Google Discontinues the Pixel 4 Family Months Early

Posted on August 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android 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.

Tagged with , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (7)

7 responses to “Google Discontinues the Pixel 4 Family Months Early”

  1. mikefrommarkham

    I bought Pixel 3as for my wife on sale last Fall, and we've both been extremely pleased with our phones. No reliability or performance issues to date, and at this point, I can't see any reason not to keep these for their full supported lifetime.

  2. yoshi

    I know it would be easy to trash Google for this move, but I feel it really is the right thing to do. The 4 and 4 XL are terrible phones once you look past the camera, especially for their price points. I am excited to see Google embrace the midrange tier, as they really nailed it with the 3a and from what I'm reading, the 4a as well. My only complaint is no XL variant with the 4a line.

  3. wolters

    At work, I deploy iPhones or Pixels, depending on the user. We get deep discounts through Verizon so I only but the phones through them. I've been unable to get ANY model of Pixel from them since January. I've had to move our users into Samsung Notes or the Samsung XCOVER Pro. So, this doesn't surprise me.

    I really do hope the Pixel 5 will be a larger screen and not the smaller one that speculation reports have mentioned.

  4. slerched

    Sad that Google's Fi customers will be screwed into not having a viable real flagship phone available on the service. I've that uses the full potential of the service I mean (network switching).

    Unless they offer the Pixel 5 using the latest Snapdragon that is...which does not sound to be the case.

  5. ghostrider

    The Pixel 4 was overshadowed by the 3a when it came out. It wasn't a bad phone, but who want's to pay premium for a 4 when you can have 90% of the features for half the price. Google need to align the 4a and 5 better so there are clear benefits to owning a Pixel 5, but Google need to keep the price sensible. If the 4a is going to be £349, then the 5 should be no more than £699 and have features that justify the extra money. Google should NOT price the phone any higher - even £599 would be better suited - they cannot compete at the premium end.

    I do understand why they've discontinued the 4 though - it makes sense. It allows them the clear stock and manufacturing capacity (which is still constrained by the virus) ready for the 5.

  6. ben55124

    Sold out of a phone that didn't sell well. I guess they're good at inventory management.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I'm kind of wondering now if Google held off on announcing the 4a *until* the Pixel 4 inventory was gone, and that was the reason for the delay. Further guessing that had they released the 4a earlier, they'd have been stuck with Pixel 4 inventory since those phones have already sold so poorly.
  7. crunchyfrog

    I’m torn on the Pixel. I really want it to succeed but I’m not certain that Google does. They treat it like a caged animal, only feeding it enough to stay alive to show off to others. I guess you could say that Google is like the “Tiger King” of the smartphone market.