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Google Pixel 5a may be canceled [updated]

Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G
(Image credit: Google)

Update: Google confirmed to 9to5Google that the Google Pixel 5a 5G is still coming to the US and Japan and will be announced around when 'last year's a-series phone was introduced,' leaving it unclear if other regions will get the phone. 

Bad news for Google Pixel fans as the Google Pixel 5a has possibly been canceled due to ongoing chip shortages. The news comes from Jon Prosser on Twitter, a source for these kinds of tech leaks – though he followed up the initial announcement with clarification that the phone would still be coming to the US.

Prosser added that the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G phones will continue to be available throughout 2021, though it’s a shame a new model in Google’s budget lineup is now not likely to launch for a while. New flagship Pixel phones are normally announced and launched near the end of each year, so we might not see a Pixel 5a or a Pixel 6a until 2022.

Prosser didn’t share any information on his sources for this leak, and Android Central affirmed the cancellation with their own sources. But subsequently, Google officially confirmed to 9to5Google that the 'Pixel 5a 5G' would still be coming to the US and Japan, and it would be announced 'when last year's a-series phone was introduced,' which could be during Google IO 2021 in May. 

But tellingly, Google referred to the phone as the 'Pixel 5a 5G,' putting it up to question whether there will be a cheaper 4G LTE Pixel 5a version coming this year. And if there are two models, whether their releases will be staggered given last year's Pixel 4a came out in August 2020 while the Pixel 4a 5G launched in October. 

And the biggest question of all: will any Pixel 5a phone be sold outside the US and Japan?

The chip shortages have also been bad news for all of tech and are partly responsible for low stock of PS5s, Xbox Series Xs and PC GPUs. The shortages have happened mostly due to slowed production and import/export delays brought about by Covid-19 restrictions, with analysts predicting that their effects could be felt into 2022. 

Is the Pixel A series dead? 

For now it only looks like a cancellation for this year, Google has likely just made the decision to focus whatever stock of chipsets it has into its expected flagship Pixel 6 device. However, could this be the end for budget Pixel phones altogether?

While it’s probably a little too early to say for certain, it isn’t out of the question. We don’t know exactly how well the Pixel phones are selling, but LG has already taken 2021 to pull the plug on its phone hardware business. Perhaps Google is following LG’s example and trying to streamline its offerings?

Though it might not be all bad, the Pixel 5 was already a mid-budget phone so if the Pixel 6 follows suit then we might still see something that can suit the needs of users with a lower budget. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next, but 2021 could have already taken its next phone victim.

Hamish Hector

Hamish is a Staff Writer for TechRadar, having previously written for the site and Gfinity Esports as a freelance writer. He has been writing about tech and gaming for multiple years, and now lends his experience to cover news and reviews across everything on TechRadar (from Computing to Audio to Gaming and the rest). In his free time, you’ll likely find Hamish humming show tunes while building Lego or playing D&D with his mates.