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Cancelled Pixel 4a XL just leaked — here's what we could have had

An unofficial design for the Google Pixel 4a. (Image credit: Concept Creator/LetsGoDigital)

The Google Pixel 4a may have had an XL version at one point during its development, but it looks like that version is definitely not happening. At least you can seemingly buy the parts for this cancelled model online.

This is based on an eBay listing (via 9to5Google) which purports to sell a "Google Pixel 4a XL Replacement New Battery Back Cover Door". The seller is based in Shenzhen, China, the location of a Foxconn manufacturing facilities. As Foxconn is Google's partner in making the Pixel handsets, it's certainly possible that some parts made its way out of the factory and into private hands.

(Image credit: eBay)

Not only does this listing claim to be for a larger Pixel 4a, and match the "Barely Blue" color option seen in previous leaks, the internals don't look like what you'd expect based on the Pixel 4a's specs. We're only expecting one camera and a flash module on the back of the 4a, while this back cover has three cutouts in the square camera bump (most easily seen on the inside of the case), which would point to a second sensor.

The Pixel 4 has two cameras - a main sensor and a telephoto sensor. While we wouldn't necessarily expect an optical zoom camera on a phone of this price, Google could have included a different kind of camera, such as a depth sensor.

The Pixel 3a, the phone the Pixel 4a will replace, comes in standard and XL varieties, but while we assumed the Pixel 4a would also get an XL version, the rumors have not backed this up. What this eBay listing suggests, assuming it's genuine, is that Google only decided at the last minute to scrap the Pixel 4a XL, with some components already being manufactured.

In the single Pixel 4a model we're expecting to get, you can expect a single camera on the back, ae selfie camera on the front in a punch-hole notch, a mid-range Snapdragon 730 CPU, a 5.8-inch OLED display and a headphone jack, all wrapped up in a similar polycarbonate shell to the Pixel 3a.

We're hoping to see the Pixel 4a revealed in May, when Google is expected to hold its Google I/O 2020 event. This physical event has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but we should anticipate Google holding a digital presentation instead, with the phone going on sale shortly after assuming there are no production delays caused by the outbreak.

The Pixel 4a will face stiff competition out of the gate from Apple, though, as it's rumored to be shortly releasing a mid-range iPhone 9 to compete in the same sub-$400 price range.