Future Pixel Models Leaked in Internal Documents

Posted on August 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 5 Comments

Google Pixel Preview

An Android blog has obtained what it says are Google internal documents that describe several upcoming Pixel handsets, including some that will arrive in 2021.

It’s fair to say that Google’s hardware efforts are a mess. Sales of the previous two Pixel flagships have undersold their predecessors, the Pixel lineup suffers from routine and endemic reliability issues, and Google has, to put it politely, made some bizarre feature and design decisions.

Given all this, I’ve long wondered whether the firm would simply give up on the smartphone business, but it saw some success with the low-end Pixel 3a. And so, for 2020, it looks like Google is going all-in on value. The Pixel 4a, while months late to market, appears to continue forward with most of what (but not all) was great about its predecessor. And the Pixel 5 is rumored to a mid-market handset, not a true flagship.

But wait, there’s more.

According to 9to5Google, which says it has reviewed internal Google documents, the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 are due in October 2020, which confirms the hints Google provided when it announced the Pixel 4a. But the online giant has plans for many more handsets than just those two.

There is a Pixel 5a coming next year, of course. It’s codenamed Barbette, is due in Q2 2021, and is described as a “lower-end mid-year device.”

And then there are three other Pixels, codenamed Raven, Oriole, and Passport, respectively.

The publication speculates that Raven and Oriole could be Pixel 6 models aimed at late 2021. But Passport is “explicitly referred to as being a ‘foldable,’ and is likewise aimed at late 2021.

Should it bother? Well, that’s a question for another day, and another editorial. In theory, I like the idea of Google producing clean Android handsets, and I think the rumored move to the mid-market is a great idea. But in practice, Google’s both failing and flailing in hardware. And I’m curious how long it will try to keep up this ruse.

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