I/O 2019 starts tomorrow and we're just about ready to bet the house on Google launching a couple of new phones. Pictures of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL have leaked online in the past couple of weeks, leaving us with fewer surprises to discover. Well, the suspense has been cut down even further with the publication of specification and feature sheets.
Roland Quandt of WinFuture posted the sheets on his Twitter account. The sheets, which were translated to English from another language, are for the Pixel 3a — no 3a XL to be seen here.
Google Pixel 3a feature promo text (translated) pic.twitter.com/CODGKkoBEW
— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) May 6, 2019
The big items here are the 5.6-inch 1080p OLED display at a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, a fingerprint sensor, dual front-facing speakers, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chipset paired with Google's Titan M secure enclave, 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery — the 3a is complaint with USB Power Delivery 2.0 at 18 watts. As for cameras, we're looking at pretty much the same package as the Pixel 3: the rear unit is 12.2MP with an aperture of f/1.8 and is also 4K-capable, while the selfie shooter is 8MP at f/2.
Unlike the flagship Pixel 3, Google sees fit to outfit the 3a with an analogue headphone jack, though it has not gone as far as to bring microSD expansion.
Android 9.0 Pie will be on board. Google will guarantee software updates for at least 3 years after release, though it will only guarantee the phone itself for 2 years.
All in all, it's a fairly mundane bill of goods. The features pamphlet doesn't add much sparkle, either: Some of the highlights include Google Assistant, Night Sight, Portrait Mode, and unlimited original-quality storage on Google Photos. The odd mention of "Google Wizard" likely owes to a translation error — last week, Kellen of Droid Life dropped Pixel 3a marketing materials with write-ups of pretty much all of the same features mentioned in the sheet.
The cherries on top of Quandt's spill are new front-to-back renders of the Pixel 3a in the "Just Black" color.
Matt in our comments has pointed out one stipulation from the translated features document: unlimited high-quality backups on the user's Google Photos account.
Here's the catch with that phrase, "high quality" — every existing Pixel phone has been able to back up all of their photos and videos taken in the first 3 years without any compression at no cost to the user's Google One cloud storage. Users of other phones have to choose either to store compressed versions of their media for free or take the storage hit with original-quality backups.
A footnote further down the document suggests that the 3a will only have free high-quality backups, not "original-quality" backups.
We should reiterate that Quandt's text here comes from a source through translation, but it should make sense for the word "original" to sit through as-is. As of yet, though, we don't have any corroborating evidence, so we'll have a lot more to learn tomorrow.