A Google employee was caught using the Pixel 4a, suggesting a release date is near

The Google PIxel 3a
The Google PIxel 3a (Image credit: Future)

When a phone is nearly ready to be revealed, select testers will be given it to use for a while, to check it works as intended. It seems the Google Pixel 4a is in this stage now, given that an employee of the company accidentally just revealed he had the phone.

As noticed by Phandroid, Google SVP Rick Osterloh recently tweeted a screenshot from his phone of the Fitbit app, showing he had been awarded the 'Earth' achievement for walking 7,900 lifetime miles (named after the diameter of the earth, not the circumference). However one small detail on the phone screen shows that Osterloh is likely using the Google Pixel 4a.

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In the top left of the screenshot, you can see all the notification icons are shifted to the right, with a mysterious gap to the side. This hole, then, is likely where the front-facing camera will sit, as myriad leaks have suggested the Pixel 4a will have a 'punch-hole' front-facing snapper like the OnePlus 8 or Xiaomi Mi 10.

It seems, then, that Osterloh has been using the Google Pixel 4a, given that no other Pixel handsets have a punch-hole camera, and that he's unlikely to be using a phone from another brand.

We'd also suggest that the fact he thought to post a screenshot from it could indicate he's been using it a while, and has lost the novelty of using an unreleased phone. It seems likely then that a Google Pixel 4a release date is just around the corner.

A leak suggested the Google Pixel 4a will be available to buy on May 22, suggesting a digital launch event will take place a week earlier on May 15 (based on Google's usual release cycle), although because of the ongoing coronavirus situation all of this could change.

As that date draws closer, it's likely Google will confirm it if it's true, so stay tuned to TechRadar to see if that happens.

One other thing we should point out is that, if Osterloh is using a Fitbit device, it seems he's not testing the greatly anticipated Google Pixel Watch. Sorry, everyone who's been waiting for that!

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.