Disappointed that Google I/O didn't have any hardware announcements? It seems that there were some teasers after all, but only if you root around in the Android 12 beta.
References to the Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel Fold and Google Pixel 5a were all found within the code of Android 12 beta 1 by 9to5Google. These appear to back up previous rumors for these devices, although there are still a number of uncertainties.
- Android 12 release date, beta and all the new features
- If you missed it live, check out our Google I/O 2021 recap
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The codenames Oriole and Raven were discovered, and are believed to refer to the two Pixel 6 models, possibly called Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. A mention of Passport was also found, a name we've already seen attached to the Pixel Fold These names were accompanied by their Japanese model numbers: GR1YH, GF5KQ and GPQ72 respectively.
The codename "Barbet" and model number G4S1M were also found within the code. 9to5Google said this likely refers to the Pixel 5a, Google's upcoming mid-range handset that will replace the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G.
Oddly there was also the codename "Needlefish," which was thought to be a 5G-ready version of the Pixel 4 that didn't make it to launch. It's important to note this as it shows the limitations of scouring code for leaks. It can prove accurate, but it can also lead you down routes that Google is no longer exploring.
The Pixel 5a is expected to launch this summer. It's thought to take a lot of design cues from the Pixel 4a 5G, including the basic shape, dual rear cameras and even the same Snapdragon 765 chipset. Without significant changes to the current model, it will be interesting to see how the Pixel 5a fares against newer budget phones like the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G.
The Pixel 6 should arrive in the fall, and with a huge raft of changes. Recent design leaks show a new three-tone design with altered details front and back. It may also use Google's first triple-camera array, and its first custom-designed chipset, codenamed "Whitechapel."
We haven't got an expected release date for the Pixel Fold. The design doesn't seem to be final either, with Google working on both two-part and three-part folding designs. It's still a mysterious handset, but one we hope will become a reality in the near future.