Google Pixel 5 event: rumors and what to expect

Fall hardware season is in full swing, and tomorrow, Google will be showing off some new products at its “Launch Night In” event. The company has already officially announced some of what we’ll see: Google will be telling us more about new Pixel smartphones (the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G), as well as a new Chromecast and a new Nest smart speaker.

We already know a lot about each one of those products, partly because of the the typical pre-event leaks, rumors, and renders — and partly because people have already bought some of these unannounced products off store shelves. (That includes The Verge; we bought the new Chromecast at Home Depot on Monday.)

We’ve collected what we know in this post. And you can follow The Verge for the actual news when the event kicks off tomorrow at 2PM ET.

WinFuture claims this is the Pixel 5 in a new green color.
Image: WinFuture

The Pixel 5 is Google’s next flagship

The Pixel 5 is Google’s next flagship smartphone, and Google has already revealed a few details: the phone is coming this fall, will support 5G networks, and will be available in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia, the company said in August.

As for what the phone looks like, Google itself has revealed a side profile of the device (see the picture at the top of this post). And Google Japan showed off most of the Pixel 5’s front in a now-deleted tweet on September 24th. A translation of the tweet said the phone is now available to preorder. (Narrator: it wasn’t.)

If you’re familiar with the Pixel 4, you might notice that the front of the Pixel 5 has a conspicuous difference: the Pixel 5 doesn’t look to have the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL’s larger top bezel that housed its face unlock technology and motion-detecting radar. It seems Google is returning to a fingerprint reader on the back of the phone instead, as shown in renders from reliable leaker Evan Blass, which also show the the phone in seafoam green and in black:

Other leaks from WinFuture show more angles of the Pixel 5 and may reveal the phone’s specs. The phone will reportedly have a midrange Snapdragon 765G processor, which has Qualcomm’s integrated X52 modem for 5G support, but the phone will apparently only support the slower sub-6GHz 5G networks and won’t support faster mmWave 5G. The Pixel 5 may also have a 6.0-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED screen, a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and a 90Hz refresh rate, the last of which could make your phone feel smoother in day-to-day use.

As for cameras, the Pixel 5 is rumored to have two cameras, like the Pixel 4, but there will be at least one major difference between the two phones: in addition to having the same 12.2MP main camera that’s served Google well for years, the Pixel 5 might have a 16MP ultra-wide camera, instead of bringing over the Pixel 4’s telephoto lens.

Google put a stake in the ground with choosing a telephoto lens last year at the introduction of the Pixel 4. Marc Levoy, the former Googler who led the development of the computational photography technology in the Pixel phones, even said, “while wide-angle can be fun, we think telephoto is more important.” It seems Google may have changed its mind. It’s also possible Google will add additional software smarts to its camera, like the Night Sight and astrophotography modes that it added in prior years.

Rounding out the reported specs are an 8MP hole-punch selfie camera, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 4,080mAh battery, an IP68 water resistance rating, and 18W USB-C fast charging.

Image: John Lewis

The Pixel 4A 5G might share some specs with the Pixel 5

Leaked specs for the Pixel 4A 5G indicate it will have a 6.2-inch screen, which would make it the biggest phone in the Pixel lineup, as the 4A has a 5.8-inch display and the 5 is rumored to have a 6-inch panel. (The Pixel 4A 5G’s display would sit in-between the now-discontinued Pixel 4 and 4 XL — the Pixel 4 had a 5.7-inch screen and the 4 XL had a 6.3-inch screen.) But the Pixel 4A 5G may share the Pixel 5’s 2340 x 1080 resolution, meaning its pixel density would be slightly lower and the display may look slightly less crisp.

Google is also rumored to be putting a Snapdragon 765G processor, 12.2MP and 16MP back cameras, and 8MP front camera in the Pixel 4A 5G — the same specs as rumored for the Pixel 5. But the Pixel 4A 5G will reportedly have trade-offs in some other areas, such as a slower 60Hz refresh rate screen, a smaller 3,885mAh battery, 6GB of RAM instead of 8GB, a Gorilla Glass 3 screen instead of a Gorilla Glass 6 screen, and no IP rating for water or dust resistance. The phone is rumored to have a 3.5mm headphone jack, though, like the Pixel 4A and 3A before it.

Google has already said that the Pixel 4A 5G will cost $499, which is a $150 bump from the Pixel 4A’s $349. It’ll be available in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

A new Chromecast powered by “Google TV”

Rumors about a new Google-made TV dongle with the codename “Sabrina” have circulated for months, but in recent days, people (including The Verge’s Chris Welch) have actually been able to buy the new, unannounced Chromecast off store shelves for $50, revealing nearly everything about the device.

The new TV dongle is called Chromecast with Google TV, and it runs the new Google TV operating system (which seems to be a rebrand of Android TV) with its own remote control, unlike any previous Chromecast device. Having a dedicated operating system and remote are big changes for Chromecast, as previous models relied on users casting content from phones or laptops to watch on their TV.

Image: WinFuture

Reddit user u/fuzztub07, who was lucky enough to buy the device from Walmart, has posted a video of the operating system in action. The video shows apps for video services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video, an app for Spotify, and a number of games that Google says you can play with a gamepad or the device’s remote. Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service isn’t supported, according to u/fuzztub07, so it seems you’ll still only be able to play Stadia on a TV with the existing Chromecast Ultra.

Past leaks revealed that the Chromecast with Google TV’s remote control would have dedicated buttons for Google Assistant, YouTube, and Netflix and a circular navigation tool at the top. While that circular navigation tool might look like a scroll wheel of some kind, it apparently can only navigate in four directions, according to according to u/fuzztub07.

The new Chromecast also is 4K / HDR compatible, supports multiple user accounts, will let you pair Bluetooth headphones, and doesn’t have an Ethernet port, says u/fuzztub07.

My colleague Chris Welch bought his Chromecast with Google TV for $49.99 from Home Depot, and u/fuzztub07 said they bought theirs for $49.98, so you should probably expect to pay about $50 for the device when it’s officially available. And if the fact that people have already bought and tested retail units wasn’t enough evidence that the Chromecast with Google TV will be launching imminently, 9to5Google reported that a “Sabrina” device appeared in Home Depot’s internal systems with a September 30th release date, so we’d be surprised if it isn’t made official at Google’s event tomorrow.

Image: Google

A new Nest smart speaker: “Nest Audio”

We already know exactly what the new Nest smart speaker looks like because Google shared a photo and a video of the device back in July. The photo above shows off a blue model, the video below has a pink one in the background of one of the shots, and we’ve also seen a grey one in a regulatory filing.

Like the Chromecast with Google TV, this new Nest speaker has also been spotted on store shelves, and the packaging reveals it will be called Nest Audio, will support Google Assistant, and will come in a darker grey / black color. The device could support touch controls, according to a photo taken by a reddit user who says they actually bought the Nest Audio from Walmart. And a now-pulled Nest Audio listing on Lowe’s’ website revealed the speaker can tune itself to a room with a “smart sound” feature, which we first saw in the Google Home Max, and that it will cost $99.99.

Since we’re already seeing the device show up on physical and virtual store shelves, it seems likely you’ll be able to buy the Nest Audio very soon.