The new Google Pixel 3a Android smartphone starts at $399

Google launched the more affordable Pixel 3a and 3a XL phones for $399 and $479, with the aim of providing smartphones similar in quality to the Pixels for less money.

Google has announced the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are now available priced at $399 and $479, respectively. According to Google, the goal when creating the newest Pixels was to provide the same quality as the flagship Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL at a more accessible cost.

The new Pixels follow the same design languages as past versions, and come in three colors -- white, black and purplish. The phones feature an OLED display. The 3a is 5.6 inches corner to corner, with 2220 x 1080 resolution. The Pixel 3a XL is slightly larger, with a 6-inch, 2160 x 1080 display. Both Pixel smartphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack, much to the delight of the audience at Google's I/O conference. Apple controversially did away with its headphone jack with the release of iPhone 7 in 2016, a move other phone makers soon followed.

Other specs include a 2.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC (64-bit Octa-Core), 4GB LPDDR4X RAM, making the new Pixel smartphones slightly less powerful than the Pixel 3 units, which pack a Snapdragon 845. Both new Pixels sport 64 GB internal storage.

On the photo side of things, the phones have portrait mode on both the front and rear cameras, a "night sight" feature that allows for photography in low lighting and free backup for all photos with Google Photos.

Additionally, Pixel 3a and 3a XL have the Google Assistant built in, a call stream to help filter out robocalls, and an AR-type feature that shows arrows in the real world when using walking directions in Google Maps.

As far as battery life, Google claims the battery will last up to 30 hours on a single charge, and will last for seven hours with 15 minutes of charging. The phones use adaptive battery machine learning to optimize battery usage based on how a person uses their phone, according to Google. Unlike the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, neither new Pixel supports wireless charging.


Though not officially confirmed by Google, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will likely be part of the Google Android Enterprise Partners program, along with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Previous Pixels have been guaranteed major Android version updates, and security updates for three years within 30 days. Conversely, other smartphones in the program are only guaranteed one major Android update, and three years of security updates within 90 days. Google Pixel smartphones have also been guaranteed access to Android developer preview images for upcoming Android releases.

This means that while the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will ship with the current version of Android 9 (Pie), they will receive the Android Q update, and support the current beta release.

Android Q

The Pixels will start receiving the Android Q update over the summer, the newest version of the operating system that Google also detailed at I/O.

Android Q will also run on the foldables, a new display technology that can bend and fold from phone to tablet-sized screens, which are "coming soon," according to Google.

With Android Q, users will be able to natively run on 5G, which Google said will have consistently faster speeds, lower latency, and will provide users with better experiences within apps and particularly games.

A new feature with Q is the option for live captions on videos. Q will automatically transcribe the audio from a video into captions without using the internet.

Q will also have smart reply, which will provide predictive text, emojis and options such as opening Maps to find an address from a text. Users with Q will also get dark theme, which can be activated from a quick tile or by turning on battery saving mode.

According to Google, Q has 50 features that focus on security and privacy -- including notifications whenever an app accesses your location when you're not using it.

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