Google Pixel 4a launch looks imminent — watch out, OnePlus Nord

Google Pixel 4a render
(Image credit: Image credit: 91Mobiles/OnLeaks)

Google’s Pixel 4a has been ‘just around the corner’ for a while now, but further certification means it could finally get showcased this month or August time. 

Having already received FCC certification, the Pixel 4a — or at least what MySmartPrice believes to be Google’s next budget phone — has also received certification from the IMDA and BIS. That puts it another step close to all the prerequisite certification it needs for a full launch. 

While Google was expected to launch the Pixel 4a at some point in May, it seems to have been pushed back by at least a couple of months. There’s a good chance this could be down to the coronavirus pandemic causing chaos to both the supply chain but also the economy. 

Or it could be that Google is taking it’s time to refine the Pixel 4a; it already looks like the Pixel 4a XL has been scrapped meaning Google could be streamlining its budget phone lineup. 

As for the certification listings, while they don’t explicitly name the Pixel 4a, they do mention a Google phone. Going by all the leaks we’ve seen so far, it’s very likely to be the Pixel 4a. 

The IMDA certification lists a Google phone with 4G and NFC connectivity, which from the rumors we’ve seen so far is what we can expect from the Pixel 4a. The Indian BIS certification doesn’t provide any extra information, so the certification merely gives us a better idea that the Pixel 4a is coming soon, rather than more clarity on its specs. 

That being said there’s been a few rumors that the Pixel 4a might not be launched until October. This would seem unlikely as that’s when Google tends to launch its next-generation Pixel flagship phones; the Pixel 5 is the expected next one.  

Battle of the budget phones

As a budget-orientated phone with a price tag that might be as low as $349, the Pixel 4a is shaping up to be a challenger for the upcoming OnePlus Nord, which will cost below $500. 

The Pixel 4a is predicted to have a 5.8-inch OLED panel with a punch-hole selfie camera to help maximise screen space, a single rear camera powered by Google's excellent photography software, and a mid-range Snapdragon 730 chipset. In comparison, the OnePlus Nord is expected to use a 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G chipset, a 6.4-inch panel OLED panel with a 90Hz referesh rate, and a triple-rear-camera array. 

On paper, the OnePlus Nord not only justifies its potentially higher price tag, but also has the Pixel 4a beat on specs. But specs are one thing, real-world use is another, and that's where the Pixel a-series phones have come out on top before, such as the excellent Pixel 3a. That handset offers both excellent cameras and long battery life.

Both handsets will also have to compete with the rather excellent  $399 iPhone SE 2020, which has won our favor with its impressive camera performance, compact design, and blazing-fast A13 Bionic chip. We’ll have to see what this month and August bings for the Pixel 4a to see if it can challenge the iPhone SE, which currently tops our best cheap phones list.  

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.