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Google is expected to launch a cheaper version of its Pixel 4 smartphone this year — here's everything we know about it so far

Lisa Eadicicco , Business Insider US
 Jan 21, 2020, 10:34 AM
The Google Pixel 4
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • Google is rumoured to be working on a new phone called the Pixel 4a, which would be a low-cost version of the Pixel 4.
  • It would come after Google released the Pixel 3a last year, a cheaper alternative to the Pixel 3.
  • The phone is expected to come with a single-lens camera and a borderless screen, according to leaked images.
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Google's Pixel 3a was well received when it launched last year, and now the search giant could be preparing to launch another similar phone in just a few months.

Google is rumoured to be working on a new phone called the Pixel 4a, which, like the Pixel 3a, would serve as a lower-priced alternative to Google's current flagship smartphone. The tech giant hasn't confirmed whether or not it's definitely planning to launch a new sequel to the Pixel 3a.

But Mario Queiroz, the Google executive who previously oversaw its Pixel division before more recently moving to a new leadership role within the company, said it plans to bring premium features to cheaper phones moving forward.

"We think there are a lot of people who would like to get those experiences but they can't now because those phones cost $1,400 (about R20,000)," he said in an interview with Business Insider last year.

The Pixel 3a starts at $400 (R8,100), which is roughly half the price of the Pixel 4. The larger-sized Pixel 3a XL is priced at $480 (R9,599), also making it noticeably cheaper than the $900 Pixel 4 XL.

Here's a look at what we're expecting to see from the Pixel 4a, based on rumours that have emerged so far.

It will probably look like the Pixel 4, but with some important differences.

If the leaks we've seen so far are to be believed, the Pixel 4a will likely resemble the Pixel 4 in some ways. Renderings that blog 91mobiles published in partnership with Twitter account @OnLeaks suggest that the phone will have a screen measuring between 5.7 or 5.8 inches, which would make it around the same size as the 5.7-inch Pixel 4. The images also suggest the phone will have a rectangular camera module on the back, just like the Pixel 4.

The phone does, however, appear to have a thin border that surrounds the entire display, and a hole-punch-like cutout for the camera. That would differ from the Pixel 4, which has two thin notch-like cutouts near above and below the display.

If the Pixel 4a is anything like the Pixel 3a, we can also probably expect it to have a body that's built of polycarbonate rather than glass, which contributes to its lower price.

The Pixel 4a will also have a fingerprint sensor on the back.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The 91mobiles leak also suggests the Pixel 4a will have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, which may be one of the biggest differences between Google's rumoured cheaper phone and the Pixel 4.

Google's latest flagship phone doesn't have a fingerprint sensor, but instead uses facial recognition powered by its Motion Sense technology to recognise when you're near the phone and begin the process of unlocking it. It's unclear whether or not the Pixel 4a would have Motion Sense based on the current leaks. But if Google does add a fingerprint sensor to the Pixel 4a, that could be a sign that it won't support Motion Sense.

It's expected to be one of the few new smartphones with a headphone jack.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Like the Pixel 3a, the Pixel 4a may also come with a headphone jack, according to 91mobiles and @OnLeaks. That would make it one of the few smartphones with a headphone jack, along with the Samsung Galaxy S10, Asus Zenfone 6, and a few other devices.

It will have a single camera lens on the back, unlike the Pixel 4.

Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Another big discrepancy between the Pixel 4 and its cheaper counterpart could be in its camera. The Pixel 4a may only have one camera lens, according to the images posted by 91mobiles and @OnLeaks, while the Pixel 4 has two cameras: one standard lens and a zoom lens.

It's also likely that the Pixel 4a won't get all of the camera features that are available on the Pixel 4. But it will probably include some of the biggest ones, like Night Sight, which helps the Pixel take better photos in the dark.

It will probably launch in the spring.


Google unveiled the Pixel 3a last May, so if it sticks with the same launch cycle we can probably expect to see the Pixel 4a around the same time. The company typically waits until the fall to release its new flagship smartphones.

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