Google's budget Pixel 4a phone may pack a hole-punch camera

It might feel like an improvement over the Pixel 4 for some people.

The Pixel 3a was as much a step forward for Google phones as it was a scaled-back budget phone, and that might true for its sequel. Well-known tipster OnLeaks and 91Mobiles have posted renders purporting to show the upcoming Pixel 4a, and its centerpiece would be a 5.7- or 5.8-inch display with a hole-punch selfie camera -- yes, the low-cost handset might have a slicker-looking display and thinner bezels than the full-on Pixel 4. That would likely rule out face-based sign-ins (there's a fingerprint reader on the back) and hands-free radar gestures, although some might consider those omissions a positive given how finicky they can be.

The back is where you see the most visible signs of compromise. Although the apparently leaked phone has a square camera hump like the Pixel 4, there's just one sensor on the back. Sorry, folks, you wouldn't get telephoto zoom on this device. There may be "more sensors" in the camera module, though, and there would still be a headphone jack up top to please fans of wired audio.

There are still many unknowns. It's probable that a Pixel 4a would ship with a mid-range Snapdragon and other performance compromises, but it's not certain just how much of a step down this would represent. Will it add sorely-missed water resistance, for example? If history is any indication, though, you might just see the 4a arrive around Google I/O in the spring.