When the rumor mill started working overtime last year leaking images and specs of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, many thought Google had gone mad. Why make a mid-range Pixel these nay-sayers said. But as it turned out, it was a stroke of genius. Priced at $399 and up, the Pixel 3a series came with the same rear camera found on the Pixel 3 line. That attracted consumers interested in buying a smartphone with a flagship camera but at a mid-range price. The mid-range Pixels that some had laughed at ended up becoming a big hit for Google.

Google is offering just one mid-range model this year, the Pixel 4a

This year, Google is expected to produce one mid-range model, the Pixel 4a. The new device will be equipped with a 5.81-inch OLED display carrying a 1080 x 2340 resolution; that results in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio for the phone. We’d love to tell you that the display has the same 90Hz refresh rate as the Pixel 4, but alas we can’t. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 730 Mobile Platform along with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB/128GB of storage.

The rumored 3080mAh capacity battery actually has a larger capacity than the 2800mAh battery that you’ll find in the Pixel 4, and it will charge at 18W. We should see a front-facing 8MP punch-hole selfie camera and on the back will be a single 12.2MP camera; as you probably know by now it is Google’s processing software that provides the secret sauce when it comes to photography on any Pixel handset. Color options will be Just Black and Barely Blue.

A tweet from the outfit that leaked the aforementioned Pixel 4a hands-on video in March claims to show photo samples from the Pixel 4a compared to the 48MP camera on the Redmi Note 7. The pictures taken with the Pixel 4a (on the left side of the embedded pictures) are sharper with more realistic color both indoors and outdoors. This year, the mid-range Pixel has a new competitor in the second-generation Apple iPhone SE. Also priced at $399 and up, the new iPhone SE has the advantage of being powered by the same A13 Bionic chipset that powers the iPhone 11 series. And while the new iPhone SE also carries a single 12MP camera on its rear panel, Apple says that the combination of a new Image Signal Processor (ISP) and the AI capabilities of the A13 Bionic chipset makes its 12MP camera the best single snapper found on the back of any smartphone.    
Later this year, Google will announce the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 5 XL. Instead of the Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform driving the two models, Google is expected to equip the pair with the Snapdragon 765G chipset. While the latter is integrated with a 5G modem chip, it does not deliver the performance of the Snapdragon 865. It is an intriguing situation because it is hard to understand what Google’s game plan is. One year after many thought that the company was looking to take on Apple and Samsung with the Pixel 4 series, it appears that Google is backing away from this plan and is surrendering to them.