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Google’s Pixel 6a earns FCC approval weeks ahead of launch

Google may have just launched the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but the company is already gearing up to reveal the Pixel 6a. While the last two Pixels in the A-series didn’t launch until August (albeit likely due to circumstances outside the company’s control), the next Pixel A-series phone may be closer than we thought, with it being spotted in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) listing this week.

Based on the FCC listing, the Pixel 6a is expected to come with 5G support, including mmWave 5G for Verizon. Though the Pixel 6a had always been expected to launch in May, the FCC certification makes a launch in a matter of weeks likely to happen based on past history.

It’d make a lot of sense for the Pixel 6a to break cover at Google I/O in May. While the Pixel 4a and 5a launched later than that, those delays were attributed to the pandemic and supply chain crises, respectively. At the same time, the supply chain crisis is still ongoing. It is possible that Google delays the Pixel 6a till August again, but there is currently no a-series phone being sold in many parts of the world. It is more likely that Google delivers a phone to serve that need rather than lose the momentum it had built up over the last week. The bottleneck related to the 5a had to do with the the supply of Snapdragon 765 chips, which also powered Google’s Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 phones. Google’s 6a is said to be using the exclusive Tensor chip, removing that factor.

As for the specs, the Pixel 6a is expected to have a smaller screen than the 6 and 5a both at 6.2-inches. A dual-camera setup should sit at the back, with the same cameras as the excellent Pixel 5, while the phone takes on the distinct modern design of the Pixel 6 complete with a Tensor chip paired with at least 6GB of RAM.

An iPhone SE Rival

Color options for the third generation iPhone SE which include red, white, midnight blue, and black.

If the reports are true, Google’s Pixel 6a would be an effective counter to Apple’s recently released iPhone SE. The company has rehashed the design of the iPhone 8 for the second time, but it has done so in a world where more is expected from a phone.

While Apple’s unique position means the company can pull off releasing what is essentially an outdated phone, users who may have been swayed over to the iPhone SE may see the more modern-looking Pixel 6a and make the switch instead. With the Pixel 6 helping Google finally break into the premium market in the U.S., Apple would be wise to watch out.

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Michael Allison
A UK-based tech journalist for Digital Trends, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a…
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