Today, Google announced the Pixel 4a, the company’s second mid-range Pixel smartphone following last year’s Pixel 3a. Google was originally expected to launch the Pixel 4a back in May, but the company was forced to delay the phone’s launch by over 2 months due to COVID-19 and its supply chain disruptions. As a result, what was supposed to be a mid-year smartphone launch has landed much closer to Google’s fall release schedule. If Google keeps to its typical fall hardware launch schedule, then we should see the company unveil its next Pixel smartphones in just 2 months. Ahead of that launch, Google is now teasing the two smartphones they’re expected to show off this fall: the Google Pixel 4a 5G and the Google Pixel 5.
If those names seem strange to you, then let me briefly recap what we know so far. Before today, Google has always released two Pixel devices at every launch event: a regular model and a larger, XL model. The differences between the regular and XL model have typically come down to screen sizes, screen resolutions, display vendors, and battery capacities, while the SoCs, cameras, and software remain the same. The company broke that trend today by announcing a Pixel 4a but not a Pixel 4a “XL.” However, the Pixel 4a 5G model seems like it’ll be slightly larger than the Pixel 4a that was announced today. In fact, in the image shown below, the smaller phone on the left is the Pixel 5 while the larger phone on the right is the Pixel 4a 5G, according to leaker Ishan Agarwal. But the Pixel 4a 5G may not just be a larger Pixel 4a—recent leaks point to the device being closer to the Pixel 5 in terms of hardware.
Back in January, we discovered 3 code-names for new Pixel smartphones: sunfish, bramble, and redfin. We quickly confirmed that sunfish is the code-name for the Pixel 4a, but it wasn’t until last month that we confirmed the marketing names for bramble and redfin. Three different code findings confirm that bramble is the Google Pixel 4a 5G while redfin is the Google Pixel 5: the Google App, Google Camera 7.5, and an AOSP comment. The January code-name discoveries, as well as more code digging back in May, confirm that the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 will be powered by the Qualcomm’s “sm7250” mobile platform, which means both devices will have either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765, or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G processor. All three of these SoCs support 5G connectivity thanks to the integrated Snapdragon X52 modem, but the new Google Pixel 4a with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 does not support 5G. That’s a big difference between all three devices right off the bat, not to mention that there will be a substantial difference in performance between them.
Apart from the difference in processors, we don’t know much else about the Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5. From the above image, it seems like the Pixel 5 has a brushed metal frame while the Pixel 4a 5G has a colored power button, at least in this presumed “Just Black” color. Google says the Pixel 4a 5G will cost $499 but they haven’t revealed pricing for the Pixel 5. However, a Google survey earlier revealed $699 as a potential price for the Pixel 5. Both devices will be available in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. We expect that only redfin, AKA the Pixel 5, will support reverse wireless charging, but there could be other differentiators to justify this difference in price. Google is working on a bunch of new features in the Google Camera app, some of which could be exclusive to the Pixel 5. Once we get closer to Google’s fall hardware event, we’ll likely learn more about the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. After all, Google devices have an uncanny ability to show up in unexpected places.
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