Google’s popular Pixel 3a has been sold out on the Google Store lately, and now we know why. The company has confirmed that it has discontinued the Pixel 3a, so don’t expect any restocks. Some other retailers still have units, but this is the end of the line for Google’s affordable Pixel smartphone.
As for the Pixel 4a? It’s nowhere to be seen.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL launched at Google I/O 2019 at a time when Google’s Pixel line really needed a boost. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL were not selling very well, but the Pixel 3a carried over a surprising number of features from the more expensive phones. For example, camera processing was basically identical, giving the 3a better imaging performance than almost every other smartphone on the market. By all accounts, the 3a led to a dramatic increase in Pixel sales after several years of declines. So, why would Google discontinue it?
According to Google, it has “sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 3a.” The phone isn’t completely gone, though. You can get one from Amazon sellers if you don’t mind waiting a bit, and refurbished models will probably continue appearing for the next several months. You might think Google could just make more units because the phone was so popular, but you have to remember this is 2020, a year where basically everything has gone wrong.
We’re all but certain that the Pixel 4a was supposed to be in May 2020, which would have allowed Google to phase out the 3a. Google has delayed the phone several times due to the coronavirus pandemic and Apple’s iPhone SE 2 release. Now, there are rumors the 4a might not even launch until the fall. Why not just make more 3a units? Google doesn’t have the manufacturing clout of Apple or Samsung, so it probably contracted for a set number of Pixel 3a units when it launched the phone. When it’s gone, it’s gone — it would probably cost more to restart manufacturing for the 3a than Google expects to lose by not selling a budget phone between now and whenever the 4a launches.
This certainly complicates things for smartphone buyers in the short-term. The Pixel 3a was still one of the best options more than a year after release. It has the latest version of Android with two more years of updates, one of the best cameras available, and it was often available for less than $300. If you’re looking for that kind of deal, you might have to wait for the Pixel 4a.
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