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Google casually reveals Pixel 8a is coming with Android’s new battery health stats

 Google Pixel 7a.
Google Pixel 7a.

The Google Pixel 8a has been in the rumor mill for a while as the tech giant's next cheap Pixel phone. While it's expected to debut in a few months, possibly at I/O 2024, there hasn't yet been any official announcement about the upcoming handset. That is, until this week, when Google casually confirmed the Pixel 8a's existence while discussing a Pixel feature that's disappeared.

The revelation came after several users reported that a March update to Android 14 made a new "Battery Information" page no longer appear on Pixel devices. The page, which can be found under Settings > About Phone > Battery Information and was first added with Android 14 QPR1 last year, shows the device's manufacturing date and how many cycles the battery has gone through.

As spotted by 9to5 Google, a Google software engineer recently responded to these concerns on an Android 14 bug tracker page. The engineer explained that this page was never meant to show up on existing devices, as it's only supposed to be available on future Pixel phones starting with the Pixel 8a.

"We only enable this page on Pixel 8a and beyond, so this is WAI(Working as Intended)," they wrote on March 7.

And so, not only do we have our first official confirmation that the Pixel 8a is coming, but we also know a feature it'll come with. Though it remains unclear exactly why the battery stats page was showing on existing Pixels in the first place. Users noted that the stats themselves were not particularly accurate, and the page was a far cry from the depth of battery health data already available on the best iPhones. It's possible Google intends to improve upon it moving forward, perhaps building it out into a comprehensive battery health information panel. But we'll have to wait and see.

If Google sticks to its normal schedule of showing off its budget device during the Google I/O conference in spring, we likely don't have long to wait. A recent leak suggests the Pixel 8a could get a price hike; according to a retailer that spoke with Winfuture, the 128GB model could jump from 509 euros to 569 euros, while the 256GB version could cost as much as 630 euros.

If you're in the market for a device now, be sure to check out our best cheap phones list to find something that suits your needs. And keep an eye on our Pixel 8a hub for all the latest news and rumors.

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