What you need to know
- The rumored Google Pixel 5a 5G will see a limited release.
- Apparently, the global chip shortage has affected its production.
- We're told that Google will continue to focus on the Pixel 4a 5G in most markets.
Production of the Google Pixel 5a is reportedly being affected by the global chip shortage. The upcoming mid-range smartphone, which was expected to be launched at this year's Google I/O developer conference alongside the rumored Pixel Buds A, will be released later this year to align with when "last year's a-series phone was introduced," according to Google. In the statement, Google also confirmed the phone's full name, the Pixel 5a 5G.
Earlier, Android Central corroborated a leak by Jon Prosser about the phone's possible cancelation, which turned out to be incorrect. According to two sources familiar with the matter, Android Central came to believe that the Google Pixel 5a was canceled in its entirety. After publication, Google confirmed to 9to5Google, and then later to Android Central, that the phone was not canceled, but will be limited to the U.S. and Japanese market, with one or two other markets potentially seeing a release later on. Here is the full Google 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.
Android Central regrets the error, but stands by its original reporting that the Pixel 5a 5G is canceled in the majority of the countries in which it was originally intended to be released. The Pixel 4a 5G, which bears major similarities to the Pixel 5a 5G including the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip that's in such short supply right now, was released in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States, according to Google's device availability page. A reduction to just two countries, even if they make up a significant portion of the Pixel line's sales, is a strategy change that Google did not undertake lightly.
The global chip shortage has been causing problems for smartphone manufacturers beyond Google, too, with reports that it has been affecting Samsung's smartphone production as well. Not to mention how it's affecting the production of the PS5.
The Google Pixel 5a 5G is set to be one of this year's best cheap Android phones. However, sources tell Android Central that Google's engineers will continue to focus on the Google Pixel 4a 5G for software testing, and it will likely be the focus of much of Google's global mid-range smartphone sales, where it will continue to be sold in markets that won't stock the Pixel 5a 5G.
This no doubt throws Google's hardware plans for a loop. Since the company is reportedly working on its own in-house chip for the Google Pixel 6, the company likely wants to put more of its resources there.