Update: March 13, 2020 (3:30 PM ET): The latest rumors suggest the Pixel 4a could see a substantial bump in storage read/write speeds over the Pixel 3a. Read on for more details!
Original: February 1, 2020 (6:00 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 it’s 2020, and all eyes are on the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL.
Ostensibly, the Pixel 4a series 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.
That’s a tall order, but Google seems up for the task. With the supposed launch of the Pixel 4a series only a few months away, we thought it was high time we compiled all the rumors we’ve found about the upcoming mid-rangers.
Below, you’ll find everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL. Be sure to bookmark this page as we’ll update it often as new rumors come to light.
Google Pixel 4a: Name and release date
Considering the Google Pixel series has stuck to the same naming convention since its inception, there’s little doubt as to the name of the upcoming mid-range entries in the series. Obviously, nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s a very safe bet we’ll see the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL launch in a few months.
But when exactly will they land? Google launched the Pixel 3a series at Google I/O 2019, so it seems reasonable to assume it will repeat that strategy in 2020. If so, that means Google will likely launch the new devices on or around May 12, which is when Google I/O 2020 was originally set to begin before it was canceled amid fears surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
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 fewer lenses (looks like just one). The white colorway, Google “G” logo, and orange-colored power button all carry over from the Pixel 4.
However, there are some differences here. The matte-black ring that envelopes the Pixel 4 body is absent, the selfie camera is housed in a display cutout, there’s a headphone jack present, and there’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.
A couple of months later, alleged photos of the smartphone matching these previous renders 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 could be an official Google Pixel fabric phone case. If this is true, this fabric cover is unlike any we’ve seen from Google before.
Unfortunately, we’re not fully convinced that the images above are 100% legit. If you look closely at them, there’s no visible speaker grille at the top of the phone to hear phone calls. Though it’s possible we just can’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 don’t show the clock where it’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 a device 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.
Speaking of the Pixel 4a “family,” where are the renders and images for the Pixel 4a XL? Early on in the rumor cycle, the word was that there actually wouldn’t be a Pixel 4a XL. Instead, the rumor was that Google would only launch one Pixel 4a device.
However, this rumor is sourced from a YouTuber who is not at all known for leaks. To make things even sketchier, the YouTuber in question doesn’t cite a source for his information. As such, we’re going to go ahead and ignore this rumor, at least for now.
Besides, we’ve heard some other rumors that not only suggest there will be at least two entries in the Google Pixel 4a family, but we even have a decent idea of what processors they’ll have on board. Read on for more!
Google Pixel 4a: Specs and features
With last year’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 shouldn’t expect the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL to be flagship powerhouses. But that’s kind of the point.
So far, the earliest hints on specs we have come from some software sleuthing performed by XDA Developers. They determined that there are three codenames related to the Pixel 4a series right now: Sunfish, Redfin, and Bramble. As usual, all three are fish-related.
As with the Pixel 3a, you shouldn't expect flagship specs with the Pixel 4a. After all, that's kind of the point.
Now, before you get excited thinking there will be three Pixel 4a devices, that is not likely. One of these devices (Bramble) is probably a development board — essentially a dummy tester device. The other two, Sunfish and Redfin, are likely real phones.
According to XDA’s further research, Sunfish is most likely the Google Pixel 4a, and it will probably tout the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 chipset. We’ve previously seen upper mid-range devices such as the Realme X2, Redmi K30, and the recent Samsung Galaxy A71 house the same SoC.
This 700-series chipset is an upgrade over the Pixel 3a’s Snapdragon 670. While the extra processing power would certainly be nice, hopefully, this wouldn’t raise the price too much (more on that later).
As for Redfin, it houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipset which is capable of 5G connections. This is interesting as it could possibly mean that the Google Pixel 4a will be 4G-only while the Pixel 4a XL will be 5G-ready. Or, it could mean that the YouTuber mentioned in the previous section was (sort of) right, and there could be no Pixel 4a XL — instead, there could be a Pixel 4a and a Pixel 4a 5G.
Either way, the upgraded chipsets hint that the Pixel 4a series could be more powerful than the Pixel 3a series.
The Pixel 4a’s SoC might not be the only chip 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 it’s too early to guarantee.
As far as other specs go, the recent hands-on video included above gives us the best glimpse into what we can expect. The video delivers some key system specs courtesy of the AIDA64 app. The app lists the Sunfish model name, Snapdragon 730 chipset, 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 isn’t exactly big for a budget phone in 2020, but it’s still bigger than the standard Pixel 4 battery. The handset’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.
Unfortunately, we still don’t know much about the camera system, other than the renders alluding to their only being one rear lens. Stay tuned for more rumors which will surely land in the coming weeks.
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 and an $899 entry price for the Google Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4 XL.
With that in mind, could Google try to do the same thing with the Pixel 4a series and keep it at the same pricing as the Pixel 3a series? If so, the expected pricing for the Google Pixel 4a would be $399 while the Pixel 4a XL would start at $479.
Google could possibly keep 2020 pricing the same as 2019 pricing. That's what it did with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4.
Recently leaked promotional material leads us to believe this will be the case. Reliable leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks) took to Twitter to share a few pictures of what looks like official Pixel 4a advertisements edited on top of existing billboards containing that $399 starting price point. Check them out:
Obviously these billboards are fake, but Blass has a trustworthy track record regarding leaks in the industry. It’s possible these promotional materials still contain the Pixel 4a’s accurate pricing information.
On the other hand, we have some pretty solid evidence to suggest that Google will be delivering a significant upgrade in the specs department for the Pixel 4a, which makes us think the pricing could go up. Certainly, if one of the devices is 5G-ready, that will definitely cause a slight increase in cost.
Ultimately, though, Google won’t go too high in price for the Pixel 4a series. 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, it’s extremely unlikely that Google would start Pixel 4a pricing any higher than $499. If it raises pricing at all, it will almost certainly still be sub-$500.
As for availability, that’s a tricky question. Google doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to offering its devices in many places around the world. However, since the Pixel 4a is geared towards price-conscious consumers and developing markets, it’s pretty much a given the phones will hit the United States, Europe, and India.
Thoughts? What would you like to see from the Google Pixel 4a and 4a XL?