Here's What Google's Budget Pixel Phones Will Be Called

Many of the rumors swirling about the entry-level versions of Google’s Pixel smartphone appear to be on the money — except what Google plans to call its upcoming devices.

The Pixel 3 XL (left) and Pixel 3 could soon see budget versions named the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: The Pixel 3 XL (left) and Pixel 3 could soon see budget versions named the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

The common assumption about the reported phones was that Google planned to call them the Pixel 3 Lite and 3 Lite XL. But not so fast, according to 9to5Google, which reports that the phones will instead arrive as the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

That claim is based on the Android Q beta, which became available to developers last week. The beta code contains references to the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, and 9to5Google says it’s confirmed that these will be the release names for the phone when they arrive this spring.

The report also debunks another assumption people had been making about Google’s lower-cost phones. Early reports suggested those phones would feature LCD screens as a way to keep the cost of the devices down. But 9to5Google cites a source claiming that the 5.6-inch Pixel 3a will use an OLED panel.

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The report didn’t give certain details on the screen for the Pixel 3a XL, but it seems unlikely the 6-inch version of Google’s Lite phone would use a different type of display.

Both handsets will still feature plastic-body designs that mimic their premium Pixel counterparts, and they’ll be powered by lesser processors. 9to5Google says its confirmed that the Pixel 3a will run onthe Snapdragon 670, while it’s been expected that the Pixel 3a XL will use a Snapdragon 710.The 3a and 3a XL are likely to offer a healthy 64GB of storage.

The report seemingly confirms other rumored details, particularly about the Pixel 3a. It’s expected to have 4GB of memory, a 3,000 mAh battery, and the same camera as the premium Pixel, though it’s expected to lack the second selfie lens found on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.

Google’s expected splash into flagship-budget handsets would happen right after the two big phone makers in the world have released their first attempts at lower-priced models — the Samsung Galaxy S10e and the Apple iPhone XR. With the Pixel 3a and 3a XL being the most budget handsets of the bunch, based on specs, Google could be in position to start its phones at $600 or cheaper and undercut its competition.

Since Google’s reported spring release for the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL can’t be too far away, we should have all of our answers soon.

Daniel Bean is a freelance writer with years of experience whose articles have appeared in Tom's Guide. He has previously worked for LinkedIn, Yahoo News, and the Observer, as well as TripleByte, Circa, Inverse, CBS, and ABC. Currently, he is full-time content lead for Mixpanel's blog, The Signal, writing about innovators and analytics.