The Pixel 6a could be the worst kept secret in tech history — which is quite something given the original Pixel 6 was shown off by both Google and clumsy retailers well ahead of release. But the paired back Pixel 6a has already been referenced in an official Google colouring book (yes, a colouring book) and now pictures of the box have leaked, too, via Techxine

It’s a phone, alright.

Given Google’s love of minimalism in its packaging, there’s nothing really new here as such. We already knew it was called the Pixel 6a thanks to the aforementioned colouring book, and we’d heard it would look a bit like the Pixel 6 with that bandana-style camera wraparound maintained as the handset’s new calling card. 

The specs — which we’ve heard will likely include the same Tensor chip that powered the original handset, likely with a weaker camera and a more plasticky build — can’t be confirmed as the photographer didn’t do the decent thing and turn the box around for a more useful snap. The fact that the phone will come in a black colour is hardly front-page news, either.

So why is this a story at all? Well, if Google has already completed the packaging — a bit of an ‘if’ given the easy-to-copy minimalism of the company’s packaging makes a forgery pretty straightforward — then it suggests that a release isn’t that far away. Given Google I/O typically takes place in May, a release at the big annual development jamboree seems likely, and indeed that’s what Techxine reckons. 

Originally, we thought we might see Google’s first wearable, the long predicted Pixel Watch, appear at the same time too, but leaker Jon Prosser reckons it’s been downgraded to a teaser at I/O with a full release pushed back to October. 

You’ll note that tweet also pegs the Pixel 6a for July, in opposition to Techxine with its packaging preview. It wouldn’t be the first time Google has pushed back an ‘a’ release, so place your bets now, folks…