Why isn't there a Google Pixel 4a XL?

Google Pixel 4a
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Google Pixel 4a was unveiled earlier this week, and it's the company's latest mid-range handset which borrows elements from its flagship sibling, loses a few top-end features and is slightly repackaged into a more affordable phone.

In 2019, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were the first time Google tried this affordable-handset strategy, and it clearly saw fit to do the same again in 2020. Apart from one thing; we've only got the Google Pixel 4a, with no extra large model for those looking for a bigger screen.

So why isn't there a Google Pixel 4a XL? A Google spokesperson told TechRadar, "without bezels on the display, we're now able to fit more display in a compact form factor.

"We think 5.8 inches is the perfect size for our Pixel 4a customer. The screen size increased 4.5% [vs the Pixel 3a] while the overall device size decreased 5.8%, with a more polished industrial design."

So, what does that mean?

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

So you shouldn't expect a Google Pixel 4a XL to debut later alongside the already confirmed Pixel 4a 5G that is set to land later in the year. Rumors originally suggested there would be a larger variant of the phone, but over time as we got closer to launch, there was more suggestion we'd get just one device.  

Maybe Google did experiment with the idea of a Pixel 4a XL. In the statement above, the company makes sound reasoning as to why it didn't want to include two different sizes of devices for 2020.

What the statement doesn't entirely make clear is that this is the first phone from Google that has an all-display front. 

Even the Pixel 4, which cut back on the black bars at the top and bottom of the Pixel phones, had a larger forehead than the Pixel 4a in order to house the front-facing camera.

For the Pixel 4a, Google has included a punch-hole camera on the top left corner of the display. That has allowed it to stretch the screen further up the device, and gives this a larger display without having to increase the body of the phone.

What's next?

Exact sales figures of the Pixel 3a XL aren't made available by Google, but the company had its best year yet for Pixel shipments during 2019. That's despite rumors of lackluster Pixel 4 sales.

This is likely because the company expanded into new territories and, of course, new price ranges with its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Did poor sales figures lead to Google cancelling the extra large model of its cheaper device? We're unlikely to ever know for sure.

Does the Pixel 4a's lack of an XL sibling mean we may see only one model of the Google Pixel 5? That's currently unclear too, but if the company doesn't believe there's a market for a larger Pixel 4a, it may well be that it decides a similar thing for the XL series in the Pixel 5 too.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.