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Small Pixel phone may be in the works — could a Google Pixel 7a fill the hole of iPhone 14 mini?

Google Pixel 6a review
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are on their way, set to arrive on October 6, but there's now another mysterious Pixel phone in the mix, and it's expected to be a "small-screen flagship machine," according to a new rumor.

A post on Weibo from Digital Chat Station (via 9to5Google) describes a small flagship Pixel phone codenamed "neila," which claims to have "a centered single-hole straight screen [and] family-style rear design." Google is no stranger to small form factors, with its Pixel 4 lineup and previous models being some of the smallest phones on the market.

When the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5a came about, Google started to adopt bigger form factors, and now we have the 6.4-inch Pixel 6 and 6.7-inch Pixel 6 Pro, and the Pixel 7 lineup is looking no different. Even the Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch display, but the post alludes to a flagship under 6 inches. The post talks about small-screen smartphones being popular on an international scale, with domestic sales for "super-large-screen product lines" being lower than expected. However, no statistics were given. 

(Image credit: Digital Chat Station / Weibo)

The post doesn't state when the small-screen Pixel phone will arrive, leaving us to speculate where another Pixel phone could fit in. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are locked, and there doesn't seem to be any surprises in the pipeline (except for the long-rumored Pixel Fold and code spotted for a mysterious, high-end third model).

9to5Google points out that the codename "neila" doesn't fit Google's usual codenames, which are usually animal related, like "Cheetah" and "Panther" for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. With this in mind, it's a good idea to take this in with a pinch of salt. Plus, the market for large-screen phones is expected to be looking up, with Apple dropping the iPhone mini in favor of the new iPhone 14 Plus. Although, iPhone 14 Plus pre-orders have reportedly fallen below iPhone 13 mini’s poor sales.

Will the Pixel 7a be small? 

If a small Pixel flagship phone were to come out, a likely suspect would be the Pixel 7a. This year's smaller variant of Google's flagship came out in July, over half a year after the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. We know a Pixel Tablet is coming in 2023, but after this, it's uncertain what the tech giant will come out with.

It's likely Google will bring out a Pixel 7a, but this time it may come in two variants: one that sports a similar size to the Pixel 6a and another that's even smaller, like the one described in the rumor.

Of course, this is just speculation, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. Regardless, we have the Pixel 7 to look forward to, and we already know quite a bit about it, from the Pixel 7 color options to the Tensor G2 processor it will boast. 

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.