e-SIM era is here

 With  the 3a,  Google offers a pocket-friendly Pixel phone,  retaining its  superior camera but downsizes some specs
Bangalore, May13 2019: 
It was a fundamental fallacy that Google whose Android OS was a mass market offering, chose to  remain elite when it came to launching its own mobile handsets with the Pixel family. It competed with  iPhones and high end Samsungs, but left the rest of us unmoved.  Now  it seems to have heard the message:   Pixel 3a launched  world-wide  this week,  cuts the asking price from around  Rs  60,000,  to  just under Rs 40,000, while retaining  its biggest claim to fame: a great  camera combo -- 12.2 MP at the rear, 8 MP at the front, delivering  as good images as  many multi lens systems.
The phone  squeezes essentially the same  hardware  ( 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, no expansion) into a  smaller 5.6 inch display and a  147 gram body. Sold with  the current Android Pie  9.0, an update to v. 10 is promised later this year.  Google has  brought back  the headphone  jack but  has made the ear buds a paid extra. There is no wireless charging  -- which seems a retrograde  step  and the device is -- be warned -- not water resistant.
I always  liked the feature where you squeeze the sides of the phone to activate the Google Voice Assistant. The phone also throws in a preview of some upcoming Augmented Reality enhancements  when you use Google Maps -- but  we can't  experience this in India  where the necessary 3-D Street View is not allowed.  Somewhat sneakily, Google has downgraded the unlimited free cloud storage for your photos and video:  With 3a, this will be in a lower resolution.
e-SIM option
The big advance is that this is the first phone after the iPhone to enable rewritable  e-SIMs which can be switched between numbers.  In India  Airtel and Reliance Jio,   offer the virtual  SIM feature. Pixel 3a  is available for Rs 39,999 from  May 15. 
Also on offer is a 3a XL for Rs 44,999  with  ear buds thrown in, slightly larger battery, a 6 inch screen and fast charging. ANAND PARTHASARATHY