Google Pixel 4a & the 2020 Pixel Lineup

Four years into Google’s Pixel hardware endeavors, the lineup is steadily growing.

Google Pixel 4a & the 2020 Pixel Lineup

Today Google finally released the months-delayed Google Pixel 4a. In another interesting twist, Google pre-announced the Pixel 4a (5G) as well as the Pixel 5 to be released this fall.

I’ve been waiting for Google to replace the Pixel 3a (I’ve written previously about the 3a and using it as a secondary device) since May when the 1 year anniversary of the Pixel 3a came and went.

The new Pixel 4a seems like a solid phone, but frankly, Google delaying the release may cause consumer confusion. The 4a debuts at $349, with the 5G variant adding a whopping $150. That’s without factoring in the Pixel 5, which has largely been shrouded in mystery other than specs revealing it to be rather mid-range.

My question is, what are buyers to think? Should they swarm to the 4a (which mind you doesn’t ship until August 20th), throw down on the 4a (5G), or wait and see what the Pixel 5 is about? The 4a would have been great for the April/May timeframe, but the specs are getting dated by the minute. If the Pixel 5 doesn’t have what holdouts are looking for, picking up a 4a in October will seem even more outrageous.

Personally, I’m not sure which I’ll replace my 3a with. Coverage on Verizon’s 5G network isn’t quite broad enough to warrant a $150 premium for 5G on a secondary device. The Pixel 5 will likely have a $699 entry price, with the same Snapdragon 765G chip as the Pixel 4a (5G), but it’s unknown what additional features it may offer. The regular 4a seems like the obvious choice, but in 6 months will it seem absurd to have a new device without 5G?

I hope Google learns from this fiasco. I’d have much rather seen a single 4a without 5G alongside a 5G-equipped Pixel 5, at least until costs on 5G modems are down next year. This is a complicated decision for one Android manufacturer.

I can’t imagine being an Android enthusiast and having to make a decision every year between multiple manufacturers. ■