FCC filing for a number of smartphone models assigned to Google’s forthcoming mid-ranger have recently appeared. When an upcoming phone makes it through FCC certification, it becomes evident that its release date is just around the corner. Even though the database doesn’t divulge much in context to specs, it does suggest that the phone is Pixel 5a 5G and its launch is imminent.
There were claims mid-way that Google may have called off the production of the mid-ranger altogether, sighting chip shortage as a hindrance. But the Mountain View company was quick to dispel rumors stating “Pixel 5a 5G is not canceled;” it will be announced in the US and Japan around the same time when last year’s a-series phone was announced.
The FCC listing aligns with Google’s statement that the Pixel 5a 5G may be announced around the same time when Pixel 4a 5G was introduced in 2020. Pixel 4a 5G was revealed in August last year and this supposed launch window for the Pixel 5a has also been confirmed by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg. With only under a month from the announcement, we have compiled a roundup of everything that the Pixel 5a 5G is likely to be, read on.
Three possible variants
Reports over time have claimed “Barbet” as the code name and model number G4S1M for Google Pixel 5a 5G. This was also revealed in the analysis of the Android 12 beta previously. The FCC document, first spotted by tipster @cstark27, however reveals the model numbers G1F8F, G4S1M, and GR0M2 all linked with the Pixel 5a 5G.
Confidentiality refrains the likes of FCC from divulging specifications of the unannounced phones but the shared snippets reveal the wireless frequency bands of the listed models suggesting that the G1F8F will be a CDMA model expected to release in North America. However, it doesn’t support the mmWave 5G network, even though the Pixel 4a 5G came with mmWave support – in a separate model. The other two variants – G4S1M, and GR0M2 – are likely to launch internationally. These variants according to the snippet have CDMA networks disabled by software.
The look and feel
If you want an overhauled Pixel device, you’d probably have to overlook the Pixel 5a 5G and wait for the Pixel 6 series. The Pixel 5a 5G is perhaps going to follow a very identical design language to the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5, though it could be slightly taller, narrower and thicker. The Pixel 5a 5G could arrive with 2.3mm longer, 0.8mm narrower, and slightly thicker form factor compared to the Pixel 4a 5G with the intention to appeal to the Gen-Z.
Other than the superficial exterior variation, the Pixel 5a 5G will look completely identical to its predecessor. The phone is likely to arrive with the same 6.2-inch Full HD+ display; an OLED panel is on the cards but not much has been revealed about it in the recent rumors, so we have our fingers crossed. If the display remains unchanged, it will deliver 2340 x 1080 pixels resolution at 413ppi.
Pixel 5a 5G is likely to get a 90Hz screen refresh rate. This will be an upgrade from 60Hz on the Pixel 4a 5G and the same as that on the Pixel 5. If Google chooses to stick with 60Hz this time, it will be a huge disappointment and potentially a deal-breaker. Other than this, the Pixel 5a 5G will arrive in a polycarbonate body – just like the Pixel 4a 5G – and not upgrade to the brushed aluminum feel of the Pixel 5. The phone will still support a 3.5mm headphone jack, a staple for Google’s a-series devices, and have a fingerprint sensor built into its back.
Not much is clearly known about the possible innards of the Pixel 5a 5G though rumors at various instances have hinted at the phone arriving with an unchanged processor. Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 are both powered by the Snapdragon 765G SoC, which should remain the case with the Pixel 5a 5G as well. Google is apparently working on its own in-house chipset called Whitechapel, which was rumored, for a bit, to possibly make way into the Pixel 5a 5G, that’s however been overruled and Whitechapel will only arrive with the Pixel 6 series.
Other than the Snapdragon 765G under the hood, the Pixel 5a 5G would come in a single memory variant comprising 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There is no word on the probable battery capacity of the Pixel 5a 5G. Given that most of the aspects remain identical to the Pixel 4a 5G, it wouldn’t be surprising if the battery capacity is matched as well. It will however be better optimized for slightly longer life, but we are sure Pixel 5a 5G will remain aloof of wireless charging.
Google Pixel smartphones don’t boast a lot of lenses yet the phones are designed to deliver high-quality photographs courtesy of machine learning algorithms that enrich the image output. The Pixel 5a 5G is not going to be any different on this account. The phone is likely to feature a recognizable square dual-camera array on the back and on the front, it will have a punch-hole camera in the top left corner of the display.
Cameras on the Pixel 5a 5G will be the same as the Pixel 4a 5G. In that case, Pixel 5a 5G will have a dual-camera setup on the rear featuring a 12.2-MP primary lens with 1.4µm and an f/1.7 aperture and a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture.
On the front in the punch-hole will reside an 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture. Incidentally, Google sometime earlier spilled an unsurprising detail about its camera feature. While discussing a Pixel 4a 5G feature – HDR+ with Bracketing – Google unintentionally included one image apparently clicked from the unannounced Pixel 5a 5G, which automatically indicates that this feature to improve the performance of HDR+ will be seen in the new Pixel device.
Pricing and availability
Having learned about the possible facets of the Pixel 5a 5G above, we now come down to the aspect from where it all started. Yes, the availability. According to the rumors and Google statement, we have a timeline for the Pixel 5a release. This is, as discussed, around the same time when the Pixel 4a 5G was introduced last year. It was announced in August 2020 and that’s when we can expect the Pixel 5a 5G to be launched this year – provided there are no unforeseen delays.
Per Google’s own account, the Pixel 5a 5G will be available later in the year only in the US and Japan. It is not easy to understand the ploy of launching the new device only in two countries; especially considering that Google Pixel phones already have a smaller market compared to Apple or Samsung it intends to compete with.
Like it or not, that’s how it is poised at the moment. Hypothetically, considering that three variants of the Pixel 5a 5G are expected to roll out at launch, of which one is dedicated to the US, we can presume the other two to be for the Japanese and Indian markets (or maybe the European region). The phone will launch for about $400, anything lesser than that would play in Google’s favor.
From how we have learned the Pixel 5a 5G through rumors and possibilities discussed above; it is going to be a rehash device of the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. Thriving on the winning combination of these Pixel phones, the new model will create a market for itself with a competitive price tag. That said, it will still remain as a second fiddle handset people will pick for the updated software than for the hardware features (which are expectedly unchanged from the predecessors).
As Google Pixel 5a 5G is likely to arrive with a display and processor similar to that of the Google Pixel 5, customers waiting to upgrade from the last year’s Pixel phones may want to wait for the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro expected to debut in October this year. These refreshed new Pixel smartphones will be the first to feature Google’s in-house Whitechapel chip and run Android 12 out of the box. These flagship-grade smartphones are likely to feature a 50MP primary lens and the Pixel 6 Pro could arrive with a triple camera array.