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While my Pixel 7a is still going strong, that hasn’t stopped me from eyeballing all the exciting new upgrades tipped for the upcoming Pixel 8a. Google’s next mid-tier phone could arrive sooner than expected, with pre-orders rumored to begin on May 7 and sales to start a week later when Google I/O Conference kicks off on May 14.

That’s according to noted leaker Billbil-kun at Dealabs, who claims Google plans to open pre-orders one week before formally announcing the Pixel 8a at Google I/O, Phone Arena reports. Granted, this should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt given that Billbil-kun is known for gaming-related leaks, not Android, and it would mark a stark departure from Google’s previous Pixel releases. It’s hard to wrap your head around why Google would open pre-orders for a phone before formally announcing it, and the leak doesn’t specify if the company plans to soft launch the Pixel 8a at another event besides its annual developer’s conference. 

Earlier this week, Onleaks reported that Google plans to keep the Pixel 8a’s starting price at $499. That news may come as a surprise — and relief — to potential buyers given recent rumors suggesting Google could bump up the price of its mid-tier smartphone. Of course, that’s just the “starting price;” according to OnLeaks, that $499 price tag will apply to the Pixel 8a with 128GB of storage, while a version with 256GB of storage should retail for $599.

Pixel 8a could get a price hike in Europe

If Onleaks’ intel proves correct, it would keep the same starting price in place as last year’s Pixel 7a. But that may not be the case in Europe, Dealabs reports. They claim the Pixel 8a with 128GB will start at 549 euros, 40 euros pricier than the Pixel 7a. The 256GB model is rumored to cost 609 euros. Interestingly, the 256GB model may only be available in the color Obsidian (i.e. black), according to Dealabs. The Pixel 8a line is expected to launch in the same four colors as the Pixel 8: Bay, Mint, Obsidian and Porcelain.

As for specs, the Pixel 8a is tipped to feature a new Tensor chipset, adopting the Tensor G3 that Google introduced with the Pixel 8. That means the same AI-powered features found on Google’s flagship phones could make their way to the less expensive Pixel 8a. Several leaked product pages for the Pixel 8a promoted AI tools for photo editing, Circle to Search and the Gemini AI assistant.

We’ll likely have to wait until the upcoming Google I/O conference on May 14 to learn more about Google’s plans for the Pixel 8a. But with just a little over a week to go, the rumors keep pouring in. 

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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.

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