Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G confirmed to arrive this year

Google Pixel 5G
(Image credit: Google)

Immediately after formally unveiling the long-awaited Google Pixel 4a, Google has officially confirmed that the 5G-enabled Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G will come out later this year.

Here’s Google’s official statement: "This year, Pixel 4a—which launches this month—and the first 5G-enabled Pixels, Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 coming this fall, will continue to bring the features people love—like an incredible camera and feature drops that make your phone better over time—packaged in sleek new hardware at more affordable prices."

The phones will start at $499 (around £382 / AU$700), which is presumably the price of the mid-range Pixel 4a 5G, leaving the Pixel 5’s cost uncertain for now (and whether there will be a 4G version of the Pixel 5). Both phones will be available in the US, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

That’s all the information we have on either phone, which comes courtesy of Google’s official site announcing both handsets. Judging by the site’s lede image, we’d presume the Pixel 4a 5G is on the left (given the matte-looking finish on the side) and the larger Pixel 5 on the right (with its enlarged camera bump), though it’s hard to compare with partial images. But even this glimpse is promising for the next set of Google smartphones.

What 5G means for the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G

While we expected the Pixel 5 to launch in October 2020, around when Google usually releases its flagship phones, this is the first official confirmation that it’s coming – and, unsurprisingly, it will have 5G. Given all other top-tier phones released this year have been able to connect to the next-gen networks, it would be a shock if Google’s next big phone didn’t follow suit.

The Pixel 4a 5G is a bit of a surprise given how few mid-range phones have been released with 5G connectivity this year. While we don’t know anything else about this model yet – like whether it will be physically larger, given the absence of a Pixel 4a XL – the price jump from $349 / £349 / AU$599 in the base Pixel 4a to $499 (around £382 / AU$700) seems like a lot to just add 5G support.

That’s still cheaper than most other 5G-capable handsets like the $599 (roughly £500 / AU$850) LG Velvet as well as the even cheaper but less available Moto G 5G Plus. We are curious if the higher price bump to the 5G version means other features from the flagship phones that didn't make it to the base Pixel 4a might arrive in the Pixel 4a 5G. 

The latter will need a different chipset anyway, as the 4a’s Snapdragon 730G doesn’t natively support 5G connectivity, leading us to wonder if it will come with more powerful silicon, like the Snapdragon 765 or the more mid-range appropriate Snapdragon 690, which is 5G-capable per XDA Developers.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.