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.
So, what is Google up to? Here’s everything we know so far about the 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, 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 possibility of it switching 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, we might not see the Pixel 8a until May 2025. And by then, Google might call it the Pixel 9a instead.
However another notable tech leaker, Yogesh Brar, has posted on his X (formerly Twitter) feed that Google is considering bringing an end to the Pixel A range entirely.
Pixel a series seems to be coming to an end. With the spec and price bump on the Pixel 7a, it is certain that there won’t be any 8a coming.
Google will likely stick with vanilla and Pro models alongside a foldable going forward. Something similar might happen with Samsung
— Yogesh Brar (@heyitsyogesh) May 1, 2023
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.
This would be a real shame, as Pixel A devices have consistently ranked among the best mid-range phones around.
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 specs and features will the Google Pixel 8a have?
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 Pixel 8 could be an indicator of what the Pixel 8a will look like. Its design will probably resemble that of the Pixel 8, just with a smaller overall size.
In September 2023, leaked images from Abhishek Yadav on X (formerly Twitter) suggest that the design of the Pixel 8a will incorporate elements from both the Pixel 7a and Pixel 8.
That means rounded corners, the aluminium visor camera bar, and a blue colour option that resembles the Sky Blue colour of the Pixel 7a. Of course, we can anticipate other colour choices, although it’s still too early to predict what these might be.
In October 2023, renders from OnLeaks (published by Smartprix) reveal the Pixel 8a in Rose/Pink colour with some minor design alterations. The images suggest the device will be more slender and compact than the Pixel 8. The display will supposedly be 6.1in, with the total dimensions of the phone at 152.1 x 72.6 x 8.9mm.
On the rear panel, that camera visor accommodates two camera sensors, while on the front, you’ll find a flat screen design featuring a hole-punch camera cut-out near the top of the display. The device also boasts relatively thin bezels on the sides and a small chin at the bottom.
Given that the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7a received processors after their flagship counterparts, we’d expect the Pixel 8a to get the Tensor G3 chip found in the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro.
We’d also expect the 8GB/128GB configuration to remain standard on the Pixel 8a. Leaked Geekbench benchmarks of the “Google Akita” (which Android Authority believes is the internal codename for the Pixel 7a) seem to back this up.
If it arrives in 2024, the Pixel 8a will almost certainly ship running Android 14. But while Google offers seven years of both OS and security updates for the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, there’s no guarantee that’ll also be available on the cheaper phone. But you can expect at least the Pixel 7a’s three years of OS and five years of security updates.
There are no rumours regarding these, but it’d be a surprise to see changes to the 7.5W wireless charging and 90Hz refresh rate. Google introduced these features with the Pixel 7a, so they’re unlikely to change on its successor.
Cameras are always a big deal with Pixel phones, including the A series. But it’s not yet clear if the 64Mp main, 13Mp ultrawide or 13Mp selfie cameras will be upgraded. Of course, Pixel phones are heavily reliant on software for great photos, so this may be improved.
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 round-up of the best mid-range phones.