As we march past the dates for Google I/O and the original rumoured launch date for the Pixel 4a, we are getting close and closer to the annual October Made by Google event. We were expecting to see two new Pixel devices at the event (at least), namely the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL.
Now thanks to some code found in the Google app beta it seems we might be getting two phones, just not the two we were expecting. For a while we have known there were two Google phones code-named “Bramble” and “Redfin” which we expected to be the two models of Pixel 5.
Well it seems we were half right, if the code pulled from the Google app is correct the “Redfin” is indeed the Pixel 5, however the “Bramble” is actually a Pixel 4a 5G variant. Does this mean that there won’t be a standard and XL variant of the Pixel 5? Possibly.
To say we’re perplexed by both of these moves is an understatement. Why release a Pixel 4a and just months later release a Pixel 4a 5G? This just feels messy. It had already been rumoured that the Pixel 5 line was going to use the mid-tier 5G-ready Snapdragon 765G chip, which is now also likely powering the Pixel 4a 5G. So what will be the difference between a 5 and a 4a 5G if they run the same chipset?
Confused yet? We are. It would make more sense if the 5G Pixel 4a was released as a Pixel 5a, that would sort of make sense. The Pixel 4a has been delayed by world events, clearly Google couldn’t predict or control that, and a strategy where the flagship and ‘a’ variant Pixel phones were released side by side would make some sense.
This is also the first hint that we may not be getting two sizes of the Pixel 5. At this stage we’re confident that there won’t be two sizes of 4a, unless of course the 5G 4a is larger? Google is allowed to change hardware directions — it’s their call — and we will wait to actually see what Google’s strategy is before we claim it’s not clear, but right now it is looking a little fuzzy.