Google rolls out huge security update to Pixel phones, squashing 50 vulnerabilities

June 2024 has been a big month for Pixel smartphones. Not only did Gemini Nano roll out to the Pixel 8a, but Google also released a huge security update to multiple models. 

It addresses 50 vulnerabilities, ranging in severity from moderate to critical. One of the more insidious flaws is CVE-2024-32896, which Tom’s Guide states “is an elevation of privilege (EoP) vulnerability.” 

An EoP refers to a bug or design flaw that a bad actor can exploit to gain unfettered access to a smartphone’s resources. It’s a level of access that not even a Pixel owner normally has. Even though it’s not as severe as the others, CVE-2024-32896 did warrant an extra warning from Google on the patch’s Pixel Update Bulletin page, stating it “may be under limited, targeted exploitation.” 

In other words, it's likely bad actors are going to be targeting the flaw to infiltrate a Pixel phone, so it’s important that you install the patch.

Installing the fix

The rest of the patch affects other important components on the devices, such as the Pixel Firmware fingerprint sensor. It even fixes a handful of Qualcomm and Qualcomm closed-source components.

Google’s patch is ready to download for all supporting Pixel phones, and you can find the full list of models on the tech giant’s Help website here. They include but are not limited to the Pixel Fold, Pixel 7 series, and the Pixel 8 line.

To download the update, go to the Settings menu on your Pixel phone. Go to Security & Privacy, then to System & Updates. Scroll down to the Security Update and hit Install. Give your device enough time to install the patch and then restart your smartphone.

Existing on Android

It’s important to mention that the EoP vulnerability seems to exist on third-party Android hardware; however, a fix won’t come out for a while. As news site Bleeping Computer explains, the operating systems for Pixel and Android smartphones receive security updates at different times. The reason for this separate rollout is that third-party devices have their own “exclusive features and capabilities.” One comes out faster than the other.

Developers for GrapheneOS, a unique version of Android that is more focused on security, initially found the flaw in April. In a recent post on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter), the team believes non-Pixel phones probably won’t receive the patch until the launch of Android 15. If you don’t get the new operating system, the EoP bug probably won't get removed. The GrapheneOS devs claim the June update “has not been backported.”

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best Android antivirus apps for 2024 if you want even more protection. 

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Google’s Gemini Nano could launch on the Pixel 8a as early as next month

Google promised back in March that it would eventually bring Gemini Nano to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a although no one knew exactly when. Until now, that is, as the update may arrive “very soon.” 

Android Authority recently did a deep dive into the Pixel 8 series’ AICore app and found a pair of toggle switches inside the settings menu. The second switch is the main focus because flipping it turns on “on-device GenAI features.” Activating the tool presumably allows a Pixel 8 smartphone to harness Gemini Nano in order to power the device’s generative AI capabilities. 

It doesn’t actually say “Nano” in the accompanying text, though; just “Gemini”. However, we believe it is that particular model and not some stripped-down version, after all this is what Google said it would. Plus, the Pixel 8 trio runs on the Tensor G3 chipset and it can support the AI with the right hardware adjustments.

No one knows exactly what the AI will actually do here, though. Gemini Nano on the Pixel 8 Pro powers the phone’s “multimodal capabilities,” including, but not limited to, the Summarize tool in the Record app and Magic Compose in Google Messages.

Imminent launch

The other toggle switch isn’t as noteworthy – a screenshot in the report reveals it enables “AICore Persistent.” This gives applications “permission… to use as many [device] resources as possible”. 

Android Authority states that the sudden appearance of these switches could mean Google is almost ready to “announce Nano support for the Pixel 8/8a ”—maybe within the next couple of days or weeks. The company typically releases major updates for its mobile platforms in June, so we expect to see Gemini roll out to the rest of the Pixel 8 line next month. 

According to the publication, the toggles will likely be found in the Developer Options section of the smartphone’s Settings menu. However, it's important to note that this could change at any time.

Technically-minded users can find the switches by digging around the latest AICore patch. The software is available for download from the Google Play Store; however, your Pixel 8 model may need to be running Android 15 Beta 2.1. 9To5Google, in their coverage, claims to have found the AICore toggles on a Pixel 8 with the beta but not on a phone running Android 14.

As for the Pixel 8 Pro, it's unknown if the high-end model is going to receive the same update although there's a chance it could. Android Authority points out it's currently not possible for Pro users to deactivate Gemini Nano, but this update could give them the option.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best Pixel phones for 2024.

