Google has officially announced a new Pixel phone, the Pixel 5A 5G. It’s done so in the same way it has announced a lot of recent Pixel phones: by reacting to a rumor. This time is a little less fun than usual, though, because the rumor in question is that the phone had been canceled entirely. In response, a Google spokesperson sent along the following statement:
Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled. It will be available later this year in the U.S. and Japan and announced in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.
Earlier today, Android Central cited two independent sources claiming the Pixel 5A had been canceled, following a tweet from Jon Prosser claiming it was due to chip shortages. It does appear that the chip shortages are real, however, as Google is only planning to release the Pixel 5A 5G in the US and Japan.
The rumors about the Pixel 5A 5G point to it being somewhat similar to the Pixel 4A 5G — another lower-end phone designed to broaden Google’s market reach by keeping the cost down. Code pointing to the existence of the Pixel 5A has been seen in the Android Open Source Project as early as July 2020. The Pixel 5A 5G is expected to be similar (but not identical) in size to the Pixel 4A 5G, with a 6.2-inch FHD+ display, dual rear cameras, and a headphone jack.
Google’s statement says it will be announced “in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced,” which was in August 2020. However, many have speculated that it would be announced at this year’s online-only Google I/O developer conference alongside a lower-cost version of the Pixel Buds.
Google is also rumored to be creating a higher-end flagship Pixel phone later this year. Assumed to be the Pixel 6, the big deal with that rumored phone is that it will begin to use more Google-designed chips, including the so-called “Whitechapel” system on a chip.
Google has a history of just admitting it has phones to announce in response to rumors. Back in 2019, it famously tweeted out an image of the Pixel 4 after it started to leak in earnest. It was an innovative way to take control of the usual phone rumor hype cycle at the time. This time, Google’s response is a little less cheeky. Having to straight-up deny cancellation rumors feels a lot less like hype and a lot more like damage control.