Google Pixel 8a launch now looks imminent as Pixel 6a gets discontinued

Google Pixel 6a review
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There's no official word on when the Google Pixel 8a might ship. But Google just made a move with one of its other phones that seemingly clears the decks for the launch of a new midrange Pixel device.

The Pixel 6a, which first started shipping two years ago, has disappeared from the Google Store. To be sure, you can still find the phone at other retail outlets and from wireless carriers, but any links to Google's online store will direct you to the Pixel 7a.

Though it was an older model, the Pixel 6a remained in Google's lineup after last year's Pixel 7a launch, with Google dropping the price on the handset to $349. That took some of the sting out of Google's price hike for the Pixel 7a, which at $499 cost $50 more than the Pixel 6a's original shipping price.

Google only promised three years of software updates with the Pixel 6a, and since the phone debuted with Android 12, two of those updates are already accounted for. That closing window of support justifies Google's decision not to sell the Pixel 6a anymore.

It also helps that a newer phone is likely waiting in the wings. Pixel 8a rumors are picking up in advance of that phone's arrival, which most people expect to happen at Google I/O 2024. Google has already set a May 14 date for the first day of its annual developer conference, which is where past Pixel A Series phones have typically debuted. (That includes the Pixel 6a by the way.)

The Pixel 8a will likely feature the Tensor G3 chipset that powers the current Pixel 8 flagships, which means the same AI-powered features on those phones will find their way to lower-cost 8a. While the Pixel 8a camera setup isn't expected to change from the Pixel 7a, the new phone could feature a display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a maximum brightness of 1,400 nits. Both those specs would match what's available from the $699 Pixel 8.

Those improvements to the Pixel 8a could come at a cost. Early rumors hint at a higher price for the Pixel 8a, which would push the phone above $500.

We won't know whether that pricing prediction pans out until the Pixel 8a arrives, possibly as soon as mid-May. But with the Pixel 6a's departure from the Google Store offerings, at least we know that there's plenty of room for new phone from Google.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.