Every Google Pixel smartphone has been made available to purchase in two sizes. On Monday, that strategy comes to an end with the introduction of the Google Pixel 4a, or at least that’s what everybody thought.
The Google Pixel 4a 5G will undercut the LG Velvet 5G
The smartphone that was previously known as the Google Pixel 5 XL is now understood to be the Google Pixel 4a 5G.
According to information provided by anonymous tipster
Ishan Agarwal, the midrange 5G smartphone will make its international debut this fall alongside the flagship Google Pixel 5.
High-end Pixel devices typically make their debut in early October. But this year virtually every manufacturer is facing COVID-19 delays, so an event in late October or early November seems much more likely.
The Google Pixel 4a 5G should launch shortly after the announcement and, if the information shared today is accurate, it will only cost $499 in the United States. That makes it $100 cheaper than both the LG Velvet 5G and Samsung Galaxy A71 5G.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G and two rear cameras
Despite the branding choice, reports suggest the Pixel 4a 5G will share some of its components with the flagship Google Pixel 5.
Both devices are said to incorporate the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, which has an integrated 5G modem. At least 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage are to be expected as standard too.
The camera is where things could be different. Although both the Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G are expected to feature two sensors on the back, the latter will most likely inherit its cameras from the current Pixel 4 flagships.
More differences can be found in the display department. Whereas the Pixel 5 is going to feature a 5.8-inch screen, the Pixel 4a 5G looks set to adopt a 6.1-inch display and will, therefore, take the place of the canceled Google Pixel 4a XL.
For those frustrated consumers patiently waiting for Google’s next mid-range phone – the Pixel 4a – to land, OnePlus’ new “Nord” handset must be tempting.
The iPhone SE’s siren song was strong enough to steal Android users away, maybe the Nord will be the final temptation for Android diehards who have a roll of notes burning a hole through their pockets.
But there is good reason to wait. Recent leaks have surprised us with the news that the Pixel 4a will support 5G connectivity, which means a much more powerful phone than expected. Of course, the Nord does too, so what else does Google’s new phone need to do to hold on to those patiently waiting fans?
It has gradually become clear how much of an advantage Google’s feature drop program has given the company. Past updates have delivered improved selfies, car crash detection, a new digital wallet and a feature that automatically screens your calls before you answer them – all at no extra cost. That same update program is now coming to its Pixel Bud earphones.
This guaranteed consistency of new AI-based features makes Google’s phones difficult to do battle with. They’re ever evolving and responding to new trends and user needs. Of course, other companies can do this, but they largely don’t. Or, at least, not to this frequency and not with so many new features.
Google also has an in-built advantage with its work in AI, from which most (perhaps all) of the feature updates we’ve seen since last December have come from. There’s a good chance that you’ll be surprised with a new and unusual addition to your phone that you didn’t expect every few months.
Fortunately for rivals, Google makes such fundamental mistakes elsewhere – in battery life (Pixel 4 XL), memory management (Pixel 3) and a criminal lack of camera sensor options (all Pixels), that this feature drop advantage is slightly dulled. But the Pixel “a” brand is slightly different, last year’s device wasn’t burdened with the mistakes of its more expensive siblings (save for the lack of a wide-angle camera). Combine that solid base with persistently adding new functionality to your already cheap phone and Google has a winning formula.
We don’t know what the headline price of the Pixel 4a will be, but previous leaks have pointed towards $399 (via a marketing image from reputable leaker Evan Blass), with further leaks then revising the price down to $350 after the iPhone SE launched.
If the new information about the 4a supporting 5G is accurate, then $350 is a steal, especially up against the Nord’s £379 (roughly $486). Obviously conversions aren’t always representative of what pricing would be in a certain territory, OnePlus could launch the Nord in the US for $379 for numeric consistency.
But what we do know is that Google is not shy about discounting its products. Last year’s Black Friday deals saw a square $100 off the Pixel 3a, there were also intermittent discounts throughout the year and a bundle deal on the Google UK store – at launch – that saw Pixel 3a purchases come with a free Nest Hub (read here why the Nest Hub Max has become such an important device in the last few weeks).
Google has this in its arsenal: a range of other products (laptops, smart home tech, headphones) it can bundle its phones with when times get desperate. I’d wager we’ll also see some good trade-in deals from Google, too (bizarrely, OnePlus doesn’t appear to accept Google Pixel phones for trade-in).
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve left camera ability out of the reasons why I think the Pixel 4a could be a better phone. We all know Google’s superiority in computational photography makes its phones the best on the market for stills, but the search company’s insistence on not including additional sensors – like a wide-angle lens – is grating, especially when competition like the Nord and Moto G 5G Plus have an array of (albeit inferior) sensors. We’ll have to see if it changes this long-held policy when the 4a finally lands.
the Pixel 4a has been spotted at the FCC. Once again, the latest Pixel will use an e-label and there are three model numbers: G025J, G025M, and G025N. The first model number is presumed to be for U.S. variants of the phone while the other two designate models offered in other countries. Google filed the paperwork with the FCC on April 2nd.
