visible speaker grille at the top of the phone to hear phone calls. Though itâ€™s possible we just canâ€™t see it, this still raises a red flag. Also missing is the clock in the status bar of the phone. Two of the photos donâ€™t show the clock where itâ€™s supposed to be, casting another shadow of doubt on the legitimacy of the images.
On the other hand, a YouTube video posted by TecnoLike Plus reveals an alleged Google Pixel 4a that falls in line with these leaked images and renders. In the video, we get a better look at the camera cutout in the left corner, the 3.5mm headphone port at the top, the square rear camera housing featuring a single shooter in the lower right, and the rear fingerprint scanner we expect to see on the Pixel 4a family.
With the supposed launch of the phone not far off now, weâ€™ll know soon enough whether the above leaks were correct or not.
In the meantime, check out the leaked renders of the alleged Pixel 4a XL below. As mentioned before, weâ€™ve known for some time that there wonâ€™t be any XL variant of Googleâ€™s new mid-ranger. However, a report outed renders of the scrapped phone based on information obtained from a popular leaker. The canceled device would have apparently had a punch-hole camera and the same size as the Pixel 3a XL.
Specs and features
With last yearâ€™s Pixel 3a family, Google cut out quite a few of the high-end specs from the Google Pixel 3 family to keep the devices firmly in the mid-range. As such, you shouldnâ€™t expect the Google Pixel 4a to be a flagship powerhouse â€” but thatâ€™s kind of the point.
The recent hands-on video included above gives us the best glimpse into what we can expect from the rest of the systemâ€™s internal specs. The video delivers some key system specs courtesy of the AIDA64 app. The app lists â€œSunfishâ€� as the model name and posits that the Google Pixel 4a will probably tout the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 chipset. Weâ€™ve previously seen upper mid-range devices such as the Realme X2,Â Redmi K30, and the recent Samsung Galaxy A71 house the same SoC.
As with the Pixel 3a, you shouldn't expect flagship specs with the Pixel 4a. After all, that's kind of the point.
This 700-series chipset is an upgrade over the Pixel 3aâ€™s Snapdragon 670. While the extra processing power would certainly be nice, hopefully, this wouldnâ€™t raise the price too much (more on that later).
Leaked benchmarks for the phone suggest that itâ€™ll deliver solid performance. It scored almost 70% as high as the Pixel 4 in an AnTuTu benchmark. Its performance was also found to be on par with the Pixel 3 XL. As expected, it easily outperformed its predecessor, the Pixel 3a XL.
The Pixel 4aâ€™s SoC might not be the only component to see an upgrade from the Pixel 3a. The latest rumors suggest the Pixel 4a could see a substantial bump in storage read/write speeds thanks to an improved UFS 2.1 flash storage solution in the form of the 64GB SK Hynix chip. If this is the case, this would be a decent upgrade from the 64GB eMMC storage chip in the Pixel 3a, and it could offer noticeably snappier performance in some cases, though itâ€™s too early to guarantee.
Outside of the chipset, the hands-on video above says that the Google Pixel 4a could come with the Adreno 618 GPU, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 5.81-inch 2,340 x 1,080 display with a 60Hz refresh rate.
It also reveals what looks like a 3,080mAh battery and dual-SIM support. The former isnâ€™t exactly big for a budget phone in 2020, but itâ€™s still bigger than the standard Pixel 4 battery. The handsetâ€™s RAM configuration was further rumored shortly after that when XDA Developers got its hands on a picture of a supposed pre-production Pixel 4a bootloader.
It should be noted that a phone that is very likely the Pixel 4a passed through two regulatory agencies and those agencies suggest the battery could be larger. According to the report, the Pixel 4a could have a 3,140 mAh battery and 18W charger. Thatâ€™s not a drastic difference from the previous 3,080mAh rumor, but the more battery the better!
Google Senior Vice President of Devices & Services Rick Osterloh Tweeted a cheeky screenshotÂ of a Fitbit badge on May 4, 2020. That screenshot was likely taken from a Pixel 4a. Check out the status bar for the details. Youâ€™ll see the blank spot on the top-left side of the status bar where the punch hole camera will be.
You tease https://t.co/HikpIy616a
â€” Android Authority (@AndroidAuth) May 4, 2020
As far as the Pixel 4a camera is concerned, a report from 9to5Google claims the handset will feature a 12.2MP rear-facing sensor with OIS and EIS, and the front-facing camera should be nigh identical to the Pixel 3aâ€™s 8MP sensor.
