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Google Pixel Buds A coming to more countries, but why isn't the Pixel 5a?

Google Pixel 5a
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Google Pixel Buds A were first launched back in early June, offering great sound for the low price of $99 — but only in the U.S. and Canada. Other regions have had to wait for one reason or another.

But Google is expanding the availability of the Pixel Buds A, with the official support page confirming they would come to the U.K., Europe, and other regions for £99/€99. That's great, but now I’d like the search giant to do the same with the Google Pixel 5a.

Google just announced the new low-cost take on the Pixel 5, and on paper it looks like a fantastic phone. It’s got a 6.43-inch OLED display, a dual camera array with 12.2MP (f/1.7) and 16MP (f/2.2) ultrawide lenses, a 4,680 mAh battery life, 18W fast charging, 5G, and a solid 9 hours and 45 minutes of battery per our testing; all for $449.

As someone rocking a OnePlus 7 Pro that’s well past its best, and a screen that’s got some noticeable burn in place, the Pixel 5a is the kind of phone I’d be looking for. I don’t care for the latest (and most expensive) hardware, but I do want a larger phone with decent hardware. Unfortunately the Pixel 5a is exclusive to the U.S. and Japan, and I don’t live in either country.

In our Pixel 5a review we speculated that the limited availability of the phone may be due to the ongoing global chip shortage. There were rumors that the shortage had led to the Pixel 5a being cancelled. While that clearly didn’t happen, a poor supply of components could easily be the reason behind the phone’s non-existent wide-spread international availability.

Then again Google has something of a history where delayed releases are concerned. Not just with the Pixel Buds A, which are getting an international release almost three months after they went on sale in North America. It happened with the Pixel 4a as well, which arrived in the U.S. on August 20, but didn’t go on sale in Europe until October 3. 

But that’s not to say Google will be doing the same thing this year. The company was pretty direct about how Europe would be getting the Pixel 4a much later than the U.S. from the beginning, whereas there’s been zero word about the Pixel 5a.

After all the Pixel 4a was an outlier, with both the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 launching in the U.K. and Europe within a few weeks of the U.S. release.

It's a tragedy, really. Buying a phone is an expensive task nowadays, with flagship prices creeping up over the past few years. There are plenty of low-cost devices out there, but I was looking forward to the possibility of getting one that had a clean version of Android. Not to mention the fact Pixels get all the best new features and updates right away.

Here’s just hoping that the Google Pixel 6 isn’t quite as expensive as I fear it might be. Or, at the very least, that I won’t have to cough up the money for a Pixel 6 Pro to enjoy a Pixel experience on a bigger screen.

But hey, at least I can now buy some Pixel Buds A if I really want them.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.