T-Mobile will soon be able to officially offer Google's Pixel 3 handsets to its customers and may be among the first to carry the Google Pixel 3a, according to recent reports citing unnamed sources. The former two gadgets have previously been available to use on the carrier's network but not as a device sold directly by T-Mobile. The company is said to be undergoing compatibility tests for the latter device.
Given Google's history in choosing Verizon as the sole US service provider selling its handsets, it seems unlikely but not at all impossible that T-Mobile will sell the Pixel 3a from its launch. Regardless, the news of its testing for the handset is leading to some speculation. Rumors now suggest it will either stand alongside or replace Verizon as an official partner in selling the Google Pixel 3a when it eventually launches.
Concerns about an 'over-priced' mid-ranger
So far, rumors and leaks surrounding the Pixel 3a point to a mid-range handset but one that's expected to ship with functionality and features pulled directly from the more powerful siblings bearing its namesake -- but at a premium. Those have placed the price at around $488 to $508 depending on the exchange rate used and region of sale. So it isn't all good news, although some other speculation has placed the cost at around $400 for the Pixel 3a or around $500 for a larger Pixel 3a XL.
For that price, all signs point to a gadget that features essentially the same camera experiences available on mobile -- with just a few smartphones such as Huawei's P30 Pro being better.
The devices will differ from their more expensive counterparts in several ways, including the use of plastics instead of glass in their construction.
There will also be additional differences between the two gadgets that aren't present between the original Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. To begin with, the Google Pixel 3a -- at 5.56-inches -- is expected to ship with a Snapdragon 670 chipset compared to the Snapdragon 710 predicted for the 6-inch Pixel 3a XL and the Snapdragon 845 found in the Pixel 3 variants.
For the smaller Pixel 3a, leaks indicate that will be a 2220 x 1080 resolution display compared to the Pixel 3a XL's Full HD+ resolution panel. They'll each ship with 4GB RAM variants but the larger of the two is rumored to land with a 6GB option too. The smaller device could ship with either 32GB or 64GB storage configurations while the larger is expected to only offer a 64GB unit.
Both are expected to give users the option of using a 3.5mm headphone jack instead of just Bluetooth.
This might not actually be too late if the Pixel 3a lands too
A shift to put the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL up for sale directly through T-Mobile instead of just via Verizon may seem to put the search and software giant a bit behind the game. That's especially true since that handset launched last year. If the company launches its long-rumored Pixel 3a at the same time, that may not turn out to be the case.
Traditionally, Google's Pixel-branded devices have not been the best-selling gadgets available. Having its flagships land on a new seller alongside a mid-range gadget with the same name could bring more attention to Google's original Pixel 3 gadgets than they might have otherwise garnered from T-Mobile customers.
If the Pixel 3a sells well too, the changeup mid-way between the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL launch and the presumed announcement of a Pixel 4 later in the year might benefit Google substantially.