Could coronavirus delay the launch of the Google Pixel 4a?

In some ways, it already has.



Credit: Google

While last year’s Google Pixel 4 is regarded as something of a misfire, the Google Pixel 3a was Google’s most popular handset yet. Combining most of what makes the company’s Pixel phones exceptional with an incredible price-point, the Pixel 3a literally changed the game for the mid-tier market overnight. 

In our review of the Google Pixel 3a, we said that “If you can live without things like wireless charging, water resistance and the ability to take photos of the moon, there are almost zero reasons to look at buying anything other than the Pixel 3a.”

It’s still one of the best phones you can buy and our expectations for the follow-up are so high we’d go so far as to call it one of 2020’s most anticipated smartphones. 

What do we know about the Pixel 4a so far?

Based on pre-announcements leaks, it looks like Google will be taking a if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it approach when it comes to the Google Pixel 4a. 

Reports from XDA Developers suggest that the device will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 processor, a 5.8-inch AMOLED display, 64GB of storage and between 4GB and 6GB of RAM, depending on the model.

pixel-3a-white-purple-100795705-orig.jpgCredit: Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Last year’s Google Pixel 3a arrived in two sizes, so we can likely expect the same of the Pixel 4a. Unfortunately, if you were hoping to see some of the Pixel 4’s best features trickle down the mid-tier, the Pixel 4a might disappoint you. 

Based on what we know so far, the Pixel 4a’s camera is certainly going to benefit from the software advances made by its flagship counterpart. However, based on early leaks, it looks like the new device won’t incorporate the Motion Sense gesture controls, 3D Face Unlock, water resistance and multi-lens rear camera found in the Pixel 4

How much will the Google Pixel 4a cost?

While we don’t yet know yet how much the Google Pixel 4a will cost in Australian dollars, a billboard advertisement was spotted  by leaker Evan Blass in March listing the starting price of the Pixel 4a at US$399. The Pixel 3a launched at the same price-point, which was later localised into AU$599 - so it’s more than just possible that the Pixel 4a could launch at the same RPP as its predecessor. 

Of course, as a result of COVID-19, the price of the Australian dollar has shifted significantly. For that reason, Australian consumers could see a potential bump upwards when it comes to price. We’ll have to wait and see.

When will the Google Pixel 4a launch?

Last year’s Google Pixel 3a was announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in May 2019. For that reason, many expected the seemingly-inevitable Pixel 4a to be announced in May 2020. 

However, with this year’s Google I/O conference cancelled due to coronavirus, it’s possible that the timeline for the Pixel 4a has changed. The market conditions certainly have. 2020 is looking like a bad year to be a pricey premium flagship and, even if the Pixel 4a is pitched as an affordable alternative, it’s still possible that Google will look to push back the launch of the device until the immediate economic impacts of coronavirus have begun to dissipate. 

Of course, if they wait too long, they risk overlapping the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 release windows - which could hurt the commercial prospects of either or both handsets. 

Looking for more information about how coronavirus could shape the next year in consumer tech, check out the articles below:

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Tags GooglePixelPixel 4coronavirusGoogle Pixel 4aPixel Smartphones

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Fergus Halliday
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