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5 ways that Android 15 on Pixel is going to be way more customizable for users

The second Android 15 beta came out not too long ago, on May 15. According to the official Android Developers Blog, the patch continues Google’s efforts at creating a platform that improves productivity, maximizes app performance, and protects user privacy. 

However, the post didn’t mention all the different ways Android 15 will upgrade system customization. As people have dug deep into the OS’ files, many of its other features have been unearthed, with several of them providing new ways to customize a smartphone. 

Below is a list highlighting the most notable of these possible tools. Android 15 won’t launch for a while, so there's a chance that some will not be in the final release. It’s hard to say, but given their seemingly advanced states, we believe they will be available at launch or soon after.

1. Slideshow screensavers

Android 15's possible slideshow menu on Pixel

(Image credit: 9To5Google)

In June 2023, a mysterious Google app called Dreams was discovered on the Play Store. It was for the Pixel Tablet and allowed the device to play a “collection of screen savers” when docked and not in use. Nothing really came of it, though, as Dreams just disappeared from the store.

It appears, though, that the same feature will be making its way to Pixel phones as Android 15 Beta 2 refers to “Dreamliner” within its files. When docked on the second-generation Pixel Stand, users can select photo albums on their device to be a slideshow as a screensaver. Moreover, the Google Photos UI has been updated to accommodate Dreamliner and not the Google Assistant. 

2. Widget buttons and previews

Android 15's new Widget button on Pixel

(Image credit: 9To5Google)

Adding widgets to your Android phones requires manually dragging and dropping apps from the Home screen. However, evidence suggests that Google plans to introduce an “Add button.” So, instead of having to drag the widget over, you can just push the button and attach them that way. Images in 9To5Google’s report show that there will be a big blue button right where a widget space is available.

3. Pixel Avatar

Android 15 Pixel Avatar app

(Image credit: Androig Authority)

Industry insider Mishaal Rahman discovered an unbundled version of Google Pixel Avatar inside the beta files. This is an app that allows users to select an icon to be their profile picture. Rahman states the software has been a part of Android for a while now, but it adds a new feature: “the ability to use your Google Account picture as your [main] profile picture.”

Prior to this update, Google Account and Android profile images existed as separate entities. Now, the barrier is gone, allowing one photo for both platforms. It’s important to mention that this capability actually came out on the first Android 15 beta, but the syncing process wasn’t very reliable. Things should be much better now.

There is no word if it’ll work with third-party apps, as the current version only connects the Pixel Avatar with SystemUI apps.

4. Cast volume controls

google nest

(Image credit: Google)

Audio company Sonos sued Google for an “alleged patent infringement” back in 2020, claiming the tech giant “ripped off its patented speaker technology.” Google eventually disabled the ability to use a Pixel phone’s volume buttons to control speaker groups and other “Chrome and Google cast devices.” Sonos seemingly won the lawsuit, however a California judge overturned the verdict in 2023, paving the way for Google to bring back volume controls and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

It’s the return of a feature people initially thought would never return. Android Authority was able to cast songs from YouTube Music to Nest Hub devices using Beta 2 of Android 15. Adjusting the speaker group volume worked without a hitch. So, after years of waiting, users may soon finally create (or recreate) their ideal listening environment. 

5. Vibration strength

Android 15 on Pixel - Adaptive Vibration

(Image credit: 9To5Google)

Lastly, Google is adding a new Adaptive Vibration tool to Pixel. According to the text description, the software can automatically adjust the smartphone’s vibration level “based on your environment.” Phone vibration won’t be as powerful on a table, for example, but if it detects it’s on a couch, the Pixel would vibrate more loudly. The device will be able to detect where it’s located by using the “microphone and other sensors… to determine sound levels and context.” Maybe most importantly, no data will be recorded.

It's unknown whether these features will roll out to third-party Android phones. Google may possibily be giving Pixel owners the opportunity to try them out first before expanding their availability.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best Android phones for 2024.

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Google’s Project Astra could supercharge the Pixel 9 – and help Google Glass make a comeback

I didn't expect Google Glass to make a minor comeback at Google I/O 2024, but it did thanks to Project Astra. 

That's Google's name for a new prototype of AI agents, underpinned by the Gemini multimodal AI, that can make sense of video and speech inputs, and smartly react to what a person is effectively looking at and answer queries about it. 

