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The Morning After: You might not have to wait long for Google’s cheaper Pixel 5a

It could appear tomorrow.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

We knew Google was readying another phone ahead of its new own-chip Pixel 6 flagships, but the company’s cheaper A series might reappear earlier than we thought. The Pixel 5a could appear any day now, according to the latest reports from, of all places, repair shops. The latest rumors include a larger battery (4,680mAh battery up from 3,800mAh) and an August 17th release date — which would be tomorrow.

Google Pixel 4a 5G back from review
Cherlynn Low/Engadget

We’re already expecting the Pixel 5a to land with a dual-camera system and a headphone jack, the latter of which is rare in 2021. Older rumors suggested the 5a might cost $450, a hair less than the Pixel 4a 5G but well above the $350 of last year’s Pixel 4a.

I’ve said it before, but Google’s Pixel A series is often a more compelling device than its highest-priced phones, striking a good balance between specs and performance — especially when it comes to camera performance. Similarly priced phones may look the same on paper, but the Pixel’s imaging capabilities, which lean hard on AI and software, typically produce great images in most situations. I’m sure the Pixel 5a is likely to continue this winning formula — even if it lacks that homemade Google chip.

— Mat Smith

NASA sends a 3D printing system for lunar soil to its space station

It could help plan for future Moon and Mars habitats.

Render of NASA astronaut holding Moon regolith

NASA's latest International Space Station resupply mission included a machine meant to demonstrate 3D printing regolith (loose soil or rock) on the Moon and similar extraterrestrial surfaces.

The Redwire Regolith Print (RRP) project will work in tandem with an existing printer system (ManD) to try 3D printing simulated regolith. If that succeeds, the ISS crew will gauge the strength of the resulting material to see if it can handle the harsh conditions beyond Earth and work as a possible building material for future habitats.

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Warner Bros. 'Reminiscence' promo puts you in the trailer

You can watch yourself on screen with Hugh Jackman, kind of.

Warner Bros.

The promo for Warner Bros.’ upcoming Reminiscence movie uses deepfake technology to embed you into a short video sequence with its star, Hugh Jackman. You can upload the photo of anybody you want, and the experience will conjure an animation for the face in it. You might have to wait your turn, however. When I tried it out, I got stuck at the waiting screen for a while. Test it for yourself here.

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Matter smart home networking standard delayed to 2022

The one smart home standard to rule them all.

The Connectivity Standards Alliance has delayed Matter's rollout from late 2021 to the first half of 2022. Smart home standards (and a lot of smart home news) can be a snoozy affair, but Matter could be what we need to get anything with WiFi and/or Bluetooth to speak to each other in our homes. Amazon, Apple, Google and many smart home device makers (such as Nanoleaf and Signify) are already committed to it, so you can see why a smart home standard like this might… matter.

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The Switch sweeps Japan's game sales chart

The first time this has happened in 33 years.

Every game on Famitsu's August 8th weekly Top 30 chart was a Switch title, ranging from Super Mario Maker 2 in 30th place to Minecraft at the top. It's reportedly the first time a platform has swept the chart since November 1988, when Nintendo's own Famicom (the NES for the rest of us) dominated the list.

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