Google's Pixel 3a's specs, price, features have near perfect timing given 4G to 5G transition

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Google’s move to launch the Pixel 3a for $399 is a package that offers solid specifications and camera for an affordable price, timely Android updates and Google Assistant and other staples. But biggest Pixel 3a attribute is near perfect timing.

Timing? The Pixel 3a has some good timing. If you haven’t noticed the smartphone market is getting pricey for premium devices. 5G is supposed to change the world, but enterprises and consumers may be a bit wary. Count me in the wary camp even though I’d argue 5G will be a corporate event first along with Wi-Fi 6. While I don’t need 5G today or even in 2019, buying a 4G phone and holding it for two years just doesn’t make sense. 

Here’s my tech buying equation as the Pixel 3a goes official:

  1. I don’t the value of 5G yet since I’m not a heavy video consumer on my smartphone.
  2. Early 5G devices are premium priced.
  3. Standards based 5G isn’t here yet. 
  4. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that’s pushing two years old in a few months.
  5. I could stretch that Galaxy Note 8 a bit longer or replace it with a Galaxy Note 10 that supports 5G and won’t come cheap.
  6. Or I buy a value Android device from Nokia, OnePlus or Motorola and kick the 5G can down the road a bit.

Now I can add Pixel 3a to that list. Google claims that it is now a full contract manufacturer, builds its own devices and now has optimized its hardware engineering and software, which is enabled by artificial intelligence features.

The main feature is that it’s $399 and provides a bridge to 5G without a lot of upfront costs. The Pixel 3A is the smaller version and the Pixel 3A XL is the larger one that starts at $479.

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