Described as a “universal AI” that can be “truly helpful in everyday life”, Project Astra is designed to be proactive, teachable, and able to understand natural language. And in a video ,Google demonstrated this with a person using what looked like a Pixel 8 Pro with the Astra AI running on it. 

By pointing the phone's camera at room, the person was able to ask Astra to “tell me when you see something that makes sound”, to which the AI will flagged a speaker it can see within the camera's viewfinder. From there the person was able to ask what a certain part of the speaker was, with the AI replying that the part in question is a tweeter and handles high frequencies. 

But Astra does a lot more: it can identify code on a monitor and explain what it does, and it can work out where someone is in a city and provide a description of that area. Heck, when promoted, it can even make an alliterative sentence around a set of crayons in a fashion that's a tad Dr Zeus-like.

It can can even recall where the user has left a pair of glasses, as the AI remembers where it saw them last. It was able to do the latter as AI is designed to encode video frames of what it's seen, combine that video with speech inputs and put it all together in a timeline of events, caching that information so it can recall it later at speed. 

Then flipping over to a person wearing the Google Glass 'smart glasses', Astra could see that the person was looking at a diagram of a system on a whiteboard, and figure out where optimizations could be made when asked about them. 

Such capabilities suddenly make Glass seem genuinely useful, rather than the slightly creepy and arguably dud device it was a handful of years ago; maybe we'll see Google return to the smart glasses arena after this. 

Project Astra can do all of this thanks to using multimodal AI, which in simple terms is a mix of neural network models that can process data and inputs from multiple sources; think mixing information from cameras and microphones with knowledge the AI has already been trained on.

Google didn't say when Project Astra will make it into products, or even into the hands of developers, but Google's DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said that “some of these capabilities are coming to Google products, like the Gemini app, later this year.” I'd be very surprised if that doesn't mean the Google Pixel 9, which we're expecting to arrive later this year.

Now it's worth bearing in mind that Project Astra was shown off in a very slick video, and the reality of such onboard AI agents is they can suffer from latency. But it's a promising look at how Google will likely integrate actually useful AI tools into its future products.

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Assistant with Bard video may show how it’ll work and when it could land on your Pixel

New footage has leaked for Google’s Assistant with Bard demonstrating how the digital AI helper could work at launch.

Nail Sadykov posted the video on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) after discovering the feature on the Pixel Tips app. Apparently, Google accidentally spilled the beans on its tech, so it’s probably safe to say this is legitimate. It looks like something you would see in one of the company’s Keyword posts explaining the feature in detail except there’s no audio.

There will, based on the clip, be two ways to activate Assistant with Bard: either by tapping the Bard app and saying “Hey Google” or pressing and holding the power button. A multimodular input box rises from the bottom where you can type in a text prompt, upload photos, or speak a verbal command. The demo proceeds to only show the second method by having someone take a picture of a wilting plant and then verbally ask for advice on how to save it. 

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A few seconds later, Assistant with Bard manages to correctly identify the plant in the image (it’s a spider plant, by the way) and generates a wall of text explaining what can be done to revitalize it. It even links to several YouTube videos at the end.

Assistant with Bard has something of a badly kept secret. It was originally announced back in October 2023 but has since seen multiple leaks. The biggest info dump by far occurred in early January revealing much of the user experience as well as “various in-development features.” What’s been missing up to this point is news on whether or not Assistant with Bard will have any sort of limitations. As it turns out, there may be a few restrictions.

Assistant Limitations

Mishaal Rahman, another industry insider, dove into Pixel Tips searching for more information on the update. He claims Assistant with Bard will only appear on single-screen Pixel smartphones powered by a Tensor chip. This includes the Pixel 6, Pixel 7, and Pixel 8 lines. Older models will not receive the upgrade and neither will the Pixel Tablet, Pixel Fold, or the “rumored Pixel Fold 2”.

Additionally, mobile devices must be running the Android 14 QPR2 beta “or the upcoming stable QPR2 release” although it’s most likely going to be the latter. Rahman states he found a publication date in the Pixels Tip app hinting at a March 2024 release. It’s important to point out that March is also the expected launch window for Android 14 QPR2 and the next Feature Drop for Pixel phones.

No word on whether or not other Android devices will receive Assistant with Bard. It seems it’ll be exclusive to Pixel for the moment. We could see the update elsewhere, however considering that key brands, like Samsung, prefer having their own AI, an Assistant with Bard expansion seems unlikely. But we could be wrong.

