“Wait, there’s a Pixel 5a 5G?”
You might be asking yourself that at this moment, and you’d be right to question that. Google has never formally introduced a Pixel 5a 5G. All we have are some leaks.
But the company addressed the device today in an “official” way by saying it wasn’t dead. Why’d they have to come out and say the Pixel 5a 5G isn’t dead? Various surfaced yesterday suggesting the phone was put on an indefinite hold due to an industry-wide chip shortage.
At the time of writing, the exact chip that will be included in the Pixel 5a 5G isn’t known, but there’s a solid chance it will be one made by Qualcomm. In other words, it won’t be Google’s mysterious GS101 chip rumored to appear in the Pixel 6.
Multiple outlets reached out to Google to confirm whether the upcoming Pixel 5a was put on hold or cancelled entirely. I suppose the company received far too many requests for comment than they could handle, so they were practically forced to respond.
Here’s the quote they gave everyone.
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.
With this quick quip from a Google spokesperson, we now know three things: the Pixel 5a 5G is indeed a real phone, it will be released in both the U.S. and Japan, and it will arrive around the same time as the Pixel 4a from last year (a.k.a. around August).
What the company didn’t specify is why they’re only shipping the 5a to two markets. You’ll, of course, be able to buy the phone in other territories through international imports, but Google will directly sell the Pixel 5a 5G in just two sectors of the world instead of a handful like it always does.
Many are speculating this is due to the chip shortage, and it could very well be. Google might be trying to conserve the amount of parts it needs to continue selling the phone wherever it does well. If that’s true, though, we may never know for sure since the company is unlikely to address that question (some things are just kept off the books for the media).
For about five minutes yesterday, it seemed that the Pixel 5a was dead, and Twitter certainly made it feel that way with the dozens of headlines that flooded the site. But as it turns out, that was inaccurate information, and Google will be shipping the device later this year.
The phone has resurrected… sort of.
Tapping the wire…
Google I/O 2021 is a thing
This week, Google announced it would be holding its annual I/O developer conference after skipping last year due to COVID-19. The only catch is that the event will be completely digital, which means the keynote, developer sessions, and hands-on experiences will all be held online.
The event kicks off on May 18th and runs through the 20th.
LG’s last flagships will still get software updates
Following confirmation that it was killing off its mobile division, LG has confirmed it plans to ship at least three years’ worth of software updates for its last flagship phones from the year they were released. That means phones like the Velvet, V60, and Wing could get Android 13, although I’m not entirely confident in LG given its sketchy track record.
Maybe they’ll be able to dedicate more resources to its software update division to get these upgrades out in a timely manner. There’s no way to know for sure other than a “guarantee” from the company that the updates will eventually come out.
T-Mobile’s big 5G bolster and why it’s important
I’ll have more to say on this news next week in an editorial, but here’s the basis of it: T-Mobile is introducing a set of initiatives that will help bolster 5G adoption across the country.
The Uncarrier has introduced a program where you can get a free 5G smartphone if you switch and trade in virtually any cell phone (from flip phones to the latest flagships), the rollout of 5G across all of its data plans, its own 5G-powered Home Internet plan, and T-Mobile Hometown which will deliver 5G to rural America over the next few years.
From Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s CEO:
“This is the moment we’ve been working toward since we shared our vision for a faster, more inclusive future — a vision we called 5G for All — when we announced our plans to merge with Sprint three years ago,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “We’re quite literally the only company that can kickstart this new era of connectivity, that has the network to upgrade America’s phones, homes and small towns to 5G. And we’re just getting started.”
It’s gonna take time for consumers to adopt 5G, and T-Mobile is giving it its all to speed up adoption rates. These projects seem to be a solid start, and I’ll have more to say soon.
Lenovo’s crazy gaming phone with two charging ports
Another day, another crazy gaming phone has been announced. This time, it’s Lenovo with the Legion Phone Duel 2.
It’s got all the crazy specs you’ve come to expect – Snapdragon 888, up to 18GB of RAM, a 6.9-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate, up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. But it’s in the design that things get super crazy.
The entire phone is horizontally oriented, so the cameras sit smack in the middle (so does the motorized selfie camera). There are a couple of fans inside the phone for improved cooling, and there’s a ton of software tweaks Lenovo packs in to full optimize the hardware onboard while gaming.
But perhaps the oddest design choice are the dual charging ports. Lenovo lets you plug both of the charging cables the Legion Phone Dual 2 comes with into a wall wart to power up the device’s 5,500mAh at 90W. That’s incredibly impressive for any smartphone, and it’s one of the perks of buying a gaming phone.
It’ll start at €799 and go on sale soon in Europe and Asia. It’s likely not coming to the U.S. like most Lenovo phones.
Apple says the quiet part out loud about iMessage on Android.
This story is a quick one.
Everyone probably knows by now why Apple won’t release an iMessage app for Android. In short, it would encourage more people to buy Android devices since they’ll no longer be locked in because of iMessage to the Apple ecosystem. In official court filings, both Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi have essentially confirmed that reasoning to be true. They just don’t want people buying phones that don’t have an Apple logo on them.
Here are their exact quotes, as spotted by 9to5Mac. I can’t say I’m surprised, to say the least.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering and the executive in charge of iOS, feared that “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones” […]
Schiller commented that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us.”
YouTube takes another jab at hate speech
YouTube’s taking yet another jab at hate speech shared on its platform. Google is now blocking users a handful of new terms like “all lives matter” and “white lives matter” from being used as ad keywords on videos uploaded to the platform. This follows an exposing report from The Markup which revealed advertisers could use those keywords to share ads on specific videos.
HP refreshes its Chromebook x360 14c
HP has unveiled a refresh version of its premium Chromebook x360 14c with 11th-generation Intel processors and twice the storage (from 64GB to 128GB). It still comes with a 14-inch display, a fingerprint reader, B&O speakers, and the ability to block your webcam from hackers. Overall, it seems like a really solid machine.
It goes on sale later this month at Best Buy and through the HP website. It’ll cost $499 and up, depending on which configuration you get.