It appears that Google’s Senior VP of Hardware, Rick Osterloh, is currently using the unreleased Pixel 4a. Yesterday on Twitter, Osterloh shared a screenshot and if you look closely, there are a couple of hints that this image was captured on Google’s upcoming mid-range phone, the Pixel 4a.
The screenshot that Osterloh shared was of his Earth badge on Fitbit – meaning he has tracked a respectable 7,900 miles in the app. But instead of praising Osterloh for this accomplishment, commenters quickly spotted the altered notification layout and the 4a frenzy began. Osterloh also used Twitter to announce the Fitbit acquisition last November, saying he was excited to work with the talented team. Based on this most recent tweet, he has been wearing a Fitbit for a significant time now.
The most revealing aspect of the screenshot is the clock and notification area in the top right of the image. You can see that the text and status icons are all shifted to the right to compensate for a hole-punch display. Yes, there are other Android phones with hole-punch displays but the font and icon design are almost certainly from a Pixel device. I am not sure exactly why there’s so much space above the notifications but I hope the orientation of the hole-punch in the rounded corners of the display doesn’t force the notifications to be shifted down in this manner.
Additionally, the folks at 9to5Google also pointed out that the aspect ratio of the screenshot matches the 2340×1080 display that is rumored to be on the Pixel 4a. The actual resolution of the screenshot is a slightly smaller resolution of 2048×945 but this is still the same 13:6 aspect ratio as the Pixel 4a screen. Most likely the image was scaled down by Twitter when uploaded to reduce the file size.
With these two pieces of evidence, I can confidently say that Rick Osterloh was using a Pixel 4a when he captured this screenshot. Why does this matter? Well, it means that Osterloh has likely been given a final production model of the Pixel 4a to test before launch. I can’t imagine the Pixel team would give Osterloh something to use as his daily driver if they weren’t basically done with all the production and software tweaks.
After the retail packing leaked, I was really hoping Google’s new mid-range phone would launch alongside the Pixel Buds, but those were released last week and there is still not an inkling of the Pixel 4a launch. With the cancellation of Google I/O – where the Pixel 3a was launched – it appears that Google is spacing out their new product releases as they are no longer bound by an event. Still, we’re all still hoping this phone is released sometime in May.