RIP Pixel 5 XL: Google app update confirms bad news

Google Pixel 5 design render
(Image credit: Sarang Sheth)

If you've been hoping against hope that Google will release a Pixel 5 XL this fall alongside the Pixel 5, consider your hopes dashed. And it's Google that delivered the latest blow.

Google hasn't announced anything official about its Pixel 5 plans, of course. Instead, it's letting its software updates to the talking. And a Camera app update included in the latest Android 11 beta lists upcoming Pixel phones that will be able to run the updated software — the Pixel 5 XL isn't among the list.

Credit 9to5Google with this detective work for digging into the Google Camera 7.5 update to see what's coming to Google's camera app. The Pixel 5 is mentioned in the app, as are the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL, which would seem to confirm that all those models will ship this year. Along those same lines, the Pixel 5 XL's absence seemingly confirms that it's MIA.

Despite the occasional Pixel 5 XL render surfacing, it's been rumored for some time that Google is putting its larger Pixel on the chopping block. Instead, the latest buzz suggests it will be a 5G version of the Pixel 4a joining the Pixel 5 later this fall. (Of course, for that scenario to happen, we'd have to see the Pixel 4a first, and that rumored launch keeps getting pushed back.)

The Camera 7.5 update also includes hints of new features that will be coming to Pixel phones, including Google's upcoming releases. Spotted in the update are a Motion Blur mode that will join other camera modes like Night Sight and Portrait. Motion Blur sounds like it will be able to focus on a specific subject, even if it's moving — think photos of sports and other activities where the person you're photographing isn't standing perfectly still.

An audio zoom feature in the Camera 7.5 update sounds like it will be able to direct the phones microphone when shooting video to home in on whomever you've zoomed in on. Other features discovered by 9to5Google include an adjustable camera flash and the ability to more easily share videos. That latter feature extends a capability that already exists with still images where you can tap a button form within the viewfinder to share your latest shot to various social media sites and services. The Camera 7.5 update lists 25 such services that will be capable of quick video shares.

The Google Pixel 4a is tipped to launch on August 3, meaning we should only be days away from the reveal of Google's next big phone. Those waiting for the Pixel 5 will likely have to hold out until the fall.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.