Google Pixel 8a: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google’s annual developer conference is fast approaching, and with it comes announcements of new devices that will showcase the company’s software for years to come. The Google Pixel Fold 2, which may be known as the Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold, is already making headlines and becoming the center of attraction, but it is hardly the only mobile device expected to be unveiled this month. As part of the more affordable “a” series, the Pixel 8a may sound uninteresting at first glance, but a few leaks and rumors paint a more curious picture of the Google Pixel 8a, making it a feasible candidate to be your 2024 purchase.

Designer: Google

Google Pixel 8a: Design

For those terribly disappointed by rumors of the changes that the Pixel 9 series will be making to a distinctive design, the Google Pixel 8a will offer a refuge. It still bears the same aesthetics of its namesake, namely a rounder and gentler appearance coupled with the “visor” camera design that Google’s phones have been using for three generations now. That said, the Pixel 8a will bring its own twist, making it perhaps even more interesting than its predecessor.

Image courtesy of: SmartPrix

For one, there are clues showing a matte surface for the phone’s rear rather than the traditional glass. This not only improves the grip of the device but also a bit of visual embellishment. This material change could go hand in hand with the “fun” colors that will be available for the phone, which might include Blue and Red, though those could also just be new official cases.

Image courtesy of: TechDroider

Perhaps a bit more interesting is the information provided by Evan Blass, a.k.a. evleaks, about the sustainability story of the Pixel 8a. There’s mention of the use of recycled materials, which could refer to either the back panel, the aluminum frame, or both. It will definitely be a huge design win if the Pixel 8a turns out to be Google’s most sustainable phone, especially considering how long it will be supported.

Google Pixel 8a: Specs and Software

In line with its current practice, we don’t expect to see a huge difference when it comes to the Pixel 8a’s hardware. It will be borrowing the same Tensor G3 as the Pixel 8a, but perhaps a bit watered down in performance. The display will be a new 120Hz panel, up from the Pixel 7a’s 60Hz, with an even brighter 1400 nits. The same trio of cameras that’s on the Pixel 7a will make its way to this year’s budget phone, so don’t expect a world of difference in terms of image output. What’s new is a 256GB storage option, which also shakes the pricing up a bit.

In other words, the Pixel 8a will be a very incremental update to the Pixel 7a and a step down from the Pixel 8. It’s not a surprising state of affairs, as it gives Pixel fans an option to grab the Google experience without burning a hole through their wallets. What will make all these worthwhile, however, is the software that runs on the device, and that one is expected to be fresh and new, at least compared to the hardware.

The Pixel 8a will naturally run Android 14 at launch, with updates to Android 15 immediately coming. More importantly, however, it will be running parts of Google’s Gemini AI suite, with tons of AI-powered features for search, photography, and more. Google is also promising 7 years of software updates, quite a feat in the mobile world, though it’s not clear how many of those will be actual Android upgrades versus security patches.

Google Pixel 8a: Price and Release Date

With Google I/O set for May 14, the timeline for revealing new devices is just around the corner. There are rumors that the Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold will be announced a few days earlier, but there’s no reason to expect the Pixel 8a to get special treatment. If Google doesn’t break from traditions, orders for the phone will start on that day as well.

As for the price, Google is thankfully keeping the figures the same, at least for the base model. For 128GB of storage, the Pixel 8a will go for $499, or the same launch price as the Pixel 7a. This year, however, a 256GB model is supposedly in the works, and that will go for $599. They’re not exactly “cheap,” but they’re still well below the usual $800 to $1,000 that consumers pay for with a brand-new flagship.

Google Pixel 8a: Final Thoughts

It’s not really strange that smartphone companies and their marketing engines tend to focus on the more expensive high-end products. After all, those are what make the most profits and also have the biggest expenses. That’s not to say they’re always the best, and definitely not for all people. The Google Pixel 8a, despite the stigma of being a “cheaper” version of a flagship, seems to be shaping up to be one interesting design and could be more worth your money in the long run.