The report also claims the Pixel 4â€™s video recording specs should carry over to the Pixel 4a. That means the new budget handset should sport 1080p video recording at 30, 60, and 120fps; 720p at 240fps; and 4K at 30fps. 9to5â€™s information also affirms the rest of the spec information listed above, adding that the Pixel 4a could even come with a 128GB variant, it could tout Googleâ€™s Titan M security chip, and it should support 18W fast charging, though we shouldnâ€™t expect to see wireless charging support.
On April 30, TechnoLike Plusâ€™ Julio Lusson tweeted a handful of supposed Google Pixel 4a camera samples compared to the Redmi Note 7. Unsurprisingly, they look great compared to the Note 7â€™s camera samples.
Cual te gusta mas? pic.twitter.com/ULsU8pOlRo
â€” Julio Lusson (@julio_lusson) April 30, 2020
Then, on May 4, the same publication posted a full Pixel 4a camera review on YouTube, showing off the 4aâ€™s portrait mode capabilities, as well as astrophotography mode, Night Sight, dual exposure controls, and more.
Finally, there is one feature that we donâ€™t expect the Google Pixel 4a to have, which is Active Edge. This is the feature on Pixel phones that allows you to squeeze the edges to bring up the Google Assistant. It can also help you silence incoming calls, timers, notifications, and more. However, multiple sources suggest Google is abandoning this feature on the Pixel 4a and going with a double-tap gesture instead.
Thanks to TecnoLike Plusâ€™Â access to an early Pixel 4a unit, we also got a look at Googleâ€™s new wallpapers for the phone. The Pixel 4a will reportedly bring 16 new wallpapers with punchy, cheerful colors. Some of them have a sports-oriented theme, while others sport animal-themed designs and abstracts.
You can now download those Pixel 4a wallpapers from this link.
Google Pixel 4a: Price and availability
Over the past two years, Google has kept its flagship pricing simple and consistent: a $799 entry price for the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 4.
With that in mind, could Google try to do the same thing with the Google Pixel 4a series and keep it at the same pricing as the Pixel 3a series? If so, the expected pricing for the Pixel 4a would be around $399.
Google could possibly keep 2020 pricing the same as 2019 pricing. That's what it did with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4.
Reliable leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks) originally confirmed this would be the case. He posted the definitely fake promotional billboard images below to show the confirmation:
However, Blass could be wrong, or at least newer information suggests the $399 price is not happening. The good news is, though, that it looks like the price could be lower.
9to5Google posted a rumor from sources saying that the Google Pixel 4a starting price could be $349 for the 128GB storage option. The outlet also believes there will be a 64GB storage variant of the Pixel 4a. If so, we could see an even cheaper price tag on that one. Multiple storage versions would be a departure for Googleâ€™s mid-range phones though, as the Pixel 3a was only available in one option.
Later, a different piece of evidence popped up that suggests a $349 price for the Pixel 4a. This information came from a Google survey in which the entry-tier pricings of the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5 are strongly hinted. Honestly, this is probably the best evidence yet to support the idea that the Pixel 4a will be cheaper than the Pixel 3a, even with all the upgrades.
Even if these price estimations are incorrect, though, Google wonâ€™t go too high in price for the Pixel 4a. The whole point of the devices is to offer a cheap way to enter the Pixel ecosystem, so raising the prices too high would be counterintuitive. As such, itâ€™s extremely unlikely that Google would start Pixel 4a pricing any higher than $449.
Recently, two French retailers listed the Google Pixel 4a for sale on their platforms. The listings on Ordimedia and eStock.fr are for the 128GB Pixel 4a in Just Black and Blue colors. The price of the phone on both websites varies. One lists it for â‚¬441 (~$497), while the other prices the phone at â‚¬509 (~$574).
These rates are certainly much higher than the $399 starting price that weâ€™re expecting for the phone. The listings also suggest a July release date, but once again, everything depends on Googleâ€™s official announcement which may or may not take place in July. Weâ€™re also not familiar with these French retailers so we donâ€™t really trust the authenticity of these listings too much.
As for availability, thatâ€™s a tricky question. Google doesnâ€™t have the best track record when it comes to offering its devices in many places around the world. 9to5Google claims it will work on all major US carriers, and since the Pixel 4a is geared towards price-conscious consumers and developing markets, itâ€™s pretty much given the handset will also hit Europe and India.
Keep in mind that the Google Pixel 3a recently got discontinued entirely by Google. This is good evidence that the Pixel 4a is coming very soon and likely coming to most or all of the countries the Pixel 3a landed in last year.
Thoughts? What would you like to see from the Google Pixel 4a?