Pixel 5 Pro could be the flagship that takes on the iPhone 12, Galaxy S21

Google Pixel 5 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A new Pixel 5 model could be on the way next year, and we're hoping it will be the XL or Pro model Google really needs to stand up to the leading smartphones

The rumor of a "true flagship" Pixel 5 comes from leaker Max Weinbach, who also claims it'll appear around March next year. Weinbach is a reliable source of Android phone news, but he's also warning not to take this rumor as gospel.

Google has shaken up its smartphone offerings over the past two years. First there was the Pixel 3a mid-ranger, which has since been replaced by the Pixel 4a. The recent Pixel 5 took a step back from hardware of previous Pixel flagships to focus more on software and a more competitive price, while the Pixel 4a 5G offers a middle ground between the flagship Pixel and the basic one.

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As such, it isn't surprising to hear that Google has plans for additional phones in new market segments. Given that its rivals at Apple and Samsung are regularly selling $1,000-plus phones, Google may want to also compete in the premium arena, having kept the price of the Pixel 5 at a fairly modest $700.

It's possible that this new Pixel could be the Pixel 5 XL that never appeared when the Pixel 5 debuted at the end of September. Normally Google has released a standard and large size of its flagship phones, but this year saw only a 6-inch Pixel 5. A larger version of the new Pixel could help steal some customers who would otherwise go for the massive handsets from Apple or Samsung, in the form of the iPhone 12 Pro Max or the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

One big area where the Pixel 5 could use some improvements are in its chipset. With a Snapdragon 765G, it lacks performance power compared to other Android flagships with Snapdragon 865 chips. Equally, its single 128GB storage option is a little small, so a 256GB option on a Pro model would be very welcome.

Additional cameras would also be a good idea given how many of the Pixel 5's competitors rock up to four rear sensors. However Google's approach has always been to use post-processing to get good pictures instead of just adding more cameras, and it's paid off up to now.

March isn't a normal time for Google to be revealing a big product like a new Pixel phone. May is normally when we'd expect Google to show off the next version of Android at Google I/O, and it was the event where the Pixel 3a debuted in 2019. But March could be a good time for Google to launch a new flagship, given it'll likely be around the time the Samsung Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 also appear.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.