Until we learn more, check out TechRadar's list of the best Pixel phones for 2024.

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Galaxy S24, S23, and Pixel phones could be first in line for Assistant with Bard

At the same time as launching the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel Watch 2 last week, Google also unveiled its new AI-powered Assistant with Bard tool – and now we've got a better idea of which phones might be getting the app first.

The team at 9to5Google has dug into the latest Google app for Android to look for references to Assistant with Bard, and based on hidden code that's been uncovered, it looks as though the Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 phones will be first in line.

With the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro shipping tomorrow, it seems likely that users of these phones will be able to try Assistant with Bard before anyone else – and Google intimated as much when it announced the AI bot. The Samsung Galaxy S24 isn't due to launch until January or February next year.

However, Google has also gone on record as saying Assistant with Bard will be available to “select testers” to begin with, before more people get it over the “next few months”. In other words, even if you've got a Pixel 8, you might be waiting a while.

Coming soon

After Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 owners have had a good play around with everything that Assistant with Bard has to offer, 9to5Google suggests that the Pixel 6, Pixel 7, and Galaxy S23 handsets will be the next to receive the upgrade.

Some example queries have also been found in the Google app code, including “help explain in a kid-friendly way why rainbows appear” and “give me some ideas to surprise my concert-loving friend on their birthday”.

Those lines will be familiar to anyone who's already played around with the generative AI in Google Bard: like ChatGPT, it can write poetry, reports, emails, and much more, as well as coming up with ideas and explaining difficult topics.

Assistant with Bard adds all that to what we already have in Google Assistant: answering questions, controlling smart lights, finding out what the weather's doing, and so on. It could soon be the most powerful Google app on your phone.

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Android 13, Wear OS, Pixel 6a and more: what we expect from Google IO 2022

The annual Google IO event has been confirmed for 2022 – this year, it'll take place between May 11 and 12, with a big keynote conference kicking it off on that first date.

This was confirmed by the company's CEO Sundar Pichai, who posted on Twitter to confirm that the company's big yearly event would return on those dates – and at a physical location too, showing an interesting recommitment to physical events after the pandemic.

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Nw, before you roll your eyes and think 'this is too techy, I don't care' – well, there's a reason this might be interesting to you.

You see, while Google IO is mainly a developer event, in the same vein as Apple's WWDC, we also sometimes see tech from the company unveiled at the event. So here's a quick sizzle through the key things we're hoping for.

Android 13

Android Logo

(Image credit: Google)

Google almost always shows off its next Android update at IO – this year, that's Android 13.

We know a little bit about this update – a small beta brought lots of privacy features,  code pointed to the ability to toggle the brightness of the phone's flashlight (though you'll need a device with hardware that facilitates this) and Google has teased the ability to compress apps you don't use much, saving you from deleting them.

Those are cool features but they're not exactly flagship ones, so we're hoping Google has something big up its sleeve for its unluckily-numbered next update.

Wear OS

Google IO 2021

(Image credit: Google)

Google IO is typically a software-focused event, but it generally didn't talk about Wear OS, its smartwatch operating system…

… until 2021, when Wear OS 3 was unveiled, and it was the biggest shake-up to the company's smartwatch software in years. It was designed alongside Samsung, but more companies were set to use the software for their wearables too.

It's been a bit of a quieter year for Wear OS than we expected, as not as many companies adopted the new system as we (and likely Google) would have liked. But with the backing of Samsung, we don't think Google will forget about its software – hopefully, we'll see new features for it that make it more tempting for manufacturers.

Google Pixel 6a

There's an outside chance that we'll see the Google Pixel 6a – the company has previously unveiled its affordable A series of gadgets at Google IO before, though it hasn't for a few years.

This would be an inexpensive take on the Pixel 6, designed for people whose budgets don't have space for super-pricey Android phones.

If the Pixel 6a doesn't appear, we could still see other A-series devices like earbuds, as they've shown up recently at IO too.

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Android 13, Wear OS, Pixel 6a and more: what we expect from Google IO 2022

The annual Google IO event has been confirmed for 2022 – this year, it'll take place between May 11 and 12, with a big keynote conference kicking it off on that first date.

This was confirmed by the company's CEO Sundar Pichai, who posted on Twitter to confirm that the company's big yearly event would return on those dates – and at a physical location too, showing an interesting recommitment to physical events after the pandemic.

