While Verizon's period of exclusivity wherein it was the only wireless carrier in the United States offering Pixel-series Android smartphones from Google is now coming to an end, some of its rivals have no intention of settling with just the next mobile device range from the tech giant's workshop. Sprint is hence said to be preparing to offer not just the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, a pair of mid-rangers Google is expected to launch later today, but has also negotiated a distribution agreement for the older Pixel 3 lineup, i.e. the last set of flagships released by Alphabet's subsidiary.
According to a newly leaked document supposedly originating from the Kansas network giant, the Pixel 3 XL will be making its way to Sprint's portfolio in a matter of days, possibly even hours, and should be shadowed by what's internally referred to as the Google S4 and Google B4.
Whether those monikers are meant to reference "Sargo" and "Bonito," the codenames several sources already mentioned in the context of the Pixel 3a range, is unclear. However, the fact that the same source name-drops the Pixel 3 XL leaves a distant possibility that the 3a series may actually bear a different name, at least as far as units advertised to Sprint's customers are concerned.
That would certainly be a first for Google and hence isn't likely to happen; despite generally positive reviews, the Pixel devices remain niche products and as things stand right now, it doesn't seem likely that the company will be making any moves that would dilute its already fragile brand.
Exactly how "fragile" we're talking about here is still up in the air; while original reports indicated Google will be demanding quite a lot for its mid-rangers despite designing them as what's essentially a near-universally downgraded version of the high-end Pixel 3 range, more recent claims from people said to be close to the firm are indicative of a different scenario, having raised the possibility that Google's line may start as low as $400.
Suddenly, the range went from a likely heavily overpriced affair to one that could potentially change the name of the mid-range game to a Google-only show. Well, assuming the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL actually end up being released on a global level. Not like the last three generations of Made-by-Google devices, mind you; sure, their launches were global in terms of market diversity but still insignificant when looking at the actual number of countries wherein consumers were able to buy them.
So, over half a year after delivering an underwhelming pair of devices relative to their rival peers, Google might actually have a chance to redeem the third generation of its Android handsets with a surprising jump into the mid-range segment. Well, "surprising" in the sense that few saw much sense in the decision until recently, when rumors of the decreased price tag first started circulating the industry.
The Alphabet-owned company should be announcing the new phablets in a matter of hours, with its annual I/O developer conference being scheduled to start with a keynote at 10 PM PST.