Every day we’re getting closer to the expected launch of the Google Pixel 4a with July the month many assume it’ll finally get an announcement and possibly be available to buy. It’s been a long road to release for this device and you can find all the latest rumours, leaks and release information below.
The big news is that the Pixel 3a is now listed as ‘out of stock’ on the US Google Store, and while you can still pick one up on the UK version of the storefront this does hint that Google is set to replace its affordable mid-range device very soon.
That fits with lots of the current rumours that hint at a July unveiling of the Pixel 4a. If the 4a does come this month, then it’s going to have lots of competition from the likes of the OnePlus Nord and the rumoured Moto G 5G Plus. Both of these devices are meant to have 5G support, which could instantly put the Pixel 4a at a disadvantage. Both those devices could also pack a faster display than the one we expect to see on the Pixel 4a.
Read on for all of the leaks and rumours we’ve heard about the Pixel 4a so far and a look at when we might actually see it hit shelves.
Pixel 4a release date – An announcement in July is looking likely
We’re now in July, the month many expect the Pixel 4a to get its official debut. however there are no guarantees the launch won’t be delayed again has seemingly happened on multiple occasions in the lead up the much-rumoured launch.
Even if we do see the Pixel 4a announced in July (July 13 is the day that has been suggested) there is now some talk that the phone itself won’t actually be available to buy until October. This comes from the recently very reliable Jon Prosser.
It seems like the phone is edging towards release as an unidentified Google phone has just passed through the FCC, this comes by way of XDAdevelopers. The phone has also gained some other certifications in the form of IMDA and BIS, both of which give us more details about the device. BIS certification suggests that the phone might get an official release in India.
There’s a lot that seems odd about this news. For one, having such a long gap between when a phone is announced and then released is strange and couldn’t do Google any favours. Previous rumours had suggested the devices were ready to be shipped – so why would there be such a wait? The tweet also mentions that the ‘Barely Blue’ colour option has been ditched entirely, meaning the phone will ship in black and nothing else.
This news could also see a delay of the Pixel 5, which would usually be announced in October itself. Maybe Google will end up renaming the Pixel 4a to the Pixel 5a and we’ll see it launch alongside the flagship device? It’s a possibility, however doubtful.
Pixel 4a specs – How fast will the Pixel 4a be?
If you want a quick run-through of what specs we expect to sit inside the Pixel then take a look at the lists below. Of course, nothing has been confirmed yet and we won’t know the full internals until Google officially announces the device.
- Display: 5.81-inch, 2340 x 1080 screen, 60Hz refresh rate
- Camera: 12-megapixel (back), 8-megapixel (front)
- Battery size: 3080mAh
- Chipset: Snapdragon 730
- 5G: No
- Pixel 4a XL: No
Pixel 4a price – Will it cost more than the Pixel 3a?
As mentioned above, we loved the Pixel 3a, and it was a runaway success for Google too. It launched with an RRP of £399, with the Pixel 3a XL costing £469 − roughly half as much as the Pixel 3 (£739) and Pixel 3 XL (£869), which didn’t sell particularly well.
In its Q2 2019 earnings call on July 25, just three months after the launch of the Pixel 3a range, Google revealed that the 3a and 3a XL had already more than doubled sales of its handsets year-on-year. Doubled. In just three months.
And there could be a lot riding on the Pixel 4a too. The Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL, to put it bluntly, were enormously disappointing additions to the Pixel line, and comments made during Alphabet’s Q4 2019 earnings call suggested that the Pixel 4 range might be even less popular than the Pixel 3 range was.
All of which could mean that when the Pixel 4a arrives, it might be under pressure to rescue the Pixel brand all over again.
The Pixel 3a is still one of the best mid-range phones on the market right now, and the reliable tipster Evan Blass appears to have got his hands on materials that confirm the Pixel 4a will start at $399. He tweeted the mockup images above that claim the 4a will cost the same amount as the 3a. While those aren’t real billboards, we’re hoping that price details are legitimate.
According to 9to5Google though, the Pixel 4a will start at $349 (128GB) in the US, which would be $50 cheaper than the base price of the Pixel 3a, with twice as much storage. It’s also possible there’ll be a 64GB version of the Pixel 4a, but doesn’t appear as if any of the 4a models will be expandable via microSD.
The aforementioned early listings by French retailers also give us an idea as to how much the 4a might cost. eStock.Fr listed the handset at €441.65, while Ordimedia appeared to be asking for €573.01 (with the 20% sales tax). That would leave the 4a priced at between £399 and £518 for 128GB − so about in line with what has been rumoured.
The existence of a Pixel 4a XL is, for the first time, in doubt. It has reportedly been cancelled, with the renders above claiming to show what the handset would have looked like.
We’re not entirely convinced, however.
