Google Confirms Pixel 3a And Pixel 3a XL Aren't One-Offs, Folding Phone In Development

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Yesterday, Google announced its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL mid-range smartphones which rock a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and the familiar two-tone design aesthetic (albeit with a plastic body). Best of all, the phones start at an incredibly reasonable $399 and $479 respectively, which has already been discounted by $100 thanks to a promotion running at Best Buy.

For those that think that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are just a stop-gap measure that will go by the wayside in the blink of an eye (think iPhone SE), Google is indicating that these more affordable Pixels are here to stay. Android Police was recently able to talk with members of Google's hardware team and they indicated that the company will for the foreseeable future release both flagship Pixel smartphones and more budget-minded devices for those that want the Pixel experience, but don't want to fork over $800+ in the process.

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This could be good news for Google, as CFO Ruth Porat said last month that “recent pressures in the premium smartphone market" have affected Pixel sales. That pressure has been so significant that Pixel 3 sales during Google's most recently completed quarter actually fell compared to the same period last year.

With that being said, looking forward to the eventual Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL, we'd like to see a Snapdragon 700 Series SoC, the wide-angle selfie sensor from the Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL and the inclusion of the Pixel Visual Core (which was left out of the Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL for cost reasons).

In other Google smartphone news, CNET is separately reporting that Google is already working on prototype devices with folding displays. "We're definitely prototyping the technology. We've been doing it for a long time," said Pixel hardware development chief Mario Queiroz. 

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However, Queiroz bluntly added that he doesn't see a significant use case for the devices at the moment despite that fact that Google has baked in support for folding displays into Android Q. "The use case is going to need to be something where you go, 'Hey, I definitely need to have this,'" Queiroz added. "Right now, you don't need to have a foldable. It's kind of a 'nice-to-have.'"

Samsung was the first to jump into the folding phone fray with its Galaxy Fold, but numerous review units failed in spectacular fashion. Samsung subsequently apologized for the failures and delayed the release of the smartphone. Earlier this week, Samsung went so far as to say that it would begin canceling customer preorders in certain situations. A new release date still hasn’t been announced…

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