The Pixel 5a 5G may have the same chip as last year’s Pixel 4a 5G
We’re heading into the half of the year, which means that it shouldn’t be much longer before we see new Pixel smartphones. But things seem a tad bit muddier this year, not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, but also because of a new problem that’s affecting all kinds of electronics appliances: a global chip shortage. While the effects of that shortage have been felt mostly on PC components like graphics cards, it has started to affect smartphones. Nonetheless, plans are still going forward for Google to release their usual Pixel 2021 lineup, which will reportedly include the Pixel 5a 5G. But if you were expecting to see any major changes, prepare to be disappointed: it will reportedly still have the same SoC as the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G, the Snapdragon 765G.
The phone was previously touted to be almost identical to the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 in terms of external design, and according to hints uncovered by 9to5Google in Android 12 Developer Preview 3, it might even feature the same SoC. The Snapdragon 765G was and is an excellent chip, but a successor, the Snapdragon 780G, is already in town. So why would Google throw the 765G on the Pixel 5a 5G if it’s the same SoC that powers its predecessor? If I had to speculate, it’s probably because of the ongoing chip shortage, as I mentioned earlier. We haven’t felt its effects on smartphone availability just yet, but phone manufacturers are struggling to get their hands on new chips, and this probably includes Google as well.
Given that their Pixel 4a 5G and their Pixel 5 are already powered by the Snapdragon 765G, Google probably has a pretty hefty stash of those chips on hand already, and using them for the Pixel 5a 5G makes sense. We’ve seen similar moves in the past, such as LG (RIP) releasing the LG G6 with the Snapdragon 821 because they weren’t able to secure enough Snapdragon 835 chipsets in time for the phone’s launch.
The chip shortage has made the rumor mill about Google’s upcoming smartphones way muddier than usual, but we’re still excited to see what they have in store for the end of this year.
Featured image: the Pixel 4a 5G in white