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Google Pixel 4a release date just leaked — and it's bad news [Update]

Google Pixel 4a
(Image credit: Concept Creator/LetsGoDigital)

Google’s Pixel 4a might not arrive until July 13, according to a new leak. And even then, it may be some time before the phone goes on sale. 

There's also bad news if you were hoping for a Pixel 4a XL to arrive alongside the smaller Pixel 4a. But first, let's talk release dates.

Serial tech leaker Jon Prosser tweeted that the release for the Pixel 4a, which had been pushed back from May to June, is delayed again until July. If that wait seems a bit long, it could be even longer before you actually get to buy the phone. In a follow-up tweet, Prosser said the Just Black version of the Pixel 4a wouldn't hit stores until August 6, with a Barely Blue model of the phone landing several months later on Oct. 1.

On the surface, that seems nuts, especially in light of Prosser's claim that units are ready to ship and this delay isn't caused by supply chain problems. As successful as the Pixel 3a was, Google doesn't command so much attention in the smartphone market that it can announce a phone only to wait a few months to release it and expect people to line up to buy it. Delay the release of a phone, and chances are, people will shrug and just buy a different model.

But there could be a explanation for this staggered launch approach. Google may depend heavily on foot traffic in carrier stores for its phone sales. And right now, with the coronavirus pandemic, there's not a lot of people heading out to retail stores. Google could be putting off the actual launch of the Pixel 4a until it has a better picture of when stores will be open and customers will return. That might explain the "market conditions" Prosser is referring to.

We had been hoping to see Google take the covers off the Pixel 4a next month, as a lot of leaks and rumors had all been pointing towards a June launch, But it looks like that may not be the case — Prosser’s leaks and predictions tend to be fairly reliable.

That's bad news if you're also counting on Google to release its Pixel 5 flagship phone around the usual early October time frame. Prosser suggests that phone could be delayed too.

Prosser's tweet does provide more clarity on the colors we can expect for the Pixel 4a. And the news that there's no XL model shouldn't be a surprise, as many Pixel 4a rumors had suggested that Google wasn't going to do a larger budget phone after the Pixel 3a XL failed to generate as much interest as its smaller sibling did last year.

Google: Hardware is hard

Despite these turbulent times for the smartphone world, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told The Verge that the company is committed to making hardware.

“We’re super committed to it for the long run. Hardware is hard. And it definitely has components, which take real time to get it right, thinking about underlying silicon or display or camera or any of those tacks,” he said.

Despite these challenges, all the rumors so far point towards the Pixel 4a being a solid budget phone. It’s set to have a 5.8-inch OLED display with a punch-hole selfie camera, a single rear-camera that’ll likely tap into Google’s computational photography know-how, and will be powered by a decent but not flagship-grade Snapdragon 730.

A 5G model isn’t expected, which isn’t surprising given the Pixel 4a could cost just $349. And Google will supposedly drop the Active Edge squeezable sides used to summon the Google Assistant.

The Pixel 4a should be able to put up a good fight against Apple's $399 iPhone SE 2020, but now it seems Google's phone will enter the ring much later than we thought.