In 2019, there were several high-profile smartphone releases promised to shake-up the industry. First came Samsung's Galaxy Fold, which was delayed after an embarrassing reliability debacle. Then came the iPhone 11 series, followed closely by Huawei Mate 30 lineup. Google was the last major manufacturer to launch its new hardware – the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Despite the hype surrounding the handsets and their features, there were several problems that ultimately led to poor sales. The Pixel 4a is rumoured to address these issues and the latest leaks seem to show it might be on the right track.

Those who bought the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL pointed out several problems with the flagship units. Given that each is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, which is the chipmaker's most powerful SoC in 2019, the battery capacity did not account for several factors.

In addition to the chipset, the display is reportedly capable of 90 Hz, which also drains more power. Shortly after it debuted, forums were flooded with complaints about the dismal usage time.

Those who held off from purchasing the high-end models are now interested to know what the Pixel 4a will do differently. It appears that supply chain sources uploaded photos of the prototype online, which was quickly shared across social media.

Google Pixel 4A live picture's
Small Powerful Camera Better Design than Pixel 4/XL #GooglePixel4A

— lovi007 (@Techlovi1) March 7, 2020

Engadget claims that the shots somehow confirm earlier speculation about some key changes. Gone are the dual forward-facing cameras used for face unlock – which was flagged as a security risk – in favour of a hole-punch cutout.

One of the complaints about the flagship devices were the thick bezels on the top and bottom. If the images are accurate the Pixel 4a will have greatly reduced borders surrounding its screen. Another notable difference is the return of a traditional fingerprint scanner on the rear. It is possible that Google will include a 3.5 mm headphone jack as well.

Google Pixel 4 Smartphones
Google has touted Motion Sense as a key feature of its new Pixel 4 smartphones AFP / Johannes EISELE

In terms of the technical specifications, nothing new was included in the most recent leak, but analysts have several suggestions. The Pixel 4a will likely be armed with a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon processor – either a 600 or 700 series model. Internal storage would be around 64 GB which is still non-expandable. The combination of components should grant it favourable battery life. Finally, the release date should follow the Pixel 3a, which is sometime in May.