Given everything that’s been going on, it may be a while yet before we get our hands on Google’s next mid-range phone.
While most of the major stats about the Pixel 4a, Google’s follow-up to its best-selling phone to date, have already been revealed thanks to a steady trickle of leaks, its official release date has largely remained a mystery.
For a while, the running theory was that Google would debut the Pixel 4a at Google I/O in May, as it did last year with the Pixel 3a. That rumored release date got bumped to the summer after the coronavirus outbreak prompted Google, along with many other event organizers, to switch gears and swap its yearly in-person meet-up for a live-streamed presentation. Now, noted phone leaker Jon Prosser claims he’s found evidence to suggest that was wishful thinking.
“AGAIN, it seems Google has delayed Pixel 4a,” he tweeted this weekend. “Announcement still happening on July 13, [b]ut in the system, it’s listed that the ‘Black’ model now launching October 22.” He added that the records don’t mention a rumored “Barely Blue” model at all, suggesting that Google may have dropped it entirely.
“I waited all week to report this to see if it was an error in the system,” Prosser continued in a second tweet. “But I’ve confirmed it multiple times at this point. Keeping a close eye on things and with the way things are going, it could be changed again.”
Such a delay would square with how Google’s handled another high-profile announcement, the release of Android 11's public beta, which the company postponed last month amid ongoing protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In a tweet announcing the news, Google said that “now is not the time to celebrate.”
It’s true, now hardly seems the time to geek out over the latest tech gadget. Though I can’t help but think that, given all these purported delays and the flood of leaks we’ve already seen, Google has to have the Pixel 4a all ready to go at this point and is just waiting for the go-ahead to start shipping them out. Prosser suggests as much, adding that holding off on the Pixel 4a until the fall will probably postpone the launch of Google’s flagship phone, the Pixel 5, as well. Obviously it’s all just conjecture at this point, but it would make sense for this delay to have a domino effect on Google’s schedule of releases (not unlike what we’ve seen with Marvel’s chain of superhero flicks).
You can check out our previous coverage on the Pixel 4a’s rumors and leaked specs here. The word is Google’s upgraded it to a punch-hole selfie cam to widdle down those bezels, added a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor, and included a built-in Titan M security chip and the option for wireless charging. As for the price, the Pixel 4a (looks like no XL version, sadly) is rumored to start as low as $349, an aggressive price point that undercuts its main competitor, the iPhone SE, which is Apple’s re-entry into the budget smartphone market.
Given the runaway success of Google’s last line of budget phones, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, the company has a whole lot riding on this launch. So it’s not a surprise that Google would rather be careful and bide its time, at least until the world’s a little less on fire.