By Sean Hollister, a senior editor and founding member of The Verge who covers gadgets, games, and toys. He spent 15 years editing the likes of CNET, Gizmodo, and Engadget.
I can’t quite say it was inevitable, but — in some of the least surprising yet amusing tech news in the world — a Vietnam gadget enthusiast has managed to obtain a developer unit of the unannounced Pixel 7A smartphone.
Seriously: we called the Pixel 4 the most-leaked phone ever — and that was after multiple Russian-speaking bloggers obtained the Pixel 3 XL. The Nexus 4 was fully reviewed before it was ever announced. The Pixel 4A and Pixel 5 leaked like a sieve, and Google itself tipped the 6A in a coloring book, not unlike how it accidentally revealed the Nexus 5 in a YouTube video. The Pixel 6 got unboxed, and the Pixel 6 Pro even got a teardown before the phone launched. It’s not hard to see why Google tends to tease its gadgets early now.
But I digress. Vietnam’s Zing News (via Droid Life) has some stellar snapshots of the new phone, showing that it’s clearly different from the existing Pixel 7 and 7 Pro and its predecessor, the Pixel 6A. It’s got the distinctive metal camera bar found on the 7-series phones but with a smaller 6.1-inch display and twin 12-megapixel cameras instead of the 50-megapixel main sensor on the 7 and 7 Pro. You can see two antenna cuts on the top instead of one, spaced closer together than on the Pixel 6A, with a glass and metal frame.
There’s still no 3.5mm audio jack, only a single SIM slot, and it’s not clear if the device has eSIM. But it’ll likely still have IP67 water and dust resistance since Google’s got an O-ring on the SIM tray.
Intriguingly, the owner told Zing News that it has an option to refresh the screen at 90Hz, which would be a big improvement for Google’s midrange phone. Modders discovered that the earlier Pixel 6A technically shipped with a 90Hz screen — mine is running at 90Hz right now — but Google has yet to officially support it, and the mod gives my screen an annoying green tint.
Here’s hoping, but don’t be surprised if the 90Hz refresh rate and the neat pattern beneath this phone’s glass back are both exclusive to the developer prototype. Zing News says Google remotely locked the phone after screenshots leaked on the web. Pro tip: don’t post screenshots that show your device’s unique serial number.
Google is likely to announce this phone at its Google I/O developer conference on May 10th.
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