Will the, uh, fifth time be the charm for Google's premium Pixel? Google hasn't yet produced the rival-beating, must-have Android flagship, but the company keeps trying.
It's early still, but first leaks suggest that Google plans to try some new things with this autumn's expected Pixel 5 line, including a refreshed design. We're still several months out, so these leaks and rumours might not pan out exactly as designed, but they offer an intriguing first look at where Google might be headed.
Here's everything we've heard about the Google Pixel 5 so far.
(Renders courtesy of Front Page Tech)
When will the Google Pixel 5 be out?
Google has been extremely reliable with its flagship Pixel releases, shipping each one starting in mid-October year after year.
Unless we hear otherwise, which we haven't yet, we fully expect an October 2020 launch and release for the Pixel 5. That gives Google its usual window and a chance to roll out after Apple's usual September launch of new iPhones.
October seems extremely likely again.
How much will the Google Pixel 5 cost?
Prior to the Pixel 4, our gut response would've been: probably a bit too much. But with the Pixel 4, Google took a step back and launched the main model at a more reasonable £669. Well, reasonable compared to other top-end Androids.
Hopefully we're looking at a similar philosophy with the Pixel 5, but it's too early to take more than a historically informed guess here. Google hasn't been able to beat a rival like Samsung when it comes to high-end perks and features, but undercutting on price is a smart bet.
Also note: rumours point to the release of a cheaper mid-range Pixel 4a in the coming months, so that's your likely pick if you want an affordable Pixel in 2020.
Charging a little less for its next flagship seems like the right thing for Google to do.
What will the Google Pixel 5 look like?
If you're anything like us, you might be making the same kind of slack-jawed face as the back of the purported Pixel 5 on this leaked render.
Hailing from leaker Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech, this supposed leak shows a very large new back module with a clear face-like design. If nothing else, it's certainly distinctive. On the other hand, it's huge… and it looks like a face.
On the other hand, the Pixels have rarely been as polished or nuanced as we've wanted, so we can't say we'd be shocked if the end result looks something like this. On the front, the top bezel looks to be trimmed down from the Pixel 4, so that's a good sign.
It's too early to know whether this will be the real Pixel 5 look, but we buy it being a possibility.
What about the Google Pixel 5's screen?
We haven't heard any solid rumours about the Pixel 5's screens at this point. The Pixel 4 models had 5.7in and 6.3in OLED screens, respectively, both with a 90Hz refresh rate.
Samsung's Galaxy S20 models all bump up to an even smoother 120Hz rate, while the OnePlus 8 is expected to hit the same mark. Will Google try to keep, or stick with the stellar 90Hz rate from last year's models?
It's too early to tell, but they ought to look great again.
How much power will the Google Pixel 5 pack?
Google is pretty darn reliable in this department, sticking with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon flagship chip – although last year, it opted for the Snapdragon 855 from last spring, rather than the just-released Snapdragon 855+.
This time around, we'd anticipate seeing the Snapdragon 865 chip inside the Pixel 5. If there's a Snapdragon 865+ this year, then maybe we'll see that instead, but we're not counting on it at this point.
But what if the Pixel 5 didn't try to match Android flagship handsets on power... and quite likely price, for that matter? 9to5Google got its hands on the Google Camera app from the widely-leaked Pixel 4a, and the source code points to a Pixel 5 running an upper mid-range processor: a Snapdragon 765G, which supports 5G but doesn't have quite the same power onboard as the 800 series.
Look, the Pixel 3a proved that a budget-friendlier Pixel can actually be a better option than the full-blooded "real thing," and the Pixel 4a looks like another success. Maybe Google aims to deliver a premium-feeling Pixel 5 that goes a step lower on some components, cutting down the price to better challenge Apple and Samsung. We're just speculating on that front, but 9to5Google's info suggests that the new phones - codenamed "Bramble" and "Redfin" - won't be packing flagship chips.
History suggests a top-end chip, but Google might be better able to set the Pixel apart from the pack with a little less power and a slimmer price tag. We're certainly curious.
What kind of cameras will the Google Pixel 5 have?
What kind? We don't know yet – but if the Prosser renders are legit, then we know how many: three on the back.
The Pixel 4 marked the first time that Google put more than one main camera on a phone, bumping up to two, so that kind of expansion may continue with the Pixel 5. Will we get an ultra-wide camera to join the wide-angle and telephoto cameras?
Prosser suggests that the Pixel 4's Soli radar system will still be housed in the top bezel on the front, and we're still expecting 3D facial-scanning security capabilities in the handsets.
Google has been a consistent camera champ, so we're expecting brilliant things from the Pixel 5.
Is there anything else I should know about the Google Pixel 5?
We've seen a handful of phones with a reverse wireless charging capability, letting you put a mate's phone or perhaps an accessory (like wireless earbuds) on the back of your phone to give it a top-up. That said, the Pixel 4 wasn't exactly a battery champ, so Google will need to put up longer-lasting hardware before we'd consider sharing any of that juice.
Also, while nothing has been leaked yet, we anticipate that Google will use the Pixel 5 to add 5G compatibility to the line. Will it be the Pixel 5G? We like the branding! 9to5Google's aforementioned report about a mid-range Snapdragon 765G would allow for 5G, if it's in there.
Maybe the Pixel 5 will be able to match up against the Galaxy S20 in terms of headline features. We'll find out later this year – stay tuned for updates as more rumours and leaks emerge.