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Pixel 5 release date reportedly delayed

Published May 22nd, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Pixel 5 Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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  • The Pixel 5 release date has been postponed due to “market conditions,” a leaker said on Twitter.
  • The same person said the Pixel 4a will be unveiled in early July, more than a month later than expected, and that the phone will launch in August.
  • The Pixel 5 launch event should take place in October, considering what Google did with previous Pixel launches.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Google is struggling to sell Pixel phones, but the new Pixel phones are highly anticipated devices every year. The Pixel is the closest thing Android has to iPhone, especially the high-end models that pack flagship specs and run the latest operating system release. However, this year’s new Pixels have been delayed, a leaker said. The release dates of both the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5 have been pushed back significantly, and the novel coronavirus health crisis is the obvious explanation for the move. The evolution of the pandemic is expected to impact the iPhone 12 launch as well and might hurt other new products supposed to launch this year, including the Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles.

The Pixel 4a should have already been released, according to previous reports, but the novel coronavirus may have changed all of that. A few days ago, we learned that the Pixel 4a might be launched in early June, several weeks later than expected.

Jon Prosser, of recent Apple leaks fame, dropped a few details about the Pixel 4a delay the other day, saying the Pixel 4a delay is even worse. The phone would be unveiled on July 13th rather than early June. “Seems like they’re ready to ship,” the leaker said. “The decision is mostly based on market analysis.”

Smartphone sales have suffered in the past quarter because of the health crisis. Millions of people lost their jobs around the world as countries went in lockdowns to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and new smartphone purchases aren’t a priority for many people. Add to all that the increased competition from Apple, whose $399 iPhone SE is a much better bargain than the Pixel 4a could ever hope to be, and it’s understandable why Google would want to postpone the launch.

Prosser followed up with a second tweet, reiterating that market conditions, not supply chain problems are to blame for the Pixel 4a delay. The Just Black version of the phone should launch on August 6th, while the Barely Blue model would hit stores almost two months later, on October 1st.

More interesting is the Pixel 5 tidbit in the tweet. The phone is “likely pushed back,” although Prosser doesn’t offer a potential Pixel 5 release date.

Google usually unveils new hardware in October, and that’s when the new Pixel phones are announced. The Pixel 4 was introduced on October 15th and launched two weeks later. It’s unclear if the Pixel 5 will get an October announcement this year.

Prosser said in a previous leak that Apple is considering postponing the iPhone 12 launch to October so that it can increase its chances of hosting an in-person event. New iPhone launches are usually scheduled in the second week of September, and the phones hit stores by the end of the month. The COVID-19 situation will complicate things this year. Some iPhone 12 versions are expected to be delayed to October, which may be one reason for Apple to also postpone the keynote. Prosser also said a few days ago that Apple wanted to unveil its first-gen AR glasses as a “One more thing” moment at the end of the iPhone event. But Apple would only do it with a regular press conference, not an online event.

These events might alter Google’s Pixel 5 launch plans as well. We already know the Pixel 5 will be the most disappointing premium Pixel in history so far, as the handset will feature a processor that will be less powerful than the Pixel 4’s CPU. If the iPhone 12 launches in October, then Google would just have to postpone the Pixel 5. The cheapest iPhone 12 will cost $649 but provide performance superior to the Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8. The Pixel 5 is rumored to start at $699, but pack a chip that’s not able to match the performance of 2018 iPhones, let alone the iPhone 11 or iPhone 12. Such market conditions would definitely force Google to delay the Pixel 5. This is just speculation based on Prosser’s remarks. There could be plenty of other factors that would contribute to a Pixel 5 delay, including manufacturing and logistics issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.