Google Discontinues the Pixel 4 Family Months Early

Posted on August 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 7 Comments

Google is expected to announce the Pixel 5 in October, but the firm has taken the unprecedented step of discontinuing its predecessors, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, months early.

“Google Store has sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 4 and 4 XL,” a Google statement confirms. “For people who are still interested in buying Pixel 4 and 4 XL, the product is available from some partners while supplies last. Just like all Pixel devices, Pixel 4 will continue to get software and security updates for at least three years from when the device first became available on the Google Store in the US.”

Checking the Google Store, I can see that the smaller Pixel 4 is still available, but only in black (or as Google calls it, Just Black), and only in a single 128 GB configuration. All versions of the bigger Pixel 4 XL are out of stock.

The timing may not be entirely coincidental: The Pixel 4 family, like the Pixel 3 family, sold fewer units than its predecessor and is widely considered a disaster. But Google just announced a mid-range Pixel 4a model—which is available only in a single, low-cost configuration—and should see relatively strong sales. That phone’s predecessor, the Pixel 3a, which was also available in XL configurations, has been Google’s best-selling handset to date.

But the early retirement leaves a stain on a product family that has suffered from far more than its usual share of problems: Virtually every Pixel handset has had reliability issues, and aside from the Pixel 3a family, none have sold well.

The Pixel 5 is expected to be a mid-range handset as well, the first time it will sell a flagship phone without flagship specifications. Perhaps the company was simply ready to move into its new value-oriented role early and leave the problems of Pixels past behind it.

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