Pixel 4a camera – Will this be the best camera at its price?
The best thing about the Pixel 3a is that it uses pretty much the same camera setup as the flagship Pixel 3. However, this won’t be the case this time around.
Multiple leaks have shown that the Pixel 4a will have a single rear camera, rather than adopting the multi-sensor setup seen on the Pixel 4.
But don’t be too disheartened. That more modest camera configuration could still be capable of smoking most of the competition. After all, much of what makes Google’s cameras so impressive is on the processing, rather than the actual hardware.
That TechnoLike Plus video embedded on this page shows a large plastic camera bump that only contains a single 12-megapixel lens and flash combo. But the site has high praise for it.
9to5Google agrees, but adds that the selfie camera is an 8-megapixel sensor, and that video recording specs are the same as what the Pixel 4 offers (1080p@30fps, 60fps and 120fps; 720p@240fps; and 4K@ 30fps for the rear camera; and 1080p@30fps for the selfie camera.
XDA Developers discovered code in the Google Camera 7.3 update that mentions “pixel_20_mid_range” and suggests the Pixel 4a will give users the option to shoot video at 24fps − which is the traditional standard for films and TV shows.
Pixel 4a specs and features – What chipset will be inside?
The latest specs leaks surrounding the Pixel 4a seem to confirm it’ll pack the usual staples of NFC, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. However, it also seems to end any thought of this phone being a 5G device. While we are seeing many affordable 5G phones hit the market it looks like the Pixel 4a will be purely 4G.
The 4a was apparently already available for purchase in a Cuban store way back March. That apparently allowed Spanish language blog TechnoLike Plus to post a hands-on video review that claims to reveal all of the Pixel 4a’s key specs and features.
The top-line information is that a Snapdragon 730 processor will be doing the heavy lifting, combined with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage that unfortunately cannot be boosted by an external microSD card. The site gets the info by running a benchmarking test, which also reveals a 3080mAh battery.
You may have heard that Google is reportedly working on its own processors for use in Pixel smartphones, but this isn’t likely to happen until next year. The chip is apparently code-named Whitechapel and has been built in collaboration with Samsung, which makes its own Exynos processors for Galaxy phones and is involved with Apple’s A-series chips too.
Courtesy of the video, we’ve also got all of the information we need about the display. The site says it’s a 5.81-inch, 2340 x 1080 panel, with a 60Hz refresh rate, and a pixel density of 443ppi.
These specs have also been corroborated by a 9to5Google report published in April (and others since), which adds that there will be a 128GB version of the phone too.
In early May, Rick Osterloh, the head of Google’s hardware division, sent out the apparently perfectly straightforward tweet embedded above.
Closer examination of the screenshot, however, drops a hint over which smartphone he was using at the time. There’s a space to the left of the clock, which would suggest a punch hole display. Which Pixel phone is widely tipped to be the first to rock a punch hole display? Why, it’s the Pixel 4a, of course!
Yes, that’s the same Rick Osterloh who criticised the Pixel 4’s battery before its launch. “At a hardware team all-hands meeting in the fall, ahead of the October launch in New York, Osterloh informed staff about his own misgivings,” The Information has reported. “He told them he did not agree with some of the decisions made about the phone, according to two people who were present at the meeting. In particular, he was disappointed in its battery power.”
Unfortunately, Google either chose not to, or didn’t have enough time to, do something about it. Hopefully he’s enjoying the Pixel 4a a little more.
TechnoLike Plus’ video also shows a USB-C port, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and the retention of the headphone jack on top of the device, just like the Pixel 3a.
In March, two purported real-life pictures of a Pixel 4a handset were published on Slashleaks.
They tally up very neatly with all of the rumours above, and a series of renders created by a digital artist known as Concept Creator, for Dutch tech site LetsGoDigital. Those, however, are essentially rumours in picture form.
There’s a video too, which shows what the handset could look like in different colours, including black, white, orange, purple and blue. We’ve embedded it right at the bottom of this page.
Visible in some reports is a single rear camera, albeit one housed in a raised square section like its siblings (more on this in the following section).
The single camera on the front, meanwhile, is now a hole-punch style snapper tucked away in the top left-hand corner of the screen, disposing of the forehead bezel that was present on the 4.
Related: Best camera phones
According to XDA Developers, the Pixel 4a could use UFS 2.1 flash storage, which should allow for better power efficiency, faster file transfers, and speedier app loading and installation speeds, in comparison to the Pixel 3a. It seems like this phone will be missing the Soli radar from the Pixel 4 too, though that’s hardly something to get too upset about.
Phone case maker ESR recently released a case listing for the Pixel 4a with a render that showed the smartphone on a wireless charging pad. Take this leak with a grain of salt, however, as wireless charging is usually one of the first features to go on budget versions of Android handsets.