Google confirms Pixel 8a existence by revealing a feature that will launch with that device

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Google confirms Pixel 8a existence by revealing a feature that will launch with that device
Google has perhaps accidentally dropped a big hint about its upcoming Pixel 8a smartphone. While responding to a user-submitted bug report on its issue tracker, Google confirmed the Pixel 8a's existence and revealed a feature that will be unique to that phone and those launched in the future.

Pixel users enrolled in the Android 14 QPR beta program noticed in QPR1 Beta 1 a nifty new addition to the "About phone" section in their phone's Settings menu. This new section, called "Battery information" provided enhanced battery statistics, such as charging cycles and the battery's manufacture date. However, the feature vanished in the latest March 2024 Pixel update.

New "Battery information" page in Pixel phone settings | Credit: 9to5Google 

Believing this was a bug, beta testers promptly submitted bug reports via the Android Beta Feedback app, citing the disappearance of the recently rolled out battery health feature. However, as 9to5Google noticed, Google responded to this bug report by pointing out that this disappearance is deliberate.

According to Google, the new battery stats were never meant for currently released Pixel models. Instead, they're designed exclusively for the Pixel 8a and future Pixel phones. The exact response reads, "We only enable this page on Pixel 8a and beyond, so this is WAI (Working as Intended)."

This is, of course, a lot to unpack. Firstly, we should address the elephant in the room, which is the fact that a feature was given and then taken away. This prompted the outrage of Pixel users on that bug tracker page. They claim that this is a total lack of transparency on Google's part and a deliberate attempt to force users to unnecessarily upgrade to newer phones to get basic features.

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Aside from the controversy, this news also marks the first acknowledgement from Google that the Pixel 8a exists, a highly anticipated mid-range addition to the Pixel lineup. The Pixel 8a is rumored to be launched within the next few months, possibly aligning with Google I/O in May. It also suggests that Google plans to expand upon basic battery statistics, potentially introducing more in-depth battery health information on upcoming phones.

Header image via Smartprix

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