Google's Pixel 4 XL phone

The Pixel 4 XL.


Stephen Shankland/CNET

With Android 11 public beta available now and a final version potentially launching on Sept. 8, Google is ramping up its mobile updates. That is likely to include follow-ups to its midrange Pixel line too, expected to be called the Pixel 4A and 4A XL. In May of last year, Google launched the Pixel 3A and 3A XL. It was the Pixel phones’ first foray into a more affordable price bracket — and perhaps Google’s return to the cheaper Nexus days of yore

The strategic move worked and the Pixel 3A doubled Google’s Pixel sales by that summer. As such, we expect sequels to them soon. In addition, Google’s rivals released a number of its own midtier handsets, including Apple’s iPhone SE, the Samsung Galaxy A51 and the sub-$300 Moto G Power and G Stylus

More than ever, phone-makers are targeting people on tighter budgets, who might otherwise have just held onto their old phone for another year. Google’s Pixel “A” line offers a viable alternative for Android users looking for a Pixel phone experience at a lower cost. In anticipation of Google’s expected announcement of the Pixel 4A and 4A XL, we gathered the most compelling and interesting rumors about the devices. And until the launch happens, check back often as we update the roundup.

Pixel 4A price: $399 looks probable

Last year’s Pixel 3A cost $399, £399 and AU$649; the 3A XL cost $479, £469 and AU$799. It wouldn’t be surprising if Google kept the same pricing model this year for its Pixel 4A phones. The reasons are twofold: Raising the price of a device specifically geared towards more budget-minded users would be an odd move. Second, premium phone makers seem to consider $399 a good price mark. Apple’s iPhone SE, for example, is $399 as is Samsung’s Galaxy A51. A mock billboard showing the $399 price posted by tech leaker Evan Blass also noted the same price.

In addition, Stephen Hall of 9to5Google tweeted that the Pixel 4A could be even cheaper, starting at $349 instead. This would make it even more competitive against the iPhone SE and would attract more budget-minded users.

Pixel 4A running Android 10, maybe Android 11?

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John Kim/CNET

Google usually unveils its latest mobile OS in May, during its annual developers conference known as Google I/O
. Due to COVID-19 concerns, however, the in-person event was canceled this year. Now Android 11 beta is publicly available. Optimistically, the Pixel 4A could run the finalized version of Android 11 right out of the box. However, the timeline may be too short. What may happen instead is that the Pixel 4A runs Android 10 by the time it gets into users hand, but will be updated to Android 11 later on. This would make sense since last year, the Pixel 3A ran Android 9, which was publicly released in 2018, despite the third beta version of Android 10 being announced the same day as the Pixel 3A at I/O. 

Pixel 4A release date: Could be July or later

With the launch of the Pixel 3A being the only reference to go on, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact launch date for the Pixel 4A. Last year the phone debuted in May, but that month has since came and gone. (One report from German site Caschys Blog predicted the phone would launch on May 22 in Europe, which obviously ended up being untrue.)

Later it was suspected that Google would announce it on June 3, which was the same date the company said it was going to unveil Android 11. Google later canceled the event altogether and June also passed with no Pixel announcement. Now it’s July and David Ruddock of Android Police tweeted that the phone would be delayed until July, but at this rate it can be later than that.

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The Pixel 4A may have a hole-punch notch and cost $399. 


Evan Blass

Pixel 4A and 5G?

On July 10, code in the latest beta version of Google’s Search app was spotted that included several device codenames. One of these included an item for a “Pixel 4A (5G),” according to 9to5Google. Google has remained mum about its 5G plans, and it’d be surprising if the company decided that the midlevel Pixel 4A would be its first 5G phone; one would think it would save a marquee feature for the upcoming Pixel 5 flagship (expected in October). But thanks to Qualcomm’s more affordable Snapdragon 765 chipset, cheaper phones can have 5G connectivity and inexpensive 5G phones are already available (like the Coolpad Legacy 5G  and the TCL 10 5G), so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. 

Pixel 4A design: Maybe hole-punch camera, headphone jack

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Will the Pixel 4A also have that big Pixel 4 camera bump?


Sarah Tew/CNET

There’s no way of knowing what the Pixel 4A officially looks like at this point, but rendered images of the device from Indian tech website 91Mobiles show the phone with a hole-punch camera and a headphone jack. The hole-punch camera would be consistent with the billboard mockups mentioned earlier, and is a trendy design that is featured on recent Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 phones. Supposed leaked images of Google’s Pixel 4A’s wallpaper, reported by XDA Developers and the YouTube channel TecnoLike Plus, also suggest a hole-punch camera. Keeping the headphone jack wouldn’t be too unexpected since the Pixel 3A also has one. But because more and more phones don’t have the audio port, including the Pixel 4, Google could go either way with keeping it or leaving it off on the Pixel 4A.

Pixel 4A camera: May have same dual cameras as Pixel 4

One of the most compelling things about the Pixel 3A was that it had the same excellent camera as the Pixel 3, and it would make sense for Google to pack the Pixel 4A with the same camera hardware as the Pixel 4. That may include two rear cameras (a 12.2-megapixel standard camera and a 16-megapixel telephoto lens) as well as an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. But don’t be too surprised if Google decides to mix it up by not copying itself exactly. Last year, it didn’t carry over the second wide-angle front-facing camera that was on the Pixel 3 to the Pixel 3A, and it debuted a time-lapse video mode on the Pixel 3A that was new to Pixel phones.





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