Google Pixel 4a costs just US$349

Google Pixel 4a

If it’s good for Apple, then why not for Google.

Google has unveiled the Pixel 4a which will cost US$349 (A$599), which is US$50 cheaper than the Apple iPhone SE, which has boosted Apple’s revenue as the coronavirus pandemic hits the hip pocket.

The availability of a lower-priced model was a major reason Apple’s iPhone shipments during the April-June period climbed 11% from the same time last year, according to research firm Internal Data Corp. That was in stark contrast to the overall smartphone market, which registered a 16% decline in shipments in the same period, the steepest drop in the industry’s history, IDC said.

The Pixel 4a is available in a single variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage, and there is a single 12.2MP camera with OIS at the back. That camera is on par with the full-fledged Pixel 4, making the Pixel 4a the best camera in the sub-US$500 segment.

Google is launching the Pixel 4a in 13 markets around the world and it is available for pre-order now in the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan. It goes on sale on August 20 in the US and Japan and from September 10 in Canada, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, Ireland France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Ultimately, Google is marketing the Pixel 4a’s high-quality camera and its price tag.

“Get incredible photos without paying a ridiculous price. The Pixel 4a camera has HDR+, Night Sight and more,” said Google on its website.

Google guarantees at least three years of software updates on the Pixel 4a and it is the software that makes the photographs unbelievably good for the price.

“These cameras are particularly impressive in the dark,” wrote Dieter Bohn of The Verge. “Their night modes are great — especially at the $349 price point. I also compared the 4A to the iPhone SE, and while the iPhone occasionally takes more pleasing, warmer photos in daylight, it gets absolutely crushed at night as it doesn’t have a comparable night mode.”

Pixel 4a, the long-awaited successor to the Pixel 3a, should have been released in May but the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The next versions of Google’s top-of-the-line Pixel phones – the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 – will be released sometime in the northern hemisphere autumn, Google said, without revealing their price.

Google Pixel 4a, Google
The camera on the Google Pixel 4a are on a par with those taken on the much more expensive Google Pixel 4.

Google has been selling fewer than 10 million Pixel phones a year since launching the product line in 2016, barely making a dent a market where more than 1 billion phones are shipped annually, according to IDC.

The Pixel phones primarily serve as a showcase for Google’s Android operating system, which includes its search engine and other services, such as digital maps, that help sell the ads that generate most of the company’s revenue. Google gives away Android to other smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, which is expected to show off its next Galaxy phones in a virtual event scheduled for Wednesday.

The new Galaxy phone is expected to cost around US$1,000.

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