It doesn't matter what your opinion on Google's recent hardware efforts is - no one can argue the company hasn't been rubbish at keeping them secret.
Following the restless series of fiascos preceding the launch of the Pixel 3 line late last year that saw the Pixel 3 XL leak to the point of being reviewed months ahead of its official debut, Google is now also doing a poor job at conspicuously approaching the unveiling of the Pixel 3a range. Behind that odd name hides a couple of mid-range Android devices which have so far been most accurately depicted in a render Android Headlines obtained last week.
Not that we're surprised but that sighting has now been essentially confirmed after another image of the smaller Pixel 3a emerged online earlier today, having been shared by arguably the most reliable smartphone industry insider ever - Evan Blass, better known by his online handle @EvLeaks.
Identical wallpapers aside, the newly shared render finally delivers a close look at the rear side of the Pixel 3a, shedding more light on previous rumors and reports about the Android mid-ranger.
For starters, Google obviously isn't pushing the envelope with its upcoming product range seeing how it's visually almost indistinguishable from the 2018 Pixel 3 series. A single rear camera is still located on the phones' backs, sitting above a traditional fingerprint reader, to the immediate left of a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash.
The color of the leaked handset seems more or less the same as the one used by the Clearly White variant of the Pixel 3 range, with the only visible difference being the power button accent that's now orange, whereas Google previously opted for a lime-like hue.
The user interfaces clearly revealed in this leak and the last week's render shared by Android Headlines points toward Android 9 Pie being part of the package. The original Pixel 3a rumors which emerged even before the supposedly official name of the upcoming range started circulating the industry last year suggested Google is planning a mid-2019 launch for the series and the fact that the latest stable variant of its operating system is pre-installed on the phablets works in favor of that theory; after all, there's no way the Pixel 3a range would debut with Pie if it was planned for a summer release seeing how Android Q may already hit the stable channel in August and will certainly do so by September. Still, the new mid-rangers obviously won't be hanging around Pie for long.
Despite a turn toward the mid-range segment, don't expect the Pixel 3a family to consist of devices smaller than their similarly named predecessors. The actual power difference between the two also isn't expected to be massive in terms of everyday performance seeing how the primary hardware change should arrive in the form of mid-range Snapdragon chipsets replacing the Snapdragon 845.
The Pixel 3a line should become official in a matter of weeks and while Verizon is still believed to be on board with Google's first-party smartphone project, recent reports suggest the handsets will also be making their way to T-Mobile's stores and possibly storefronts of some other carriers as well, hence marking the end of the exclusive wireless retail rights the Big Red enjoyed for over two years.