A teaser that went online several hours back confirmed some speculation about the strategy behind Google's Pixel 3a range, an upcoming lineup of Android mid-rangers that's about to land in an oversaturated market and likely fight for its (commercial) life. Published on Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart, the promo confirms Google intends to release its next pair of handsets in the South Asian country, signaling their overall availability will likely be comparable to that of the original Pixel 3 series which launched in over a dozen countries across the world.
While the last few generations of Google's flagships also made their way to India, they didn't exactly dominate, primarily due to their price tags which were massive relative to offerings from aggressive competitors such as OnePlus. Alphabet's subsidiary is now rumored to be trying something different and more in line with what the average Indian consumers is looking for – a value-oriented product with a great camera that's much more affordable than traditional high-end smartphones despite being capable of taking them on directly, at least in the mobile photography department.
By most accounts, the 12.2-megapixel camera of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will be virtually identical to the one sitting on the back of Google's 2018 flagships, meaning it should boast imaging performance that's virtually unheard of in the mid-range segment. However, that's pretty much where its major selling points end seeing how the devices are otherwise expected to utilize modes Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of flash storage. Most of Google's rivals are already offering more powerful alternatives even below the upper mid-range price bracket, which is almost certainly the level the Pixel 3a family will be occupying.
Industry watchers are generally skeptical about Google's ability to compete in by far the most cutthroat smartphone segment of them all as the firm continues to value its hardware brand on par with that of Samsung and Apple. Still, for the first time ever, a slight premium may actually be justified given how the artificial intelligence tech and other components of Google's cutting-edge camera will for once deliver something truly unprecedented in any given price range; let's not forget the Pixel 3 camera remains one of the best there is, even if it never held the title of the industry's best like its two predecessors did.
The newly sighted teaser also confirms the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will be launching in India on May 8, a day after they're expected to be officially announced in Google's hometown of Mountain View, California, as part of the second day of this year's Google I/O conference (or on the same day, given the time zone difference). While traditionally aimed at developers, the focus I/O places on consumers has been growing in recent years and now appears to be ready to culminate.
Internal differences aside, the upcoming mid-rangers should be largely identical to their high-end counterparts in terms of size and looks, recent reports indicate. They should also ship with Android 9 Pie and make a jump to the first stable version of Android Q by the end of the summer, which is when the latest variant of the world's most popular mobile OS is set to conclude its beta phase.