The Pixel 4a launched in 2020 to great acclaim (… from me), but it had one rather annoying limitation: color options. Google’s barn-burner of a budget phone excelled in almost every way, though at launch you’d have to settle for a fingerprint-prone and rather drab black as your only choice of shade. The limited edition Barely Blue launched later on, but I’d heard from around the Pixel rumor campfire that other hues had been planned and shelved due to pandemic supply chain problems, but I never laid eyes on any such examples myself. It seems Google (or, more likely, the studio Google hired to shoot this spot) kind of forgot about that if this since-pulled Instagram story is any indication.
Spotted by Android Authority, you can see a lone white Pixel on the third pane of the story. While the Pixel 4a 5G is available in white, this little Pixel lacks the former’s signature pastel green power key, instead rocking a more distinctive orange version found on the Barely Blue 4a. While I wouldn’t hold my breath on a white Pixel 4a breaking cover any time soon (after all, the 5a is on the way), it does seem pretty plausible that such a variant was in the cards at some point.
Images via 9to5Google
In all likelihood, this phone is simply a hardware mockup produced for an advertisement that was planned a long, long time ago, and the props for that advertisement were not revised to reflect the reality of the 4a’s launch. Or, Google really wants to make you upset that a white Pixel 4a was possible, and is now just teasing you with what could have been (I’m kidding, mostly).
2020 was a difficult year for Google, with the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G both heavily delayed by doubtless many issues arising from the global pandemic (like almost every Googler suddenly working from home). While brands like Samsung and Apple managed to largely keep their release timelines in place, the Pixel team struggled to ship products: the company was forced to cancel the Pixel 5 entirely in India, a major setback for the brand in one of the world’s hottest smartphone markets.