Google seems to be moving away from making flagship smartphones. The company’s success with its midrange Pixel a line seems to push it more in that direction. Evidence of the switch has just appeared in an unreleased version of the Google camera app coming to the Pixel 4a.
9to5google was able to lay hands on the prerelease version for the Google Camera code for the upcoming pixel 4a. Studying the code, the guys at 9to5google were to uncover exciting new features coming to Pixel phones, including the possibility of telephoto for the Pixel 4a.
Inside the Google Camera app, the Pixel 4a is referred to as “photo_pixel_2020_midrange_config,” which pretty clearly refers to the upcoming pixel 4a as it is Google’s mid-range phone for 2020. More digging uncovered another reference “photo_pixel_2020_config.” We know that Google releases two phones a year, a flagship and a non-flagship. The midrange 2020 Pixel 4awas already referenced earlier. so we can say with some amount of certainty that the “photo_pixel_2020_config.” references the Pixel 5 due to release in the fall.
bonito/sargo = “photo_pixel_2019_midrange_config”
coral/flame = “photo_pixel_2019_config”
needlefish = “photo_pixel_2019_config”
sunfish = “photo_pixel_2020_midrange_config”
bramble/redfin = “photo_pixel_2020_config”
Take that for what you will.
— Cee Stark (@Cstark_27) March 11, 2020
References to other devices seem to confirm the trend. “photo_pixel_2019_midrange_config” referring to the Pixel 3a while “photo_pixel_2019_config” refers to 2019’s flagship Pixel 4.
In the Google camera app code, some evidence also suggests that the Pixel 4a might have telephoto — SABRE_UNZOOMED_TELEPHOTO. This also suggests that if telephoto is added to the Pixel 4a, it would definitely make its way into the Pixel 5. That would not be a surprising feature to be added to the Pixel 5. There’s no sign yet of any new features but might change in the coming months.
The other detail that 9to5google independently confirmed in the Google Camera about the Pixel 5 is its codename — “Bramble.” CStark27, a modder of the Google Camera app and expert in the app’s inner workings, also confirmed Bramble’s presence in the Google Camera app alongside another codename “Redfin.”
Bramble and Redfin codenames appeared online in January when another study of some code that Google had at one time made public uncovered the names hidden deep within the code. Deductions from that instance suggested that both Redfin and Bramble are powered by the Snapdragon 765G processor, Qualcomm’s second-best chip in its 2020 lineup, featuring built-in 5G support.
The presence of these codenames in the new Google Camera app has confirmed that Redfin and Bramble are Google’s main series Pixel phones for 2020.
Based on that, we can conclude with relative confidence that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL will use the Snapdragon 765G as its base SoC. This breaks from the tradition of Pixels past which all used that year’s flagship chip from Qualcomm.
Google seems to be making a device range for itself. It seems very plausible for Google to market the Pixel 5 as an affordable, yet premium device. From this latest evidence in the Google Camera app, this possibility is looking more likely to be the reality we’ll see at this fall’s Made by Google event.
This no doubt will be a disappointment for may Android enthusiasts. Geekbench tests show that phones powered by the Snapdragon 765G score roughly 30-50% worse than comparable phones with the Snapdragon 865.