Google’s Pixel “a” line is really all about compromises, practically asking how far users can go without high-end features just to get an affordable “pure” Android phone. Some might be fine without fancy radars but there are a few features that have become more or less a Pixel staple. One of those is the squeezable sides of the phone that has been around since 2017. It turns out, the Pixel 4a might be the first to launch without it even if the Pixel 3a still had it.
Active Edge is, curiously, not even a Google original. It was the HTC U11 that debuted the feature, also in 2017, and called it “Edge Sense”. Google, who also happened to have tapped HTC to make the Pixel phones, would later adopt it and even be the one to carry it forward while HTC lies dormant. It has since then become a sort of signature Pixel feature considering it remains the only phone that uses it.
Not anymore as confirmed by YouTuber Julio Lusson, the very same source of many Pixel 4a leaks. Whether Active Edge will remain absent forever isn’t yet clear but, suffice it to say, Pixel 4a owners shouldn’t expect Google Assistant to respond to their squeezes.
Lusson also describes the size and feel of the Pixel 4a which may turn out to be smaller than the Pixel 3a. Its back is still plastic, which could be a point of hesitation for some people who have come to expect glass rears even on mid-range phones. Other than that, though, the Pixel 4a looks solid, at least for what it’s worth.
These details do raise the question of what Google will be adding in lieu of the features it will be taking out. If the Pixel 4a will have the same price as the Pixel 3a but with some features removed, one would expect that Google will be adding something new to make up for those and not just because of a specs bump.