C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
Update, January 24, 2022 (1:15 AM ET): We’ve updated our Google Pixel 6a hub with details of the phone’s possible launch window. Read on for more.
Original article, December 5, 2021 (12:00 PM ET): In 2021, Google’s big smartphone launch centered around the Google Pixel 6 series. Those phones wildly reinvented what a Pixel phone looks like and what it can do. Now, the next big launch from the company should be the Google Pixel 6a.
While we don’t know a ton about the phone yet, we do know quite a bit. Below, we’ve rounded up all the credible leaks and rumors related to the Pixel 6a, Google’s next budget-oriented smartphone.
Name and release date
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Since the Pixel 6 series was such a dramatic shift for Google, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the company changed up its naming scheme. However, it didn’t. Therefore, we have every reason to believe the next A-series phone from the company should be the Google Pixel 6a. Google hasn’t confirmed this, though.
Catch up: All Google Pixel phones released so far
We are quite certain of the name but are much less certain of a release date. In 2021, the Google Pixel 5a came out much, much later than we anticipated: August, almost 10 months after the Google Pixel 5. We assumed the delay of the Pixel 4a (which also was delayed to August thanks to COVID-19) wouldn’t affect the Pixel 5a, but it clearly did. So, one theory would have the Google Pixel 6a possibly launch in August 2022.
However, we already have leaked designs and specs for the phone. This heavily suggests the Pixel 6a could come sooner than August. It’s possible it could land in May 2022, which was the original launch window for the first A-series phone, the Pixel 3a. In the most recent leak, tipster Max Jambor suggests a May launch window is indeed on the cards.
As of now, the safest bet is to plan for an August 2022 Pixel 6a release date and hope it’s actually sooner.
Google Pixel 6a: Design
Thanks to reliable leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, we already have leaked renders for the Google Pixel 6a. Surprisingly, the phone looks nearly identical to the Google Pixel 6.
Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising, but all the A-series Pixel phones have kept a decidedly budget look. The Pixel 4a, for example, didn’t look much like the Pixel 4. According to Hemmerstoffer, though, the Pixel 6a should be a dead ringer for the Pixel 6.
Hemmerstoffer contends the Google Pixel 6a could have a 6.2-inch flat display, which would make it slightly smaller than the 6.4-inch flat display of the Pixel 6. It’s possible the phone could measure 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.7mm (10.4mm including rear camera bump).
Most interestingly, the phone appears to lack a 3.5mm headphone jack. This would be the first A-series phone without the beloved port. It also would be the first without a capacitive fingerprint scanner on the back (it’s likely the Pixel 6a would have an in-display fingerprint sensor).
Pixel 6a specs
On paper, this would make the Pixel 6a just as powerful as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Sure, other hardware would likely be weaker (such as RAM, storage, camera sensors, etc.), but the core experience would be the same. In other words, the Pixel 6a could be a budget phone with flagship processing.
The camera system has also been allegedly leaked. This is what the rumors suggest:
- 12.2MP Sony IMX363 primary
- 12MP Sony IMX386 ultra-wide
- 8MP Sony IMX355 selfie
That roughly matches the specs of the Google Pixel 5, which would make the Pixel 6a a weird hybrid of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5.
Google Pixel 6a: Price and availability
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
There hasn’t been a ton of consistency across the Pixel line. One thing that has stayed constant, though, is that A-series phones are always cheaper than the lowest-priced related flagship.
If Google keeps that trend going, the Google Pixel 6a would come in at under $599, which is the price of the vanilla Pixel 6. That makes sense since the Pixel 6a is slated to be smaller and weaker than the Pixel 6.
Continue reading: Google Pixel 6 second opinion review
But how much cheaper would it go? That’s not clear right now. Judging from what we know so far, we would expect a price between $400 and $500. As we get closer to the Pixel 6a release, we’ll be able to be more specific.
The availability of this phone is also way up in the air. The Pixel 5a is only available in two countries (the US and Japan) and only from one vendor (Google itself). Could Google do the same thing with the Pixel 6a? It’s certainly possible. Here’s hoping the company casts a wider net this time around, as it did with the Pixel 4a.
That’s everything we know so far about the upcoming Google Pixel 6a! What do you most hope to see? Let us know in the comments.