The Pixel 5a is already getting a mention in Android's source code

Google Pixel 3a
The 2019 Google Pixel 3a. (Image credit: Future)

While we eagerly await the arrival of the Pixel 4a – rumored to be arriving on Monday, August 3 – the Pixel 5a follow-up is already getting a mention inside the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) that Google's mobile OS is built on.

As spotted by 9to5Google, code added to the AOSP mentions the Pixel 5a, the first hint we've had that Google is indeed going to continue its mid-range phone series in 2021 – though we wouldn't take it as outright confirmation just yet.

That the Pixel 5a is being mentioned before the Pixel 4a has even appeared indicates just how late the latter phone is arriving. It's 15 months since the impressive Pixel 3a made its debut at the Google IO 2019 event.

Of course there have been extenuating circumstances this year that make the delay in the Pixel 4a launch very understandable. As for what impact this is all going to have on the release date for the Pixel 5a, it's still far too early to tell.

Pixel perfect?

The Pixel 5a code mention doesn't tell us anything of note about the phone, except that it's in development and that it'll arrive with Android 11 on board – that suggests a launch about this time next year, before Android 12 is officially out.

The AOSP update also mentions two other phones we've been hearing about recently: the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5. Both these handsets could break cover later in the year, around October time, but nothing is certain at this stage.

We might be wrong, but we're only expecting one Pixel 4a to show up next week. The 5G variant that's been rumored is more likely to arrive in a few months' time, and may be more like the Pixel 5 than the Pixel 4a in terms of specs (if not in the design).

All should be revealed in the remaining months of 2020, but considering how well received the Pixel 3a was and how appealing the Pixel 4a could potentially be, we're pleased to hear that a Pixel 5a is on the roadmap for Google's smartphone launches next year.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.