Though the Google Pixel 6a is expected to be one of the stars of next week's Google I/O 2022, we're yet to see concrete proof that it's real. However, the chances of it appearing at the developer conference have increased once again, after the leak of an alleged case for the budget smartphone.
The product, from case maker Poetic, was unexpectedly delivered this week to Digital Trends, and your first thought upon seeing it might be that it’s for the Pixel 6, and not the rumored cheaper model. Digital Trends considered that too, but it failed the ‘Cinderella test’: a nearby Pixel 6 simply wouldn’t fit in the case, suggesting the Pixel 6a will be a couple of millimeters smaller.
The fact that the dimensions are so similar, however, does suggest a design synergy between the new-look Tensor Pixels. The divisive camera visor is still present, although it’s about a third thinner than on its predecessor, measuring 14mm tall, compared to 21mm on the Pixel 6.
If the case is genuine, therefore, that suggests the phone will have a downgrade from the 50MP camera used to great effect in the flagship handset. Other rumors have pointed to it using the 12.2MP Sony IMX363 sensor, which featured in the previous three generations of Pixel.
That’s a little disappointing, but with the Pixel 6a tipped to use the same Tensor chipset as the flagship, Google has to make cuts somewhere, and it’s not like past Pixel phones have been poor performers in the photography department. That said, another recent leak suggested that the Pixel 6’s Motion Mode won’t be supported by the 6a, so keen photographers may be better off looking elsewhere — or even holding on for the Google Pixel 7.
There’s one other interesting tidbit from the case leak: the screen protector apparently had a sticker on it indicating where the fingerprint reader is, suggesting that the Pixel 6a could inherit the in-screen reader from the flagship models. Given the many fingerprint sensor problems on the Pixel 6, that could be something of a mixed blessing — but it’s an interesting development, given past ‘a’ handsets have placed their fingerprint sensors on the rear.
The presence of an official-looking case suggests a release could be imminent, and we’re fully expecting to see the Pixel 6a referenced in some form at next week’s Google I/O event.
Of course a reveal doesn’t mean it’ll be instantly available to buy, and while some believe it’ll be out in May, the leaker Jon Prosser has previously tipped the handset for July 28 release date.
We'll hopefully find out more when I/O starts on Wednesday (May 11) — so check out our Google I/O live stream guide for full details of how to watch and what to expect.