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Google Pixel 6a tipped for spring release by leaker

Alleged Google Pixel 6a renders
(Image credit: 91mobiles / OnLeaks)

Update: A claimed leaked photo of the Google Pixel 6a's box shows off a familiar design.

For the past two pandemic-ravaged years, Google’s Pixel A Series phones have arrived in August. But it sounds like this year’s Pixel 6a could be here as soon as spring, according to one leaker with a well earned reputation for accuracy.

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According to Max Jambor, the Pixel 6a is currently scheduled to arrive in May. That may sound early given recent form, but it’s likely that this is the routine schedule Google would have set in a pandemic-free world. The original Pixel 3a and 3a XL debuted in May 2019, and the Pixel 4a was going to follow suit in 2020 until the coronavirus pandemic delayed the launch of that model until August.

While there was no indication that last year's Pixel 5a would be a spring release, that was a phone made in exceptional circumstances. Indeed, Google had to respond to reports claiming it was cancelled back in April 2021, warning buyers not to expect it until later in the year; when the Pixel 5a finally emerged it was only available in the US and Japan, suggesting all wasn’t well with the supply chains.

Hopefully that won’t be the case this time around, though it’s hard to know for sure given the unpredictability of the ongoing chip crisis. That said, it seems Google will be in more control this time around, as the Pixel 6a is reportedly set to use the company’s own Tensor SoC which debuted in the Pixel 6 late last year. That would set the Pixel 6a apart from previous ‘A’ devices, as the Pixel 6 was a flagship phone with flagship speed and eye-catching AI powers.

If correct, and Google doesn’t have a weaker Tensor chip for non-flagships, then it suggests that the company imagines the A line as more like the iPhone SE going forward — the same chipset found in more expensive models, but cutbacks elsewhere, most likely in the camera and casing. Indeed, the aforementioned report suggests the Pixel 6a will use the same 12.2MP Sony IMX363 sensor of previous Pixel Amodels, rather than upgrading to the 50MP camera from last year’s flagships.

While Jambor doesn’t specify when in May we might expect the Pixel 6a to land, the prolific leaker Jon Prosser recently predicted that the Pixel Watch will arrive on Thursday May 26. While it’s possible the two will be announced separately, it's possible both products could appear together, especially with the Google I/O developers conference traditionally held in May.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.