Google’s A-series Pixel phones have been an excellent option for budget-conscious buyers in recent years, clocking in at just a few hundred dollars with the same great software and camera experience as the full-priced Pixels. We expected Google to launch an updated Pixel 5a in the next few months, but multiple reports now claim the chip shortage has forced some changes. Google will allegedly skip the Pixel 5A and keep selling the 4a and 4a 5G. 

The original report came by way of leaker Jon Prosser, who has a relatively good record for accuracy. We don’t have to take his word on it, though. Android Central claims to have confirmed that Google is canceling the Pixel 5a, which was known internally as “Barbet.” Previous leaks pointed to a phone very much like past A-series Pixels with a 6.2-inch OLED, plastic construction, and the same camera module as the Pixel 5. Google was supposedly targeting a sub-$400 price for the phone. 

Canceling the Pixel 5a will be a major blow to Google’s smartphone operations, which should serve as confirmation of how serious the chip shortage has become. Even Samsung is canceling phones. Google’s high-end Pixel phones don’t sell very well outside of the core Android enthusiast community. They have fantastic software and cameras, but so do the A-series Pixels. Those phones also cost about half as much as the flagship Pixels. 

The report claims that instead of releasing the Pixel 5a, Google will continue pushing the 4a and 4a 5G throughout 2021. It could be worse — the Pixel 4a is one of the best smartphone deals around at $350, and it still performs better than most other devices in its price range. The 4a 5G felt like an unnecessary carrier-pleaser last year, but it could come in handy if there won’t be a new cheap Pixel this year. 5G networks are finally being fleshed out in the US, and you wouldn’t be crazy for making 5G a must-have when buying a device you plan to use for a few years. 

Google has not commented on the reports, and it might decline to do so indefinitely. After all, it hasn’t even announced the Pixel 5a, so it doesn’t have to admit it’s canceled anything. It also sounds like the alleged decision has been made very recently, and things could still change. We cannot confirm at this time that the Pixel 5a is dead, but it’s not looking good.

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