Evidence suggests Google Pixel 5 won’t be a flagship


There’s a weird chance Google won’t be releasing a proper flagship smartphone this year. Evidence inside a pre-release version of the Google Camera app suggests the upcoming Pixel 5 won’t feature a flagship processor and instead opt for the lower-end Snapdragon 765G chipset. 9to5Google was among the first to break down how this conclusion was reached.

Essentially, it boils down to code names. Inside the early version of the Camera that’s destined for the upcoming Pixel 4a, a few different code names are discovered, as mentioned by Cee Stark on Twitter. The two that more than likely represent the Pixel 5 are “Bramble” and “Redfin” which are referred by “photo_pixel_2020_config” in the app.

While the Camera app doesn’t directly tell us the phone will use a Snapdragon 765G, previous mentions of “Bramble” and “Redfin” do. 9to5Google dug up the code names back in January and discovered ties between the names and the 765G thanks to the “SM7250” references that were also found. Hence, whatever these mysterious phones are, they’ll likely be using a processor that’s lower-end than the flagship Snapdragon 865.

Granted, “Bramble” and “Redfin” could be any phone or device Google is working on, but last year, references to the Pixel 4 were also found and listed as “photo_pixel_2019_config.” While that isn’t direct confirmation, it’s enough of a hint that “photo_pixel_2020_config” refers to the highest-end smartphone(s) Google will ship this year, and that would mean the Pixel 5 will come with a Snapdragon 765G.

Do the right thing, Google.

If you read my recent opinion piece on the future of Pixels, you know that I’m not a fan of Google ditching high-end hardware just to sell more units. It’s way too easy for the company to make a good phone. They just made really weird decisions with the Pixel 4. If they were to come back with a Pixel 5 that had three or four rear cameras (with an ultra-wide lens!), a larger battery, at least 8GB of RAM, and more than 128GB of storage, they’d sell phones like hotcakes because you’d still get the excellent software experience, camera quality, and overall experience you do now, just on steroids.

To me, it makes little sense for Google to ditch the premium market. If charging customers too much money for a high-end Pixel is a concern, there’s no reason they couldn’t have a starting price of $699. OnePlus makes some of the best flagship phones available today and their latest phones are under $700. If Google did that, no mid-range offering could compete and OnePlus would be toast.

But instead of doing the smart thing, Google is gonna listen to all the people begging the company to stick to making mid-range phones. Yes, the Pixel 3a was insanely popular and I’m sure the 4a will be as well, but Google has proven it’s capable of making great phones at affordable prices. Throw the best specs you can inside the Pixel 5 and charge a coule hundred dollars less for it. What’s wrong with that? You’re Google, you can afford it.

Praise be to God this rumor is still a rumor. We have seven months until the Pixel 5 will likely debut, and in that time, anything could happen. I’m gonna keep my hopes up that the company doesn’t use a 765G and goes with the 865 coupled with more RAM and storage. I would buy that phone in a heartbeat, and I know a lot of other people would too.

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