Google Pixel 5a leaked by Android 12 — what we know so far

android 12 developer preview
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The Google Pixel 5a has been all but confirmed, thanks to new details hidden within the Android 12 Developer Preview.  

Preview builds of the next Android updates are typically a good source of information about Google’s upcoming projects, and the beta version of Android 12 has been no exception. This latest update has revealed several key tidbits, as confirmed by 9to5google, including the new phone's name and model number. 

The leaks and rumors around the budget version of the Google Pixel 5 have been building over the past few weeks, and the “Pixel 5a” moniker is hardly a surprise. In fact, it was even mentioned almost a year ago in the Android Open Source Project. 

However this is the closest we've come to definitive proof, with Android community member cstark27 spotting a reference to "Pixel 5a:GR0M2" in the update, alongside "Pixel 4a (5G):G025I" and "Pixel 5:GTT9Q8".

The "GR0M2" reference is expected to be its international model number — which is significant, as earlier this week it was discovered that a phone with the model number GR0M2 had passed through Bureau of Indian Standards certification. 

If international certification is being obtained, it would suggest that the phone is well on its way to its final release and that Google is likely in the final stages of production. To compare, we caught wind of the Pixel 4a gaining BIS approval around two months before it launched in the US. 

Putting the pieces together, we could be looking at the Pixel 5a arriving in our hands around May, which would match up with the Pixel 3a launch schedule. The Pixel 4a didn’t debut until August, however it’s thought that this later release window was due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One further bit of information to come out of the preview is that the Pixel 5a's codename may have changed. The phone was initially thought to be known as “Barbette”, based on information unearthed by 9to5google, but it now seems that it’s “Barbet” — which is a type of fish. 

Google Pixel 5a GIF face up

(Image credit: Steve Hemmerstoffer/Voice)

We may not know exactly when the Pixel 5a will arrive yet, but we do have a reasonable amount of detail about what it'll look like.

That's thanks to renders posted by noted leaker Steve "OnLeaks" Hemmerstoffer, which show off a device that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Pixel 4a.

That said, leaked Pixel 5a specs have suggested it will have a 6.2-inch OLED display with full HD resolution as seen on the Pixel 4a 5G version, rather than the 5.81-inch screen found on the standard 4a.

The camera is obviously a big deal on any Pixel phone, and rumors have suggested the 5a could get a significant upgrade over last year's model in the form of a second rear camera sensor. This would be a 16MP ultrawide lens, which would join the main 12.2MP sensor and give it a similar setup to the Pixel 5. 

Expect to hear much more about the Pixel 5a over the next few weeks, hopefully culminating in an official announcement before too long.

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.