See more

Nw, before you roll your eyes and think 'this is too techy, I don't care' – well, there's a reason this might be interesting to you.

You see, while Google IO is mainly a developer event, in the same vein as Apple's WWDC, we also sometimes see tech from the company unveiled at the event. So here's a quick sizzle through the key things we're hoping for.

Android 13

Android Logo

(Image credit: Google)

Google almost always shows off its next Android update at IO – this year, that's Android 13.

We know a little bit about this update – a small beta brought lots of privacy features,  code pointed to the ability to toggle the brightness of the phone's flashlight (though you'll need a device with hardware that facilitates this) and Google has teased the ability to compress apps you don't use much, saving you from deleting them.

Those are cool features but they're not exactly flagship ones, so we're hoping Google has something big up its sleeve for its unluckily-numbered next update.

Wear OS

Google IO 2021

(Image credit: Google)

Google IO is typically a software-focused event, but it generally didn't talk about Wear OS, its smartwatch operating system…

… until 2021, when Wear OS 3 was unveiled, and it was the biggest shake-up to the company's smartwatch software in years. It was designed alongside Samsung, but more companies were set to use the software for their wearables too.

It's been a bit of a quieter year for Wear OS than we expected, as not as many companies adopted the new system as we (and likely Google) would have liked. But with the backing of Samsung, we don't think Google will forget about its software – hopefully, we'll see new features for it that make it more tempting for manufacturers.

Google Pixel 6a

There's an outside chance that we'll see the Google Pixel 6a – the company has previously unveiled its affordable A series of gadgets at Google IO before, though it hasn't for a few years.

This would be an inexpensive take on the Pixel 6, designed for people whose budgets don't have space for super-pricey Android phones.

If the Pixel 6a doesn't appear, we could still see other A-series devices like earbuds, as they've shown up recently at IO too.

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Google Pixel 4a release date, price, specs, news and leaks

The Google Pixel 4a is starting to look like the Pixel 4 device you may actually buy, and it could be such a good value that it ends up as one of 2020's best affordable phones

But it's been weeks since we first expected Google to officially announce the Pixel 4a and it still hasn't been unveiled. While we'd last expected it to come out alongside the Android 11 beta, now that that's officially launched, we aren't sure when we'll see Google's next mid-range device.

In any case, it's long past the time last year when Google surprised everyone by releasing the Pixel 3a and 3a XL in the middle of 2019 as affordable versions of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL retaining some of the best perks of the premium devices at a mid-range pricetag. In short, consumers could once again get the famed Pixel photography at an affordable price.

Leaks have started flowing in since the beginning of 2020, so it looks like a budget Google Pixel 4a could be coming at some point soon – although we've heard that the phone will be released alone without its larger XL sibling. That might make sense, though we'd hope the regular 4a wouldn't retain the standard Pixel 4's battery issues.

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL were popular devices, but didn't land with quite the fanfare of the Pixel 3 handsets. The cheaper Pixel 4a phones could be Google's opportunity to win back consumers, especially those who have been reducing their phone budgets amid the current outbreak.

Below we've put together everything we know so far about the upcoming phones including details on when to expect it and the first images of the upcoming handsets.

Latest story: It looks like the Pixel 4a might not go on sale until October now, though we're still crossing our fingers for an announcement about the phone on July 13.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? An affordable variant of the Pixel 4 smartphone
  • When is it out? We should find out on July 13
  • How much will it cost? Around $ 399 / £399 / AU$ 649 or less

Google Pixel 4a release date

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4

Originally, we had expected to see Google introduce its next affordable devices at Google IO 2020, which was expected to take place between May 12-14, but that event has now been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL were announced at last year's Google IO, but in its absence, we'd heard a rumor that the Google Pixel 4a could release on May 22. That date has come and gone.

A subsequent rumor suggested a later date of June 5. Why? Probably to coincide with the Android 11 public beta launch – but that itself got pushed back, and we still haven't seen the Pixel 4a.

According to those in the know, Google will now reveal details about the Pixel 4a on July 13, though the handset won't go on sale until October. It might even be renamed the Pixel 5a and go on sale with the Pixel 5.

Yet another rumor, however, claims the Pixel 4a launch will get delayed until July 13, though we're not sure why. It will be announced without an XL model, the rumor states – and it won't be 5G-capable.

