Pixel 6a renders look familiar but leaves many questions unanswered

Google has developed a new tradition of launching an "a" model of the Pixel phone, usually aimed to be a more affordable version of its supposedly premium flagships. Last year's lineup blurred the lines a bit between the Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, and Pixel 4a 5G, but Google might be returning to normalcy once more. That is to say, it might be launching a Pixel 6a in the next few months, but this fresh set of renders bring more questions than answers.

Unless Google has decided to cancel the Pixel "a" series entirely, there's little doubt it wouldn't launch a Pixel 6a in the first half of 2022. That is, presuming conditions regarding component supplies don't push its launch date back to August again. There is also little reason to believe that Google would give it a different design than the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro since it's meant to be an affordable version anyway.

That's what 91mobile and OnLeaks are banking on with the first set of renders for what is allegedly the Pixel 6a. By its self, it looks almost identical to the Pixel 6 in all aspects, though the tipsters' information claims that the Pixel 6a will have a smaller 6.2-inch flat OLED screen. The renders even imply that the phone will have a glass back, though it might simply be "glasstic" to keep build costs down.

Unfortunately, the renders don't say much about the phone's hardware, other than it will have only two cameras, just like the Pixel 6. It may even use the same 50MP main camera, which isn't that far off since Google does use the same sensors on both main and "a" models. Going simply by tradition, the phone could have 6 or 8 GB of RAM with 128GB of storage.

The biggest question will, of course, be the processor. There has been no indication that Google has been working on a mid-range version of its Tensor chipset, which will probably leave the Pixel 6a with a Snapdragon 700 series 5G processor instead. That will, of course, be a major disappointment for those hoping to experience the Pixel 6 experience without spending too much. Then again, the Pixel 6 is considerably cheaper than most flagships this year, especially if you're able to get the new Pixel Pass offer.

That said, the Tensor chip might not really be necessary to experience all the features powered by machine learning that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have to offer. If recent reports are to be taken into account, some of these work just fine on older Pixel phones with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Of course, the performance may still be suboptimal, but if Google does make it available for the Pixel 6a, it's not that bad a compromise for the price.