Google's mid-range Pixel 3 models will include a key component found in the high-end phones
According to a post on Reddit (via XDA), two new Google devices have been added to the Google Play Developer Console's Device Catalog. The latter is a list of phones that developers can choose to whitelist or blacklist from installing their apps. After phone manufacturers pass along information about their devices, Google curates the list. The new fishy names added are "bonito" and "sargo," which could be the code-names for the mid-range Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, respectively. Rumors about these phones started up as far back as last summer.
It appears that bonito is the smaller Pixel 3a model, which will reportedly carry a 5.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2160, and an aspect ratio of 18:9. The Snapdragon 670 Mobile Platform is said to power this device. The sargo, or the Pixel 3a XL, is believed to be equipped with a 6-inch display sporting a 1080×2220 resolution. That works out to an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. You should find the Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform under the hood of this device.
The new listings on the Google Play Developer Console's Device Catalog show that both models will be equipped with 4GB of RAM. They also will both be pre-installed with Android 9 Pie. The listings also reveal that the mid-rangers will have the Pixel Visual Core. Found on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 ranges, this is an ARM-based advanced image processing unit (IPU) that is designed by Google and manufactured by TSMC. This co-processor is used, among other things, to produce HDR+ photos. With HDR+, multiple exposures of a photo are taken at the same time and the Pixel Visual Core selects the best part of each exposure and combines it into one outstanding image. So there is a good chance that the cameras on the mid-range Pixel 3 units will be as good as those on the high-end models.
Another feature found in the Developer Console's Device Catalog mentions a Pixel 2019 mid-year experience. That would be a strong sign for us to expect the mid-rangers to be unveiled and launched in the middle of the year. Considering that the Google I/O developer conference will take place from May 7th through May 9th, we could see the phones announced at the event and then launched in June.
The mid-range Pixels will feature stock Android and be among the first to receive Android updates
And while this might be disappointing to some, a feature found in the Device Catalog includes the words Verizon and telephony in the same line. So it would appear that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will be exclusive to Verizon. However, if Google follows its MO, both new models will also be available from retailers like Best Buy and the online Google store. And like the high-end Pixels, the mid-range models should be compatible with all four major U.S. carriers.
Besides carrying on the Pixel tradition when it comes to photography, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will also give their owners certain advantages that Pixel owners are used to having. Both will come out of the box with stock Android, and the new Pixels will be among the first handsets to receive Android updates. That means that if Google does release these models, users will get to brag that they are running Android Q well before their pals have had their phones updated to Android 9 Pie.
We could see the Pixel 3a priced in the neighborhood of $400-$450 with the larger model tagged at $500-$550. The idea behind offering the mid-range Pixels is to get those with a lower amount budgeted for a phone, indoctrinated into the Pixel ecosystem. Once they get spoiled by the camera, the quick updates and stock Android, Google hopes that they will continue buying Pixel handsets and possibly move up to the high-end versions. Speaking of which, we expect the usual fourth quarter release for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
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