Google Pixel 4a price

The Pixel 3a cost $ 399 / £399 / AU$ 649 at launch, while the Pixel 3a XL cost $ 479 / £469 / AU$ 799. In terms of how much you'll pay for the 4a, the Google Pixel 4a price could actually be lower than the Pixel 3a price. That could be due to regional price differences – or because Google might intentionally lowball the phone's pricetag amid a more competitive mid-range market.

For instance, one price rumor puts the Pixel 4a at $ 349 (roughly £285 / AU$ 540) for 128GB of storage – so you'd be paying less and getting twice as much storage. And it's always possible there would be an even cheaper 64GB model. But Google might be thinking of a baseline lower price: the company allegedly surveyed consumers to see if they'd buy a non-premium Pixel phone for $ 349 (around £246 / AU$ 535).

Having said that, an older price rumor points to $ 399, which is exactly the same as the Pixel 3a, so we're not sure right now.

Google Pixel 4a design and display

Google Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3a XL

We're going to start with a rumor that might disappoint some of you: word is that Google might not put out a Pixel 4a XL, only focusing on the smaller device. 

Apparently this is so people looking for a bigger phone stick with the Pixel 4 XL, as supposedly the Pixel 3a XL stole sales from the Pixel 3 XL.

While that rumor is seemingly backed up by the relative lack of Pixel 4a XL rumors, we've heard there could be three Pixel 4a devices, including a 5G model. This comes from Android code which refers to three different devices, presumably consisting of a main device as well as an XL and 5G phone, although they aren't named as such.

Those devices have appeared again in subsequent Google code, and this time two of them were alongside the phrase ‘pixel_20_mid_range’, all but confirming that they're unannounced mid-range Pixel phones, though the source speculates that the third code name might refer to a circuit board rather than a device.

As such, we'd say there might well be a Pixel 4a XL, but either way there's almost certainly at least going to be a Pixel 4a. So what will the base Pixel 4a look like? We think it'll be like the below, which we don't believe are hands on shots of the phone and are instead doctored image of the original Pixel.

We've left these images here though as they show what other sources believe the device may look like. It may have a punch-hole selfie camera in the top left of the screen, which would be a first for a Pixel phone.

Some unofficial renders of the device as well as a leaked case render show a similar design to the fake photos above too, and it's likely these were where the design was taken from.

Elsewhere, we've also seen leaked images seemingly showing retail boxes for the phone, which match the design above.

Google Pixel 4a specs

We've also seen a full specs leak for the Pixel 4a, claiming that it will have a 5.81-inch 1080 x 2340 OLED screen, a mid-range Snapdragon 730 chipset, 6GB of RAM, a 3,080mAh battery, 128GB of storage, a 12.2MP main camera, an 8MP front-facing one (in a punch-hole), a 3.5mm headphone port, and that it will come in Just Black’ and ‘Barely Blue’ shades.

There's also said to be no Soli chip, which allowed you to navigate the Pixel 4 hands-free (well, in theory). This is unlikely to be available on the Pixel 4a in order to keep the price as low as possible.

What is powering the Google Pixel 4a? That's currently a little uncertain as while the leaks above points to a Snapdragon 730, an investigation run by XDA Developers dug up prototypes of the phone that run both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 and the Snapdragon 765.

The Snapdragon 765 prototype may be a 5G-ready version of the phone as that chipset is designed to power 5G hardware. We've heard conflicting rumors on whether there will be a next-gen internet version of the Pixel 4a, but consistent rumors suggest it may be a reality.

A leaked benchmarks score also suggests the phone will be more powerful than the Google Pixel 3a but won't be as capable about the Pixel 4 series. It scored 6,366 in Geekbench 4 testing, which is quite impressive.

Based on a leaked image posted to the web, we're looking at 6GB of RAM (as leaked above) and faster UFS 2.1 flash storage when the Pixel 4a finally appears, with 64GB being one of the storage options. When we say faster, it's an upgrade on the flash storage used in the Pixel 3a. 

Google Pixel 4a camera

Then we have the camera to talk about. We're expecting it to be similar to the Google Pixel 4's shooter – one of the best smartphone cameras around – but it's unlikely to have all the bells and whistles of that device's tech.

Someone with an early piece of hardware has provided the below camera samples with the Google Pixel 4a. It seems the shooter works well at color reproduction, but there's no gurantee this sort of tech will make its way onto the final device.

The tweet adds more evidence to the suggestion we'll see a 12MP main shooter on the Google Pixel 4a.

