As we steadily approach the midway point of the year, rumors have begun to swirl about the next Google Pixel phone, presumed to be the “Pixel 5a.” Here’s what we’ve learned about Google’s next phone from the Android 12 Preview builds.
Android’s Developer Preview and Beta versions have long been a source of information about what’s coming next for Google’s Pixel phones, from upcoming models to features of the next quarterly Pixel Feature Drop. As you’d expect, the Android 12 Developer Preview builds have been no different, providing quite the trove of new details, including some tidbits about the next Pixel phones, such as the Pixel 5a.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the smaller bits of news about the next Pixel phone as discovered through the Android 12 Developer Preview, and we’ll keep this space updated as more details come to light.
Google “Pixel 5a”
Right off the bat, the biggest piece of news to come out of the Android 12 Developer Preview period is that the next mid-year phone from Google will indeed be called the “Pixel 5a.” The information comes from renowned Google Camera modder and Android community member cstark27 (H/T Mishaal Rahman) and verified by our own Dylan Roussel.
Pixel 4a (5G):G025I
The “Pixel 5a” moniker has long been guessed and even mentioned at one point almost a year ago in the Android Open Source Project. This new mention of the name in the Android 12 Developer Preview gives us a renewed confidence in Google’s branding of their next Pixel device.
Update 4/26: Since it was discovered in the Android 12 Developer Preview, Google has since gone on to confirm that their next phone will indeed be called the “Pixel 5a 5G.”
Alongside the confirmation of the “Pixel 5a” name, the same source provides a model number for the device, “GR0M2.” From what we can determine, this is going to be the “international” model number for the Pixel 5a — not the number we’ll see on boxes in the United States — as it appears alongside two other international model numbers.
As a side note to this model number, not directly related to Android 12, it’s been discovered by Mukul Sharma that this GR0M2 model number of the Pixel 5a has recently been through the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), a regulatory agency similar to the FCC in the US. This approval puts the Pixel 5a one step closer to release. For comparison, the Pixel 4a received BIS approval about two months before it arrived in the US and four months before its launch in India.
Update 4/26: Despite the phone being registered for approval in India, Google has confirmed that the Pixel 5a 5G will only launch in the United States and Japan, at least at first.
While the leaked internal document we reported on last year referred to the Pixel 5a with the codename “Barbette,” our Dylan Roussel discovered in the first Android 12 Developer Preview build that the correct codename is “Barbet.” Notably, unlike “barbette,” “barbet” is a type of fish, which better fits the theme of Pixel codenames.
This corrected “barbet” codename for the Pixel 5a has since been confirmed by our APK Insight team’s investigation of version 8.2 of the Google Camera app.
Snapdragon chip — New in DP3
While the big news around this fall’s Pixel 6 is that it’s going to run on the Google-made Whitechapel GS101 chip, it seems that the Pixel 5a will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip — and a familiar one at that! As spotted by our Dylan Roussel, files in Android 12 Developer Preview 3 point to the Pixel 5a 5G running on the Snapdragon 765G, known by the part number “sm7250.”
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article
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