Hot rumor: Google to release just one mid-range Pixel model this year

Hot rumor: Google to release just one mid-range Pixel model this year
Google shook up the handset industry last year with the release of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, mid-range versions of its flagship models. While the company cut some corners to come in at the price point that it did (plastic build, no IP rating, one configuration for each model with 64GB of storage) it kept the image processing capabilities found on the Pixel 3 series. As a result, consumers could purchase a stock Android handset providing one of the best photography experiences on a smartphone for as low as $399. And of course, these devices would be among the first to receive Android updates (in theory).

The phones sold very well leading many to speculate that Google would once again return to the mid-range market for the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL. And last week, a CAD-based render of the Pixel 4a surfaced with a design that many thought was a major improvement over the Pixel 4. Face Unlock was apparently shelved for the mid-range model allowing for the return of the rear-facing fingerprint scanner. And the render of the Pixel 4a revealed a 3.5mm earphone jack. One feature found on the Pixel 4 family that is coming to the Pixel 4a is the new camera module found in the upper left-hand side of the back panel. However, the module sports only one camera and a flash compared to the two cameras employed on the flagship models.

Fresh rumor says that Google will cut the mid-range "XL" model this year

Now you might have been wondering about the lack of a Pixel 4a XL render and there could be a simple answer. According to a YouTube computer reviewer named Dave Lee who has over 2.5 million subscribers (via Android Police), the Pixel 4a series will include just the Pixel 4a. In other words, there will not be a Pixel 4a XL model according to Lee. Now, we have to take this with a grain of salt especially since he usually doesn't comment on unannounced phones.

Lee points out that the Pixel 3a has outsold the Pixel 3a XL most likely due to the $80 price differential between the two versions. He also notes that while the Pixel 4a will be smaller than the Pixel 3a at 144.2 x 69.5 x 8.2mm (not including a 9mm camera bump), it will carry a larger 5.81-inch display with a 1080p resolution. The Pixel 3a screen weighed in at 5.6-inches with a 1080 x 2220 FHD+ resolution. The upcoming model will feature a punch-hole selfie camera

According to Lee, the Pixel 4a will be available in black (with a green power button), white (with a coral power button) and an arctic blue version (with a hot pink power button). He also hypothesizes that the arctic blue option is being offered so that others will recognize the phone as a Pixel straight away. But the reviewer does make an interesting point that to the average John Doe on the street, it would seem that the Pixel 4a (as rumored) and the Pixel 4 were made by two different companies. It almost seems that Google looked at the Pixel 4 and said that it could get rid of many of the features it added to the flagship line this year such as Face Unlock and the Soli-powered Motion Sense. The result is a clean look for the next mid-range Pixel handset.

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As for pricing, Lee expects that Google will keep the $399 price tag for the Pixel 4a. "I feel that Google recognizes what they have," he said. As long as Google gives consumers the computational photography at a budget price, the Pixel 4a ought to rake in the bucks for the company.

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