What we want to see in the Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4 was an innovative flagship feature, but when it comes to adapting this feature to a budget price tag, there are a few things we'd like it to consider. Here's what we want to see:

1. Bring back the fingerprint scanner

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 has no rear-mounted fingerprint scanner like the Pixel 3, not does it have an in-screen one like many premium smartphones around. Instead, it relies on facial recognition unlocking for you to access your phone.

For some, this is a useful feature to help them get into their phone quickly and easily; others find this an unsecured and frustrating experience. For the Pixel 4a, we'd like Google to drop this feature, and instead have a physical or screen-mounted fingerprint sensor.

It's likely Google will make this change, as the tech involved in efficient face unlocking adds quite a bit of price to the phone, so if the company wants to slash the price of the new device, it'd make sense to remove face recognition first.

2. Improved battery life

Google Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3a XL

A recurring problem with Google Pixel smartphones is that their battery lives always leave a lot to be desired, and plummet quicker than competing devices. Saying that, the Pixel 3a solved that problem with a bigger battery capacity and a weaker processor, which meant it drained battery less.

Since most normal people need smartphone batteries that'll last them a day, even in a pinch, the more affordable and accessible Pixel 4a needs a battery that'll last it this long, which means a bigger capacity than the 4 as well as tools in place to keep it going longer, like canny optimizations.

3. Drop the 90Hz screen

This is bound to be a pretty controversial suggestion, but if Google is looking for features to cut to keep the Pixel 4a price down, we'd argue the 90Hz screen is an unnecessary luxury that could be lost without making the device worse.

While some people really love 90Hz screens in phones like the Pixel 4, as it makes the viewing experience a little smoother, many more people struggle to notice the difference, especially people who aren't huge tech fans who don't know the feature is in place.

That means it's not a vital feature, and when there are aspects of the Pixel 4 that we would like to see in the 4a, we'd say the 90Hz screens are expendable.

4. Keep the telephoto camera

Google Pixel 4 camera

The Google Pixel 4’s main camera

The Google Pixel 4 smartphones bumped the number of cameras on Google's devices from one to two, adding a telephoto snapper for optical zoom.

The Pixel 3a devices saw the cameras slightly downgraded from the Pixel 3 line, but that was purely in terms of software post-processing, and the hardware was exactly the same. 

A telephoto lens in a camera is really useful, so you can take better pictures of a subject without dropping the quality dramatically, and we'd love to see it kept in the Pixel 4a. We'd be surprised if this wasn't the case, as the telephoto lens really ties the rear design together. And talking of Pixel 4a design…

5. Stick with the weird design

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 XL (left) and Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 smartphones are weird looking devices, there's no getting around that. They're bare on the back except for a pretty sizeable camera bump (no fingerprint sensor, like in previous Pixels), with a glass back but a rubber frame around the edges. Yep, you read that right, rubber in a smartphone!

On the front, there's a notch the likes of which you barely see in modern smartphones, with a sizeable chin at the bottom of the screen. All in all, the Pixel 4 devices are far from 'conventional' Android phones, for better or worse.

Well, we kind of like the design. It's unique, and the Pixel 4 feels distinct in hand when you're using it. We'd like to see the Pixel 4a retain the 'weird' design, especially the rubber frame, as we found it great for protecting the phone. 

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Looking for Google Pixel 4 deals? These EE tariffs blow everything else away right now

The Google Pixel 4, the latest phone from the search engine giant, has been around for a good few months now. In that time we've seen prices shoot up, down, left, right and just about every direction imaginable but now, costs seem to have settled…at least for one network.

Currently, the EE network seems to have secured all of the cheapest Google Pixel 4 deals. That means currently there are options ranging from £23 a month (with lots of upfront costs, of course) through to free upfront plans on EE giving you plenty of choice.

However, when there is so much choice, picking the perfect plan can be daunting. That's why we've analysed a heap of Pixel 4 plans and picked out the top three available on EE right now.

We've listed these three plans below so you can find your perfect contract. And if you find them all lacking in the data department, try this 100GB data Three plan out for size.

The Google Pixel 4 offers a number of innovative features and major upgrades. It's the first phone to fully implement motion sense features, allowing you to use the phone with gestures.

The processor has gotten a major upgrade, finally bringing the Pixel range up to competitive standards of RAM, and the OLED screen has seen major improvements, now capable of 90HZ refresh rates and offering ambient EQ technology that lets you adjust the screen to your environment.

Read our full Google Pixel 4 review and Pixel 4 XL review

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