In 2019 Google launched a more affordable handset to its Pixel line, the Pixel 3a. It looks like there’s going to be a follow-up in 2020, a cheaper version of the Pixel 4, called the PIxel 4a.
But this phone is also steeped in mystery, with its failure to launch raising a lot of questions about where it has got to – and if it’s going to launch at all…
Release date and price
- 3 August announcement?
- $399 and €509 prices have appeared
Nothing has been said about when we might see the Pixel 4a launch so far, but the Pixel 3a was announced at Google I/O 2019. Google I/O 2020 was cancelled and a range of suggested dates seem to have slipped past. A rumoured 13 July announcement has passed, and 3 August is now the best date that we have.
A device thought to be the Pixel 4a has passed through the FCC, suggesting that a launch might happen isome time in July or August.
There’s also been the suggestion that Google might be holding the Pixel 4a and turning it into the Pixel 5a. It might launch at Google’s October hardware event instead, as an affordable version of the new Pixel 5.
I received info this week that there might not be a Pixel 4A at all. There may just end up being 3 models in the Pixel 5 Series but I wasn’t able to reveal this as there was no solid confirmation. Well, even if the #Pixel4A launches, the name may be changed.
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) June 13, 2020
The price also appeared at $399, but then a retailer listing but the price at €509, which is way different. Ultimately, we don’t know how much it’s going to cost, but we are expecting it to be at the affordable end of the scale.
- 144.2 x 69.5 x 8.2mm
- Three colours
- Polycarbonate body
Thanks to some detailed renders and photo leaks – as well as the appearance of an official image on the Google Store – we have a good idea of what this phone will look like. It doesn’t throw up too many surprises, but it’s worth mentioning that the given dimensions suggest that it’s slightly smaller than the Pixel 3a. However, the display – while not edge-to-edge – cuts down the forehead and chin of the 2019 phone, so the display is likely to be larger.
There’s a fingerprint scanner on the rear and it looks like it’s going to have a plastic or polycarbonate body – something that’s seen wide confirmation.
Also interesting is that Google looks to be pushing a pronounced camera bump here, with a single camera and flash in the black housing on the rear. That does, at least, give some familial design link to the Pixel 4. All these elements from the renders appear to match leaked images of the phone.
Originally there was reported to be three colours: black with a lime button, white with an orange button and finally a teal version with a hot pink button. It’s now thought that it will be Just Black and Barely Blue as the two colour options.
An interesting detail is the 3.5mm headphone socket, something many flagship phones now omit.
Three codenames have been uncovered that could point to different Pixel 4a models, but at the moment, most of the focus appears to be on one device, codenamed Sunfish. There’s also been a rumour that there will only be one size of Pixel 4a this time around.
- 5.81-inch display, 2340 x 1080 pixels
- Punch hole camera
- OLED, 60Hz
The display on the Pixel 4a is expected to be flat, with slimmed down bezels and no notch. Instead, there’s going to be a punch hole for the front camera, something that we’ve not seen on a Pixel before.
It’s said to be a 60Hz display and thought to be OLED. The resolution is the expected 1080p, which should be just fine on this size of device.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, 4G
- 6GB RAM, 64/128GB storage
- 3080mAh battery
The discovery of some new codenames – Sunfish, Bramble – fit the codenames for Pixel devices, along with hardware details. There’s been code leaks that pair the Pixel 4a (Sunfish) with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, which would be 4G. This has popped up a couple of times so seems more certain than the other devices and matches leaked specs from an early hands-on. We’ve also seen a Geekbench reading suggesting Snapdragon 730 and 6GB RAM for Sunfish.
To round out the specs you 64 or 128GB of storage, which should fit this affordable device nicely. There’s said to a 3080mAh battery which sounds a little on the small side, but the Pixel 3a had a 3000mAh battery and we found that performed well enough. Given the mid-range specs, it will probably be sufficient.
As to the other codenamed phones, they included a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 device, the platform with integrated 5G, although it’s now thought these might be the Pixel 5, rather than a 5G Pixel 4a.
- 12.2-megapixel main camera
- 8-megapixel front camera
From the renders we can see a single camera in the rear housing, along with the LED flash. We can fairly safely assume that this is the same camera unit as the Pixel 4 – that’s the point of these phones after all – to give you access to those camera skills at a lower price point.
In that sense, you can expect to find a 12.2-megapixel 1.4µm sensor with f/1.7 lens and optical image stabilisation. It will likely have all the AI skills of the Pixel 4, like Night Sight. The first samples have appeared online from this camera and it looks really good.
The front camera in the display is likely to be an 8-megapixel 1.22µm sensor with f/2.0 lens and some rare bokeh skills, but this is all still to be confirmed.
Google Pixel 4a rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here are all the rumours surrounding the Pixel 4a so far.
13 July 2020: Google Pixel 4a picture appears on Google Store, leaving us wanting more
What appear to be official images of the Google Pixel 4a have appeared on the Google Store.
10 July 2020: Google Pixel 4a launch slips again, might now be August
A Twitter leaker has suggested that the Pixel 4a will now arrive in August.
