Google Pixel 5a Mid-Range Phone Visits FCC Ahead Of Rumored Fall U.S. Launch

google pixel 5a
Although the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are the most highly anticipated smartphones coming from Google this year, the company also promised to deliver a new mid-range smartphone for consumers. After a rumor claimed that the Pixel 5a was canceled for this year, Google quickly made the surprise decision to confirm months in advance that it was working to deliver the smartphone later this year for the United States and Japan.

Today, we're learning the Pixel 5a has made a critical stop on its way to the U.S. market: it visited the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Three models in total -- G1F8F, GR0M2, and G4S1M -- appeared at the FCC, all of which feature sub-6GHz 5G bands. However, given that this is a mid-range device, Google didn't include mmWave support for cost reasons.

pixel 5a G1F8F
Google Pixel 5a (G1F8F)

Of the three models displayed, the G1F8F is probably destined for the U.S. market as it supports the most LTE and sub-6GHz 5G bands according to Android Police. According to the FCC, another difference is that only the G1F8F supports CDMA bands -- the other two models have CDMA disabled in software/firmware.

According to the most recent rumors concerning the Pixel 5a, it might not represent as significant a leap over the Pixel 4a as its name would suggest. According to references in earlier Android 12 Developer Previews, the Pixel 5a will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC, the same one used on the Pixel 4a 5G.

We hoped that Google would use the newly announced Snapdragon 778G SoC, Qualcomm's latest mid-range 5G SoC. This 8-core SoC is more performant than the 765G, is built on the 6nm process node, and uses a Snapdragon X53 5G modem. However, if it's true that performance won't improve year-over-year, we wonder what Google will do to differentiate the Pixel 5a from its Pixel 4a 5G successor.

google pixel 6
Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

With that said, if you need more power, the aforementioned Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are expected to bring flagship performance with the Snapdragon 888 SoC along with flagship-worthy features (120Hz QHD+ display, wireless charging, in-display fingerprint reader). If the Snapdragon 888 is a no-go, another rumor claims that Google will use its homegrown Whitechapel SoC.

The Pixel 5a and Pixel 6/6 Pro are expected to launch at a Google hardware event this fall.