Did Google try to steal Apple’s thunder with the Pixel 8a launch?


“At its latest I/O conference on May 14, Google unveiled its newest mid-range smartphone…” is what we would say if the tech giant had not broken its pattern and surprised everyone by revealing the Pixel 8a earlier.

Pixel 8a and the new iPads are like apples and oranges – totally different beasts catering to different crowds. It is rare to see an Android loyalist suddenly itching for an iPad, or vice versa. So, why did Google throw its hat in the ring at the same time as Apple’s big reveal? The buzz around the powerful new iPads somewhat overshadowed the Pixel 8a, which, let’s be real, deserves its own spotlight.

So, I could not help but wonder: Did Google just happen to pick the same time as Apple by accident? Nah, doesn’t seem likely. Intentional? Yeah, most likely. Google is not one to miss out on a chance to make waves in the tech world!

It is all about timing

As Google unveiled the last two generations of its Pixel A series during its annual developer I/O conference, we were all geared up to witness the unveiling of the newest addition there, too. I/O is where Google typically announces new products, features, and updates to its various software and hardware products.

But unlike its predecessors (if you want, check out the Pixel 6a review and the Pixel 7a review), the newest addition just casually popped up online without any fanfare or event, a whole week ahead of schedule. Why the sudden change? Well, let’s start with the elephant in the room – Apple’s event.

Pixel 8a debuted earlier than expected, but why?

Well, it is totally possible Google aimed to steal a bit of thunder from Apple’s “Let Loose” event, which also happened on May 7. Sneaky, right? While not always intentional, sometimes companies play a game of timing, hoping to grab some attention or maybe even position their product as an alternative. But let’s face it, the Pixel 8a isn’t exactly competing head-to-head with the iPad Pro. So, Google must have had a different strategy in mind.

Both Google and Apple are in the game for a slice of that consumer electronics pie. Dropping their products around the same time could help keep both names buzzing in people’s heads when they are whipping out their wallets. And hey, if the products attract similar types of buyers, even if they are in different leagues (phones vs tablets), it is a smart move to stay top-of-mind during those crucial buying moments.

Oh, and all this leads to marketing – the word that has been pulling the strings for decades now:


  • News cycle domination: When two giants clash on launch day, it is like chum in the water for the tech media. By dropping their bombs simultaneously, both companies can scoop up more coverage overall, even if it means duking it out in comparison articles.
  • Social media buzz: A perfectly timed launch can set social media on fire with discussions and debates. Even if the initial buzz might lean towards the iPad, the Pixel 8a‘s entrance could still stir up a storm of online chatter and speculation.

Could the Pixel 8a be innocent?

It is also entirely possible that the timing wasn’t part of some grand master plan. Google and Apple probably have their own internal schedules for product launches based on all sorts of factors like production timelines and marketing strategies. Maybe this year, the stars just aligned, and their schedules happened to overlap by chance. But hey, I get it – that explanation might be a tough sell. I am not entirely buying it myself!

Another angle to consider for the early Pixel 8a reveal could be Google’s attempt to give the phone its own moment in the spotlight, away from the hustle and bustle of Google I/O. By stepping out solo, the Pixel 8a gets to shine without getting lost in the shuffle of other expected announcements at the conference, such as:

Well, let’s peel back another layer of the onion, shall we? As surprising as the Pixel 8a‘s early reveal was, the phone itself wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret. I mean, come on! Over the past few months, the Pixel 8a leaked more times than a rusty faucet. It got to the point where there was practically nothing left to unveil.

With leaks of its design, specs, and pricing flooding the internet before the official unveiling, Google might have decided to take matters into its own hands by dropping it early. Launching ahead of schedule could’ve been Google’s way of reclaiming the narrative around its phone and drowning out the noise of all those pre-launch leaks.

After all, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to why Google decided to drop the Pixel 8a on the same day as Apple’s iPad event. But the timing sure seems like a strategic move, doesn’t it? Whether it is to steal a bit of thunder from Apple’s event or to take back the reins on the pre-launch chatter, one thing is sure – the tech world is like a game of chess – every move counts.

What is Pixel 8a all about?

Now, finally, let’s talk a bit about the star of the show – the Pixel 8a. It boasts an aluminum body, a Gorilla Glass 3 screen, and IP67 water and dust resistance. Under the hood, it packs Google’s latest Tensor G3 processor, providing the power needed to fuel all the AI-driven features Pixel is famous for, such as:

  • Best Take: This feature picks out the top expressions from a series of photos, ensuring flawless group shots.
  • Magic Editor: Adjust subjects or tweak backgrounds for maximum visual impact.
  • Audio Magic Eraser: This smart tool clears unwanted sounds from your videos like magic.

The Pixel 8a is priced at $499 and is currently available for pre-order, with sales beginning on May 14.

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