MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Google announced a new line of mid-tier-priced phones with essentially the same camera systems found in its flagship models: The new Pixel 3a costs $399, while the larger Pixel 3a XL clocks in at $479. The phones come in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and Purple-ish. Also, it has a headphone jack. You can buy them now (but it would be smarter to wait a week or two).
The big idea with the Pixel 3a models is to bring high-end camera performance and the Pixel ~experience~ (i.e.: great hardware and design, and Android without any bells or whistles, for people who might find iPhones too basic and Samsung phones too garish/explode-y) to people who weren’t going to spend upward of $800 on a smartphone. So Google lowered the price by about half, reducing costs by using cheaper hardware and materials — like a pokier processor and plastic housing — in other parts of the phone while sticking with the same camera hardware.
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