Google’s more affordable version of the Pixel has been a benchmark for mid-range phones in recent years. But, as we look forward to the next iteration, some rumours are beginning to emerge that it might not appear at all? What is Google up to? Here’s all we know so far about the Google Pixel 8a.
When will the Google Pixel 8a be released?
Google has been reasonably steady with its release schedule for the Pixel A range recently. The company seems to have settled into a pattern where we see the new model unveiled at the Google I/O event in May, although there can be a slight delay before it reaches customers, as with the Pixel 6a. Here’s when the last few generations were available to buy.
Admittedly, there’s still a bit of variance when it comes to release dates, but if Google goes with the schedule it’s been putting in place over the last couple of years, then we should see the Pixel 8a in May 2024.
However, a report from Android Authority outlined a leaked roadmap for the next few years of Pixel phones, with a significant change to the A range. It seems that Google will be watching the sales of the Pixel 7a closely, with the aim that it might switch to biannual releases of the A range rather than the yearly rate we have at the moment. This actually makes some sense, as many people hold onto their phones for more than just a year, plus it would mean that Google could make more impressive updates with each new model as two years would have passed since the last one.
If that proves to be the case, then we might not see the Pixel 8a until May 2025.
However again, another notable tech leaker, Yogesh Brar, has posted on his Twitter feed that Google is considering bringing an end to the Pixel A range entirely.
This seems to stem from the fact that the Pixel 7a was so close to the Pixel 7, albeit with a few extra features on the flagship model, that it signalled Google planning to restrict itself to a standard and Pro model going forward. We think that this would be a real shame, as the Pixel A range has long been a favourite of ours, but a simplified catalogue makes sense from companies having to manufacture products in the current difficult financial climate, plus it would bring a more focussed approach to the Pixel range.
How much will the Google Pixel 8a cost?
Depending on whether the next Pixel A phone appears at all, it would be Google’s mid-range offering, so the price should hopefully stick below the $500/£500 mark that it’s occupied so far. As a guide, here’s how the last few generations were priced.
- Pixel 7a – $499/£449
- Pixel 6a – $449/£399
- Pixel 5a – $449 (no UK release)
- Pixel 4a – $349/£349
Obviously, there’s been a slow increase in pricing over the past few years, but it seems likely that Google will want to stay at the $500/£500 mark for a little while at least, to ensure it has a mid-range model as an alternative to its more expensive flagship units. Plus, in Europe there are many Chinese brands available that offer excellent value for money, so increasing prices any further would make the Pixel A phones uncompetitive against the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, Poco and Redmi.
What new features will we see in the Google Pixel 8a?
It’s maybe telling that so far we’ve seen practically no leaks regarding the Pixel 8a. To give us some idea of what we could expect, it makes sense then to look at the Pixel 8. As we explained above, the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 were quite close in terms of specs, so a gently stripped back version of the new phone could be an indicator of what the Pixel 8a will look like.
We’ve already covered all the latest news and rumours in our Pixel 8 guide, but some of the highlights are a potential shrink in size to around 6.1in or even 5.8in depending on which leak you believe. As the A range of Pixels are usually smaller than the flagship models, this could either signal a more diminutive Pixel 8a or that the rumours of Google replacing the A series with the standard Pixel model could be taking shape.
There’s news of an infrared temperature sensor coming in the Pixel 8 Pro camera module but not the standard Pixel 8. So, again, this could be a feature that differentiates Pro and Standard, negating the need for a cheaper model.
Of course, there should be the new Tensor G3 processor, which marks the third generation of the company making its own chips. Plus, we’d expect the 8GB/128GB configuration to remain standard on the Pixel 8a.
Cameras are always a big deal with Pixel phones, including the A series, and rumours suggest that both the main shooter and the ultrawide in the Pixel 8 will get big upgrades. Google will use a Samsung ISOCELL GN2, which is a large 1/1.12in sensor with a 50Mp resolution, in the main camera. Besting the Pixel 7 Pro’s 1/1.31in sensor. Also, while the ultrawide will use the same 12Mp IMX386 sensor as before, it’ll also be wider at 0.55x rather than 0.67x.
As the Pixel 7a actually featured upgraded camera elements over the Pixel 7, it could be that the Pixel 8a at least gains some of the upgrades afforded to its non-a sibling.
That’s all we have at the moment, but we’ll be updating this article with more details as they become available. To see what the Pixel 8a will be up against, be sure to also check out our roundup of the best mid-range phones.