• The Pixel 5 release date is up in the air and it’s all thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to some reports.
  • The health crisis might explain the lack of Pixel 5 rumors of late. In previous years, we’ve learned everything there was to know about the new Pixel flagships months before Google’s hardware events.
  • A questionable Pixel 5 design leak is circulating online, featuring a design that would be just too disappointing for a 2020 Pixel.

The Pixel 5 should be one of the most exciting new handsets of the year, at least in theory. In practice, the Pixel 5 is shaping up to be the most disappointing “flagship” Pixel so far, as Google is widely expected to go for a mid-range chip instead of the high-end processor that powers all the top Androids this year. We’ve heard the Snapdragon 765 rumor quite a few times so far, and Pixel rumors usually come true. But 2020 is not a regular year, and Pixel 5 rumors have been missing in action for quite a while. The novel coronavirus pandemic impacted the way people work, and that includes Google. This could explain why we the Pixel 5 could see delays and miss the expected October launch window. And it could explain the lack of new Pixel leaks. A new set of images showing the purported Pixel 5 design has been pushed online, but many are disputing the veracity of the renders. Not to mention that the design below would be just too disappointing for a 2020 smartphone.

Published on Pigtou, the renders show the purported design that would have made sense last year or in 2019. The alleged Pixel 5 phone in these renders features a hole-punch all-screen display with the camera placed on the left side of the handset and a uniform bezel. There’s nothing wrong with the screen so far. In fact, Pixel 5 is rumored to ditch the sophisticated Soli radar that sits at the top, which would allow Google designers to improve the screen-to-body ratio. The Pixel 4 screen design (image above) is absolutely hideous compared to some of the other Androids launched last year. But would Google be so quick to also dump the face recognition system it has built for the Pixel?

Pixel 5 Render
Questionable render shows purported Pixel 5 design. Image source: Pigtou

The design above suggests that Google would switch back to a rear-facing fingerprint sensor for Pixel 5, which would be a huge step backward. Flagships or mid-rangers, Android phones with all-screen displays come with an in-screen fingerprint sensor. The Galaxy A71 models are such an example. A rumored A71s 5G UW version would actually be based on the same Snapdragon 765 as the Pixel 5, LG Velvet, and OnePlus Nord.

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G design. Image source: Samsung

At best, this leaked Pixel 5 design would work as a Pixel 4a or 5a type of thing.

The dual-screen lens camera also makes no sense for the Pixel 5. It’s 2020, and smartphone makers place three cameras on their phones. It’s not that three cameras are needed at this point, but they’re certainly an iconic marker of “newness.” You might not be able to tell Galaxy series phones apart. But count the cameras, and you’ll know they’re supposed to be brand new. Not even Google can afford to resist the camera upgrade, considering what everyone else is doing. The pressure would be just too big in a year when the iPhone 12 Pros are rumored to get a LiDAR camera on top of the triple-lens camera, when Samsung has periscope cameras, and when the OnePlus Nord is rumored to feature a “flagship camera” experience.

Pixel 5
Purported Pixel 5 design. Image source: YouTube

And let’s not forget that a leaker earlier this year (above) provided this wild Pixel 5 design that featured a triple-lens camera on the back.

Several people have questioned the renders. 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall and Android Police’s David Ruddock addressed the leak and the absence of Pixel 5 rumors.

Separately, Steve Hemmerstoffer said he received the CAD designs above weeks ago but wasn’t convinced.

It’s unclear when Google will unveil the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 at this point. Some reports say the Pixel 4a could be announced in July, with the Pixel 5 expected to launch in October. Others say the phones may see more delays. Google will surely have to address its Pixel strategy going forward, especially given that the Pixel 3a series was just discontinued. Whatever happens this year, it’s the Pixel 6 to look forward to, especially if Google manages to finish its first-gen custom processor by October 2021.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.