Following reports that the Pixel 5a launch has been canceled due to a chip shortage, Google has confirmed that it indeed plans on launching a budget mid-range Pixel handset this year.
However, the Pixel 5a will see a limited launch that will see it only being available in the US and Japan.
No Google I/O Launch for Pixel 5a
A report from Android Central first sparked off rumors that Google has decided not to launch the Pixel 5a this year due to a global chip shortage. Leaker Jon Prosser also corroborated the same, saying instead of launching the Pixel 5a, Google will continue to sell the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G throughout the year.
“Barbet” (Pixel 5A) has been canceled. 😞
I’m told it’s due to the chip shortage, and as of this morning, it’s not moving forward.
Pixel 4A and 4A 5G will continue to be sold throughout 2021.
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) April 9, 2021
Google, however, was quick to shoot down the rumor. It issued a statement clarifying that the Pixel 5a will indeed launch this year.
The only caveat is that the device will only be available in two markets: the US and Japan. While the Pixel 5a was initially believed to be announced at I/O 21, which is scheduled to take place virtually from May 18-20, Google says the budget Pixel device will launch around the same time as last year’s Pixel 4a.
Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled. It will be available later this year in the U.S. and Japan and announced in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.
The Pixel 4a launched in August last year, so the Pixel 5a should also launch around the same time this year. The name of the device, as used by Google, Pixel 5a 5G, also confirms that it will support 5G, which the current Pixel 4a lacks. This likely means the Pixel 5a 5G will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 750G chipset.
Google has always launched its Pixel devices in limited markets, but with the Pixel 5a, the company is limiting its availability even more. The limited launch can also be attributed to the Pixel devices not really doing well outside of the US.
Global Semiconductor Shortage Affecting Availability of Major Products
There is a global semiconductor shortage affecting all major industries, including smartphones, vehicles, TVs, game consoles, and more. Due to this, all major products are in short supply, with analysts estimating that semiconductor demand is currently around 30 percent higher than supply.
The semiconductor shortage is also one of the reasons for Samsung to cancel the launch of a new Galaxy Note device this year. The situation is so bad that US President Biden signed an executive order investigating semiconductor shortages. The shortage is only expected to worsen in Q2 2021.