Google Pixel 6a: release date, price, specs and all we know so far

First announced at the I/O developer conference in May, the new budget smartphone will cost considerably less than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro models

Soniya Jobanputra, product manager at Google, previewed the Pixel 6a smartphone during a virtual conference. Pixel 6a, which is priced at $449, will be available for pre-order on July 21. Bloomberg
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Alphabet-owned Google will soon launch its new budget smartphone, Pixel 6a, as it seeks to increase its market share in a space currently ruled by rivals Apple and Samsung.

The new phone will be powered by Tensor, Google’s own system-on-chip silicon that was used in last year’s Pixel 6 line-up. Tensor makes apps “launch fast, pages and images load quickly and everything run smoothly”, the company said.

First announced at the I/O developer conference in May, Pixel 6a will come with a design almost similar to the existing Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It will have an under-display fingerprint sensor and Titan M2 security system that makes the device one of the most secure Android smartphones.

Going by the features and price, the 6a can be considered an economical alternative to the 6 and 6 Pro models.

Here, The National explores what the new phone is expected to offer consumers.

Camera compromise

In an attempt to reduce the price of 6a to attract budget customers, Google has compromised on the size of the main camera.

The new phone will come with a dual rear camera system, with 12.2-megapixel wide-angle and 12MP ultrawide cameras, whereas the main camera was 50MP in both 6 (two rear cameras) and 6 Pro (three rear cameras).

The 6a model will offer an 8MP front camera, compared with 6 Pro’s 11.1MP front camera.

Memory and storage

This is going to disappoint many existing Pixel fans. The new phone will come with only 6GB memory and 128GB storage. Although more variants with increased memory and enlarged storage capacity are expected, Google has not yet confirmed such rumours.

In comparison, Pixel 6 offers 8GB memory and storage between 128GB and 256GB. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro comes with 12GB memory, with storage going up to 512GB.

Enough juice to last a day

The new phone will come with 4,410 milliampere-hour battery size, compared with 4,614 mAh in Pixel 6 and 5,003mAh in Pixel 6 Pro.

The California-based technology company claimed the 6a battery will be enough to run more than 24 hours on a single charge and up to 72 hours with the extreme battery saver feature.

However, the fast wireless charging feature, which is available in the 6 and 6 Pro models, will be missing in the new phone.

Price and availability

Pixel 6a model will cost $449, considerably more economical compared with the launch prices of the 6 ($599) and 6 Pro ($899) models. Pixel 6a will be available for pre-order on July 21 and will be on shelves on July 28.

It will be available in select markets, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

The new Pixel phone is expected to provide tough competition for smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone SE and Samsung’s Galaxy A53.

When will Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro hit the shelves?

Google’s coming 7 and 7 Pro models, which were teased during I/O developer conference, are expected to be launched in September or October. They are projected to be shipped with the coming the Android 13 operating system and a second-generation Tensor processor.

Sporting a revamped design with an aluminium camera bar, the new phones are expected to be priced in the range of $599 to $899.

Has Pixel been profitable for Google?

Launched in October, the Pixel 6 experienced a good response and added to record sales for the line-up in the fourth quarter of last year.

“In Q4 [2021], we set an all-time quarterly sales record for Pixel. This came in spite of an extremely challenging supply chain environment," Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet, said earlier this year.

The company does not disclose the exact sales figures of its phones.

"The response to Pixel 6 from our customers and carrier partners was incredibly positive,” he said.

Google sold nearly 1.2 million phones in the first quarter of this year, grabbing 3 per cent of the North American market, according to researcher Canalys.

“Google is on the offensive to take market share, building on its wide carrier presence and unprecedented investment in the Pixel brand,” said Canalys research analyst Runar Bjorhovde.

“It focused on the Pixel 6 in Q1, but will look to expand further in the rest of the year, with a recently launched portfolio including the upcoming Pixel 7 flagship, affordable Pixel 6a, Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds.”

Updated: July 13, 2022, 4:30 AM