The Google Pixel 4a is coming soon — but it won’t have this feature

Google Pixel 4a
(Image credit: ESR)

The Google Pixel 4a looks ready for an imminent launch after landing in the FCC, though there is a slight catch. 

Mishaal Rahman (via The Verge) posted on Twitter that he had been directed towards a new filing by the FCC for a Google phone codenamed "G025J". The FCC only gets its hands on phones when they're almost ready for launch, hence our expectation that we'll see it soon. 

It's not a given that it's the Pixel 4a, but since the Pixel 4 was named "G020", it seems to make sense that this would be the next phone in the Pixel family.

What this listing also reveals is that there won't be any Motion Sense functionality on the Pixel 4a. Since the Soli radar chip that powers these features uses specific millimetre-wave radio signals, this would have been something the FCC would have tested to make sure it was safe for users. There's no mention of this in the listing, so it stands to reason that there's no Motion Sense on this phone.

We had expected this from other leaks, but it's always good to get more evidence for certain claims. Since the Pixel 4a is believed to be dropping the large bezel of the Pixel 4 for a punch-hole display, and is meant to be a much cheaper device, it seemed like Google would have neither the space nor the budget to add this feature.

The FCC is only interested in the radio frequencies produced by the phone, but we want to know about the whole thing. Long-standing rumors tell us that the Pixel 4a will come in a single 5.8-inch size, rather than the standard and XL variants of the Pixel 3a. We also hear that it will have a single rear camera and single selfie camera, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and an OLED display. It'll have a new processor, likely the Snapdragon 730 chipset along with 8GB of RAM.

We're also expecting a $400 or lower pricetag. This was the cost of the basic Pixel 3a last year. But now that Google has got stiff competition from Apple and the iPhone SE (2020), it needs every advantage it can get, including a cheaper price if it can manage it.

The release date of the Pixel 4a has changed a few times already this year, likely because of Google trying to keep up with the rapidly changing problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After missing expected reveal dates in May and June, it's now slated for a potential launch in July. 

However, other rumors have claimed Google will release the Pixel 4a in October, alongside the Pixel 5. As Rahman said in his original tweet, Google could rename the Pixel 4a to Pixel 5a as a result, so its flagship and budget handsets bear a greater resemblance.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.