We might have gotten our first signs of the Google Pixel 4a which amount to three mid-range handsets that could include reference to one with a 5G-capable chipset. In other words, it’s the first indication that Google could release a 5G phone before the Google Pixel 5 flagship.
The references surfaced within several Android-related codebases – namely, a new batch of the Android Open Source Project, this month’s Pixel 4 firmware dump, and the latest versions of Google applications – that XDA Developers pored over on a tip. Twitter user @akes29 had dug up some codenames they believed referred to new 2020 mid-range Pixel phones.
Three of those that XDA Developers narrowed in on within the AOSP – Sunfish, Redfin, and Bramble (Google likes fish names) – seem more likely than others to be referring to potential handsets that are each linked to an SoC (system on chip).
While Sunfish is based on sm750 (aka the Snapdragon 730) chipset for upper mid-range phones – and thus a good candidate for the Pixel 4a – the Redfin seems to be developed on the sm7250 (aka the Snapdragon 765), a chipset introduced at the December 2019 Qualcomm conference as the first SoC with an integrated 5G modem. That doesn’t mean such a device would be de facto 5G but it would have the chipset necessary to do so.
Bramble also seems based on the Snapdragon 765 chipset, but there hasn’t been any evidence that it is being produced by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
First Pixel to 5G?
These are just codenames, but as XDA Developers points out, these have referred to both phones and codebase kernels – as well as handsets that never came out – so take this as a possible but not definite first sign of one to potentially three Pixel 4 devices.
We’re expecting a 5G-capable version of the Google Pixel 5 coming later in the year, but it’s entirely possible that the phone maker will follow up on the success of the mid-range Google Pixel 3a this year by making a strong bid for an affordable 5G phone.