It could also launch as a more mid-range device than we’ve expected.

What you need to know

  • A reference to the Pixel 5 has been spotted in AOSP code.
  • This is the first concrete evidence, other than expectation, that Google’s next flagship will be called the Pixel 5.
  • There’s a possibility that the Pixel 5 may support 5G, and be more midrange than previous Pixels.

Google is expected to launch a bunch of new Pixels this year. There’s the mid-range Pixel 3a successor, the 4a and the flagship in waiting, the Pixel 5. We’ve seen a lot about the Pixel 4a so far, but nothing’s emerged about the Google Pixel 5, at least, until now.

A code snippet spotted by 9to5Google provides a hint:

Bounds sanitizer in arch/arm64/kernel/cpufeature.c makes image unbootable for Pixel 4 at 4.14 kernel. I didn’t have a chance to test it on Pixel 5 with 4.19, and preemptively disabling UBSan there now to ensure bootability.

To be clear, this code snippet isn’t exactly something big. The code itself is relatively mundane, what’s interesting is the reference to the Pixel 5 running Linux 4.19 kernel. It doesn’t do much other than confirming that a Pixel 5 does — at this moment — exist.

While 3 Pixel variants have been spotted this year, 9to5Google says that the two Pixel variants not named sunfish, previously assumed to be Pixel 4a variants, could actually be Pixel 5 units. As we were expecting Google to only launch three Pixel devices this year as opposed to four, this actually tracks. What doesn’t is the possibility of the mid-range specs of the Pixel 5 devices. 9to5Google speculates that Bramble and Redfin are Pixel 5 units, they’ll be powered by Snapdragon 765 5G sporting processors as opposed to the high tier flagship internals we’re used to now.

Perhaps Google is retreating from the flagship space as it leaves that to more experienced hardware partners like Samsung much like it did in the Chromebook space. The Pixel 3a did get praise, accolades, and most importantly, sales., and the flagship market is saturated after all. Maybe, or maybe it’s just way too far out to tell for now.

Google is likely to announce the Pixel 5 at its now annual hardware event later this fall. We can expect to see more leaks about the device as the date approaches.

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