Following on the success of mid-range smartphones including the Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 4a, Google was widely expected to launch a Pixel 5a this year. Now several sources are claiming that the company has scrapped those plans in response to the global chip shortage, which has been affecting all parts of the hardware industry in recent months.
However 9to5Google reports that a Google spokesperson says the phone is not cancelled, and will be available later this year in the US and Japan (there’s no mention of other markets). The Verge received the same statement and notes that it’s not the first time Google has confirmed the existence of a previously unannounced phone by responding to rumors.
Google is also still expected to launch a new Pixel 6 flagship phone later this year.
Given that Google had never officially confirmed that it was working on the phone, and that the global chip shortage has caused delays for a wide range of products, the news seemed plausible. But the update from 9to5Google suggests that the rather than cancelling the Pixel 5a, Google may instead delay it.
Don’t expect any official announcements during Google IO in May, but it seems like the phone could launch in late summer. Last year’s Pixel 4a launched in August.
Google has not confirmed any details about the phone’s design or hardware, but a leak from February provided some unconfirmed details: the Pixel 5a is expected to feature a 6.2 inch FHD+ OLED display and while there were no details about the chipset, the leaked images show a phone with a rear fingerprint sensor, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port, stereo speakers, dual rear cameras, and a punch hole selfie camera.
Basically, it looks virtually identical to the Pixel 4a 5G, but presumably has a different processor (perhaps newer, possibly less powerful in order to keep the price low).
Until August, your best chance to pick up an affordable Pixel phone will continue to be the Pixel 4a 5G or the Pixel 4a. And if you’re not in the US or Japan, that might be your only option.
This article originally indicated that the Pixel 5a had been canceled based on apparently erroneous reports. It has been updated to reflect that Google has confirmed the phone will launch later this year, but only in select markets.