The Google Pixel 4a is the runner up to last year’s red hot
Pixel 3a XL. For $399, consumers were buying the amazing Google photo processing prowess that gets more done with a single camera than many manufacturers can with a multiple rear-camera setup.
The FCC shares the frequency range for the Pixel 4a
The Pixel 4a (sorry boys and girls, Google doesn’t play the budget ‘XL’ game any more) is expected to hit the market wearing a 5.81-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2340. That works out to an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The phone should be powered by the Snapdragon 730 chipset and sport 6GB of memory, a 50% hike from last year’s model. We could see versions of the phone with 64GB and 128GB of storage.Here’s a stunner. The expected battery capacity of 3080mAh is larger than the 2800mAh battery on the full-size
Pixel 4! The Pixel 4a is rumored to feature the same 12.2MP primary and 16MP telephoto cameras seen on the back of the Pixel 4.
Now that we know that the FCC has given a thumbs up for the Pixel 4a, the unveiling shouldn’t be that far away. Earlier this week, we told you that listings for the phone published by a couple of etailers in Europe
hinted at an early July release for the handset. We should point out that the FCC did not mention the Soli radar chip like it did when the Pixel 4 series passed through its doors. The FCC regulates the mmWave frequencies that Soli runs on. However, this really is not a major surprise since we didn’t see any hint that the feature would be available for the Pixel 4a.
While all eyes were on the Android 11 beta yesterday, Google also made a subtle change to the Pixel series’ catalog of past updates, adding links to the Android Flash Tool for every update.
Earlier this year, Google unveiled the Android Flash Tool as an entirely too easy way for Android users to flash the newest AOSP builds onto their Pixel phone. Using the fully web-based tool, you no longer need to install specialized Android developer tools like ADB in order to flash a new build of Android.
For the Android 11 Developer Previews and Beta 1, Google has repurposed the Android Flash Tool to allow Pixel owners to install the pre-release software onto their phone. But if you ever wanted or needed to downgrade — such as to regain access to Google Pay — you’re stuck performing a somewhat convoluted process.
As of last night, the Google Pixel factory images page — in addition to its normal role of providing downloads for the full system files of Pixel phones — has been updated to include Android Flash Tool links for every past update on the Pixel 2 and newer. That means with just a USB cable and a few clicks in your browser, you can revert your Pixel from Android 11 Beta back to Android 10.
Similarly, if for whatever reason, you want to remember what your phone was like at a previous point in time, you can revert devices like the Pixel 2 all the way back to the original build of Oreo that it shipped with in 2017, using the Android Flash Tool. Importantly though, any time you move backwards to an older version of Android, your phone’s data will be wiped. With that in mind, be sure to back up your files regularly and use the Android Flash Tool responsibly.
Or, if you’re not sure which version is the right one for you and your device, Google has also created a handy “back to public” link which automatically directs you to the latest version of Android available for your phone.
We’ve been seeing Pixel 4a leaks drop almost on a daily basis thanks to folks over at TecnoLike Plus who have an early unit. This time, rumors suggest that Google’s new mid-ranger will be ditching a legacy Pixel feature that’s been around since the Pixel 2 – Active Edge.
Active Edge allows you to squeeze the edges of your Pixel phones to bring up the Google Assistant. It can also help you silence incoming calls, timers, notifications, and more.
Now, we hear that the early Pixel 4a unit with TecnoLike Plus‘ Julio Lusson does not have the Active Edge feature. Its absence from the upcoming Google phone has also been confirmed by 9to5Google’sStephen Hall.
Can confirm that Active Edge is not available on @julio_lusson‘s Pixel 4a.
We’re not sure if this double-tap gesture will land on all older Pixel phones, but it seemingly doesn’t require any special hardware – just the phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope. The feature could either debut on Android 11 or the new Pixel 4a, with the Android 11 beta and new phone expected to launch at roughly the same time.
Pixel 4a: It’s Google’s time to shine (Update: Video!)
The universe is conspiring in helping Google achieve success. The sixth phone in the Pixel family will launch very soon, and I think that, despite the bleak circumstances, it will be Google’s most successful release yet. Of …
Meanwhile, the demise of Active Edge could actually be a good thing. The feature hasn’t been very consistent across the Pixel line, with many users complaining from time-to-time that it stops working or triggers accidentally. You can read some of those complaints on Google’s own forums, XDA forums, and Reddit.
That’s not to say users didn’t enjoy Active Edge. Many have previously taken to Reddit to appreciate it, going as far as saying that they’ll switch brands if Google does away with it.
What do you think of Google’s Active Edge feature? Should the company ditch it on the Pixel 4a and other future phones? Take our quick poll below and give us your thoughts.
With Google’s new Pixel Buds, there is one thing we didn’t know all of our other earbuds were missing – a completely hands-free Google Assistant built in. While they have their flaws, they are available starting today, in clearly white, for $179 with Almost Black, Quite Mint and Oh so Orange coming “later” says Google.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy here: http://bit.ly/2TQsqjB