Last year, Google revealed the upcoming Pixel 4 when leaks made it clear the phone was going to be breaking cover whether Google wanted it to or not. This year, it seems to be doing the same with the upcoming Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, and on the day the Pixel 4a is launching, no less. This teaser image was published in a Google blog post and on the Google Store, and that's not all Google is telling us: they're talking money.
The Pixel 5 (left) and 4a 5G (right)
Google reveals that the Pixel 4a 5G will start at $499, which sounds impressive for a 5G phone, but I'm guessing that's without any fancy (and fairly useless) mmWave tech crammed inside. The name tells us what to expect: a bigger, 5G-enabled version of the Pixel 4a. Leaks to date suggest the phone will gain a much quicker Snapdragon 765G chipset, 5G connectivity, and very likely a secondary telephoto camera. Add in the larger display and accompanying battery, and that $150 premium actually sounds pretty reasonable—Google fully has my attention with this phone.
The Pixel 5, on the other hand, is a phone we know comparatively little about. It'll have the same Snapdragon 765G chip and 5G connectivity, as we understand it, but many questions remain. Consensus around the Google rumor campfire is that this phone will not feature Google's face recognition technology, and switch back to a more cost-conscious fingerprint reader instead. Also purported to be axed is the Soli radar module, which was never really all that useful anyway. With Pixel 5, I think the conversation will all come down to cost. If Google can deliver an even better camera experience than it has to date all while significantly cutting the price of the phone (here's hoping it'll be $600 or less), that's going to turn heads.
Google's tease also confirms what we generally have assumed to date: there appears to be no Pixel 5 XL. Given the switch to a more modest chipset and a focus on value, this does make sense, as a $700 or more Snapdragon 765 phone would probably be a tough sell. Google doesn't tell us when either phone is launching, either, simply saying they'll be announced in the "coming months."
It remains to be seen which carriers will partner with Google on either phone, as only Verizon will be selling the Pixel 4a, aside from Google's own Fi network and the regional provider US Cellular. Getting on those shelves is critically important to successfully selling smartphones in the US, so it would be a pity if Google lost the progress here just as it was making inroads. You can be sure we'll be following information about the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 closely in the coming months, and just what it all means for the future of the Pixel brand. In the meantime, be sure to check out our Pixel 4a review for a taste of what Google's got on offer right now.