Google: No, the Pixel 5a is Not Canceled

Posted on April 9, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Android with 5 Comments

Multiple rumors erupted today that Google would be forced to cancel the Pixel 5a because of component shortages. But that’s not the case, Google says.

“Pixel 5a 5G is not canceled,” a Google spokesperson said. “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.”

The comment came after multiple blogs, citing leakers, reported that Google was forced to cancel the Pixel 5a because of component shortages. “Bad news,” leaker Jon Prosser tweeted. “’Barbet’ (Pixel 5A) has been canceled. I’m told it’s due to the chip shortage, and as of this morning, it’s not moving forward. Pixel 4A and 4A 5G will continue to be sold throughout 2021.”

This is interesting on a number of levels.

Rumors of Google canceling the Pixel 5a came in the wake of similar rumors about Apple delaying some iPads and iPhones this year because of component shortages. So one wonders if that wasn’t the real source of the Google “news”: After all, if even Apple is having trouble getting parts in 2021, surely a minor player like Google would face even bigger hurdles. It’s easy to fall for this kind of “it makes sense so it must be true” line of thinking.

What I’m more interested in, however, is that last bit in the Google spokesperson quote: The Pixel 5a “will be available later this year … in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.”

If you think back to the first “a-series” Pixel, the Pixel 3a, that handset was announced at Google I/O 2019 in May 2019 and was released just a week later. Google originally planned to announce and release its follow-up on the same schedule a year later. But when Google I/O 2020 was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pixel 4a went dark. And it wasn’t announced or released until months later, in August 2020. A Pixel 4a 5G—which is sort of a Pixel 4a XL—was announced a month later.

So the Google quote statement today suggests that the Pixel 5a will be announced in August, and not in May, even though Google I/O is back this year. That might actually make some sense: The August timeframe puts the new phone on the same schedule as Android 12, so it could possibly ship with the new OS version instead of the one released late last summer. Still, I had expected a May announcement and release, in part so Google could follow it up with an Android 12-based Pixel 6 this fall.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Google: No, the Pixel 5a is Not Canceled”

  1. johnh3

    So they will back from 9 countries to only 2? I had hope that Google could challenge Samsung and Apple in the mobile market in time, and expand to more countries. But now I feel let down.

    LG is out, Huawei dissapearing more and more. Not many options for a mobile customer nowadays. For a stock Android interface Nokia may be the only choice in the international market.

  2. markld

    I'm due for a new phone in June of this year to replace my Pixel 3a which I have truly liked every time I have used it. I can wait a few months till the 5a comes out.

    The 3a has been worry free, flawless performance even though middling, clear & decent photos for my Landscaping business (especially in those twilight hours upon finishing a project and I don't gave to go back the next day), use lots of MS apps on it, and I go many hours without a charge.

    Any news that reported that Google was forced to cancel the Pixel 5a because of component shortages was a bit unnerving as I want to stay with a Google Pixel. The 4a 5G sounds nice but I want to see what the 5a is all about.

    I'm so glad Paul gave very good news! Thanks Paul so much.

  3. canamrotax

    If the Pixel 6XL does not come to Canada, I'm out. Not interested in mid-level phones, but this news is not good.

  4. Pierre Masse

    Why not name it 6a? Google is killing me.