Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G discontinued as Google looks to Pixel 6

pixel 5
(Image credit: Google)

Google has officially discontinued both the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, revealing that once all remaining handsets have been snapped up from its store, neither will be restocked. 

“With our current forecasts, we expect Google Store in the U.S. to sell out of Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 in the coming weeks following the launch of Pixel 5a (5G),” a Google spokesperson told Digital Trends

“The Pixel 5a (5G) is a great option for customers and delivers valuable hardware upgrades compared to the Pixel 4a (5G), all at a lower price point,” the spokesperson added.

That’s certainly true, as our Pixel 5a review proves, but it’s a bit rough on those that can’t buy one. Google has been extremely clear that 2021’s entry-level Pixel will be exclusive to the US and Japan. 

Yet it appears the discontinuation of the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 is worldwide, with Digital Trends noting that UK retailers John Lewis and the Carphone Warehouse have already stopped selling the two discontinued models. The 5G-less Pixel 4a is the only model left available for purchase.

Joining the dots, the reasons for both the premature discontinuation of last year’s Pixels and the limited availability of the Pixel 5a can likely be traced to the same root cause: the ongoing global chip shortage

Notably, the Pixels covered by this announcement (5, 5a and 4a 5G) all use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipset. If Google only has enough supply to make the Pixel 5a available in two countries, then it stands to reason that it won’t waste chips on older handsets elsewhere in the world, where demand has presumably slowed. The basic Pixel 4a, meanwhile, uses the Snapdragon 730G chip, so is unaffected.

Even if the Pixel 5 sells out today, of course, the flagship-shaped hole in Google’s store won’t be around for long: the company has already revealed early details of its Pixel 6 phones, coming later this year. 

Given they will be powered by the company’s own new Tensor chip, Google will hope they are slightly more insulated from chip supply issues going forward. 

But that’s only scratching the surface of the expected benefits, with artificial intelligence and machine learning on-device promising a “transformed experience for the camera, speech recognition and other Pixel 6 features.”

If Google’s past event schedule is anything to go by, we should get a full look at the Pixel 6 in October. Though be warned: it promises to be pricey.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.