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Google’s $349 Pixel 4a will try to undercut iPhone SE, not just with price

The Pixel 4a launches at a perfect time when consumers are not willing to pay $1000 for a smartphone.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
Updated: August 4, 2020 7:07:41 am
google pixel 4a, pixel 4a, pixel 4a price in india, pixel 4a launch in India, pixel 4a specs, pixel 4a features, pixel 4a sale, iphone se Google Pixel 4a is aimed at the Apple iPhone SE (2020). Image credit: Google

Google is adding a new, compact-sized Pixel 4a in its smartphone portfolio, the company said on Monday. The good news is that the Pixel 4a won’t hurt your wallet, as the phone starts at $349 in the US, making it the cheapest Pixel-branded smartphone ever.

The Pixel 4a is aimed at the budget-conscious consumers who don’t have the money to buy the Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL, Google’s latest flagship devices. Starting at $349, the Pixel 4a is a compelling purchase – at least for those who do not want features like multiple cameras and higher refresh rate displays in a smartphone.

“Our goal with the Pixel 4a is to once again bring software experiences from a flagship line, the industry-leading camera, the real focus on fundamentals from an all-day adaptive battery to ongoing security and post updates,” Nanda Ramachandran, Senior Director of Google’s Pixel Business, said ahead of Monday’s Pixel 4a launch.

Ramachandran said the Pixel 4a is built on the same idea as the last year’s Pixel 3a, and the idea is to bring the “best of Google hardware, software and AI” to more consumers at an accessible price point. But this time around, the Pixel 4a is launching at a time when consumers are hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. With most people cutting down on their discretionary spending, the $349 price tag of Pixel 4a might convince consumers to upgrade to a new smartphone in uncertain times. It’s the same tactic Apple recently used with the second-generation iPhone SE, which starts at $399.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 review: This iPhone fits your hand and pocket

At $349, many would think that Google has made compromises to launch the Pixel 4a at a low price, but that’s not true. As Ramachandran said, Google took the best out of the Pixel 4 and cut features on the Pixel 4a. The new low-cost phone has a 5.8-inch FHD+ OLED screen with minimum top and bottom bezels. Google says the screen size is increased by 4.5 per cent compared to the Pixel 3a, while the overall device size is decreased by 5.8 per cent. The 5.8-inch screen is neither too small nor too big for a modern-day smartphone. The Pixel 4a is not a small phone, but is compact enough to use one-handed.

At the same time, Google has managed to fit a faster Snapdragon 730G processor, meaning the phone will run all the games and apps that many expensive Android smartphones run. Of course, this Pixel-branded device can take remarkable photos with a single 12MP wide-angle lens on the back. Google says its Pixel 4a has many of the same camera features that one can find on Pixel 4, including HDR Plus for sharp and colorful shots, Night Sight mode as well as the Astrophotography mode which let users capture high-quality photos of stars.

It’s not that there aren’t any comprises. Google had cut down on features to keep the price down. For instance, the Pixel 4a’s camera lacks a telephoto lens as seen in the Pixel 4.

Other features of the Pixel 4a include a 3140mAh battery with support for fast charging with an 18-watt charger, soft-touch polycarbonate back, stereo speakers, an 8MP wide-angle selfie camera, and Titan M security-focused chip, among others.

The Pixel 4a will come in a single model, 6GB RAM with 128GB storage. Google is also launching a 5G-ready Pixel 4a for $499. For the Indian market, Google only plans to release the Pixel 4a, the model with 4G LTE support. The company has refrained from releasing the India price at this point, but said the launch will happen sometime in October.

The $349 price of Pixel 4a, though, is the strongest selling point of the phone. The target demography for the Pixel 4a is someone who is not willing to pay for fancy features. The Pixel 4a launches at a perfect time when consumers are not willing to pay $1000 for a smartphone. However, the Pixel 4a faces tough competition from the iPhone SE. The Apple iPhone SE, which starts at $399, has been well received by consumers. In fact, Apple saw iPhone sales increase in Q3 2020, largely due to the “very successful” release of the low-cost iPhone SE in April. It remains to be seen how well the Pixel 4a will be received in the market with a price that already dramatically undercuts Apple’s iPhone SE.

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