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Google could launch the Pixel 4a much earlier than expected

Google might unveil the Pixel 4a alongside the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL according to a sneaky line of code hidden in the Google Camera app.

9to5Google reports that it has discovered a reference to ‘Needlefish’ − believed to be a codename for the 4a − in the seventh version of the Google Camera app on a pre-released Pixel 4 handset, with hints that the 4a getting released this year.

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The term “isPixelNeedlefish” was reportedly spotted beneath the header “isPixel2019” in a line on code on the unreleased version of the Google Camera app.

While this isn’t the first time the word ‘Needlefish’ has popped up in relation to the Pixel 4. We first heard the codenames ‘Coral’, ‘Flame’ and ‘Needlefish’ back in April.

But this is the first time we’ve seen the device listed alongside the ‘Coral’ Pixel 4 and the ‘Flame’ Pixel 4 XL as another 2019 device.

The term has appeared in relation to ‘qcom’ in the past, suggesting that – whatever Needlefish is – it’ll need a Qualcomm processor but beyond that there really isn’t much info out there to go off of.

Google has just started sending out invitations for its October launch event, with the Pixel 4 and the 4 XL expected to be unveiled on the day. If Needlefish is indeed another 2019 smartphone, it seems likely that we’ll hear about it at the same event.

The Pixel 3a only launched in May – but, as 9to5Google notes, it was initially meant to be released alongside the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. A 4a release could signify a return to the original multiple price-point release schedule Google had apparently planned to adopt, and allow the company to follow in the footsteps of its main competitors, Apple and Samsung in recent years.

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Of course, Needlefish could be another mobile device altogether, such as a Pixel-branded tablet or smartwatch. We’ll have to wait until October 15 to find out more.

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