Android users got the flagship phones they demanded from Google with the launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but the wait for a more wallet-friendly value pick has stretched on for some time. Based on mysterious FCC filings, it appears the long-awaited device, the Pixel 6a, could arrive in the coming weeks
As Droid Life reports, four unknown models — numbered GX7AS, GB17L, G1AZG, and GB62Z — passed through the FCC recently and are likely to be Pixel 6 models, suggesting the phone’s imminent release. There isn’t much of note with the listings themselves, except that one of four models has mmWave support while the others rely on sub-6Ghz 5G. Also onboard are NFC and wifi 6E, the latest connectivity standard offering the faster theoretical home internet speeds.
These listings likely prove that the Pixel 6a is on the way, and with Google I/O set for May, there’s a solid chance we’ll see it then. We don’t have any firm dates to share, but we can extrapolate a timeline by looking at past releases: the Pixel 5a surfaced in FCC listing in July of last year before being announced a month later. Due to supply chain issues, the 5a arrived later than expected; if Google returns to an earlier release, the Pixel 6a could follow the lead of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a Plus, which debuted around Google I/O in May.
Much like the previous a-branded products, the Pixel 6a is expected to be a mid-range smartphone that offers premium features at a more agreeable price than the current flagship models. It will likely replace the current Pixel 5a 5G, a $US449 ($623) handset that is widely regarded as the best budget phone on the market alongside the iPhone SE.
Based on various leaks and rumours, the Pixel 6a will likely adopt a design similar to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, one with a camera bar and dual-tone colours. Alleged benchmark leaks claim the Pixel 6a could match the other models on performance by using the same custom Google Tensor chip.
I just hope the Pixel 6a can somehow find a way to justify its existence when the Pixel 6 costs only $US599 ($832). Google’s value device can’t compromise much if it’s going to come in at only $US150 ($208) less than the flagship version. I’ll be happy if the Pixel 6a is considerably smaller than the flagship behemoths and would love if it received a long-overdue camera update. It seems we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out what Google has in store.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.