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(Pocket-lint) - The Google Pixel 4a - an affordable version of the Pixel 4 handset - had been expected to launch at Google I/O in May. With Google I/O cancelled for the year, we're left wondering when Google might release this new handset.

Thanks to what appears to be retail packaging for the new handset, it might be sooner than we think. If Google is preparing a May launch, this recent discovery slots right into the timeline for an imminent launch. 

The images come from TechDroider on Twitter, showing what could be the Pixel 4a in its packaging. There's nothing to verify the source, so could be faked, but it looks like a reasonable version of what we might expect.

There's no sign of the Pixel 4a XL and recently we've heard rumours suggesting that the larger model wasn't going to be announced, only a smaller handset. That's probably because the larger model price drifts a little too close to much more accomplished affordable flagships, making it look less competitive.

The appeal of the Pixel 4a is that you're getting Google's camera, with all its AI skills, at an affordable price. For the Pixel 3a there wasn't a huge difference in performance to the flagship models that are double the price. With the Pixel 4a we're expecting it to be a single camera experience, missing out on the zoom lens of the Pixel 4 - but this single camera might be one of the best you can get at this price.

There's been a range of leaks surrounding this handset over the past few months and the time is right for Google to launch this new handset. But all accounts, the Pixel 3a did very well because of its pricing - and we're expecting the same again from the Pixel 4a.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 9 April 2020.