Pixel 4a has slipped again
Announcement was supposed to be happening July 13 (Monday), but just got bumped.
What we can see in the system now is announcement happening on August 3
The mystery continues…
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) July 10, 2020
3 July 2020: Google Pixel 4a passes through certification, has bigger battery than 3a
The Google Pixel 4a has passed through a couple of certification bodies, adding details to the growing list of specs for the elusive phone.
2 July 2020: Google has sold out of the Pixel 3a
Google has sold all of its inventory of the Pixel 3a, leading many to assume that the replacement if coming soon.
25 June 2020: Google Pixel 4a FCC filing appears: Is a launch imminent?
Passing through the FCC is a device thought to be the Pixel 4a, suggesting that a launch is going to happen very soon.
22 June 2020: Google Pixel 4a colour options and European pricing leaked
A French retailer has listed the PIxel 4a in black and blue colours, while also putting a price on it. The suggested shipping date of 7 July also raises questions.
13 June 2020: Uncertainty about the launch of the Pixel 4a appears
With the Pixel 4a not launching as planned, there’s growing rumours that it might not launch at all – or might become a cheaper version of the Pixel 5 launched later in 2020.
21 May 2020: Twitter leaker suggest 13 July launch date
The release date for the Pixel 4a seems to have slipped and slipped and one Twitter leaker thinks he knows the new date.
Was originally May, then got pushed to June, now pushed again.
“Just Black” & “Barely Blue”
Current plan for announcement:
BTW – just 4G.
(Sorry to kill the 5G rumors)
Seems like they’re ready to ship. The decision is mostly based on market analysis.
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 21, 2020
4 May 2020: Pixel 4a pictures reveal detailed design features
Detailed renders give us another look at what the Pixel 4a might look like.
2 May 2020: Google Sunfish passes through Geekbench
A device with the Sunfish codename – thought to be the Pixel 4a – has been benchmarked on Geekbench, suggesting this phone is close to launch as people are getting access to it. There’s 6GB RAM and the details suggest a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, according to the details.
1 May 2020: First Google Pixel 4a photos suggest it will have a killer camera
Photos have been shared on Twitter reportedly from the Google Pixel 4a and they look great.
Cual te gusta mas? pic.twitter.com/ULsU8pOlRo
— Julio Lusson (@julio_lusson) April 30, 2020
29 April 2020: Pixel 4a could go on sale on 22 May
It’s reported that internal documents from Vodafone Germany that the Pixel 4a will go on sale on 22 May.
13 April 2020: Google Pixel 4a spec-dump reveals everything but release date for mid-ranger
A comprehensive leak detailing the Pixel 4a specs lands, giving us a lot more information about what to expect.
09 April 2020: Google Pixel 4a packaging appears, suggesting imminent release
Imaging that appears to show the Pixel 4a in retail packaging has leaked online, suggesting that the phone will be launching soon.
11 March 2020: This is how much Google’s Pixel 4a will cost
A billboard mock-up has shown off the new Pixel 4a, including the $399 price.
11 March 2020: Pixel 4a completely leaks out thanks to ‘review’ video detailing key features
There’s nothing like a video of an unreleased handset to reveal the details – and that’s exactly what’s happened.
9 March 2020: Google Pixel 4a shows up in some new leaked photos
The Pixel 4a has appeared in a selection of leaked photos, including a fabric cover.
4 March 2020: Is this the Google Pixel 4a in hands-on images?
Images have appeared that might show the Pixel 4a, but they don’t come from an established source, so could well be faked.
4 March 2020: Pixel 4a manufacture reportedly moved to Vietnam
Reports are suggesting that Google has moved production of the Pixel 4a to Vietnam to ease the pressure on closed Chinese production lines.
20 February 2020: Renders show what the Google Pixel 4a could look like
Another set of rumour-based renders paints a picture of what we might get from the Pixel 4a.
7 February 2020: Google Pixel 4a is the “Sunfish” phone we’ve been hearing about
More code leaks have linked the Sunfish name to the Pixel 4a, and dispel the 5G rumours.
24 January 2020: Pixel codenames found in updated Google Camera app
The codenames for future Pixel devices have been discovered again by XDA Developers, this time in code from the new Google Camera app. In this case, they appear in a string called “pixel_20_mid_range” basically confirming that Bramble and Sunfish are those Pixel a devices.
23 January 2020: Google I/O 2020 date revealed
Google has confirmed the date for its Google I/O conference. The previous version of this phone was announced at this event in 2019.
17 January 2020: Google Pixel 4a might launch with 5G variant
Codenames along with hardware platform details have been discovered, which suggest that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 device is in development, meaning a 5G phone. There’s three codenames, so we could see three Pixel 4a devices.
7 January 2020: Pixel 4a case leaks show a familiar design
What appear to be images of a case design have appeared for the Pixel 4a.
3 January 2020: YouTuber claims one size, three colours
YouTuber Dave Lee claims to have some insider information on the new Pixel 4a and that there’s not going to be a Pixel 4a XL.
30 December 2019: Pixel 4a leak revives Google’s desirable mid-range handset
Renders of the Pixel 4a from a reliable source have given us a good look at this future phone from Google.