The release marks the first time the search giant will take advantage of the technology, which boasts anywhere from 10 to 100 times the speed of 4G cellular networks. Virtually all other Android phone makers, including Samsung, LG and Motorola, have introduced 5G phones over the past year and a half. Apple‘s upcoming iPhone 12 is expected to be 5G as well.
Google is also releasing a new version of the Pixel 4A, the midtier phone it announced last month, that can connect to 5G networks, too. The costs $499 (£499, AU$799), or $150 more than the non-5G version. Google showed off the new phones during a virtual event on Wednesday, which also unveiled a new streaming device and a . The company usually unveils its new gadget offerings every fall during a launch in New York City, but took the event online due to the .
Google previously teased the Pixel 5, as well as the 5G-compatible version of the midtier 4A, last month. But the company on Wednesday unveiled the rest of the details of its flagship Pixel 5. They include a display that stretches across the front of the device, with a hole punch camera at the top left corner. The device is waterproof and 8GB of RAM.
Selling devices is crucial for Google because the company knows that people don’t only search for stuff on desktop computers anymore. They’re telling their smart speakers to play curated playlists, using their phones to order takeout from their favorite restaurants, or creating jogging routes with mapping apps.
The more Google knows about people and their interests, the more valuable its ads become to marketers who pay the company to target potential buyers based on their likes, dislikes, age, interests and location. The company’s massive digital advertising operation, which has been under investigation by antitrust regulators, generates the vast majority of Google’s $160 billion in annual sales.
Google’s Pixel 5 faces serious pressure as the search giant continues to struggle in the premium phone business. When it comes to smartphone software, Google’s Android, the world’s most widely used mobile operating system, powers almost nine out of every 10 smartphones shipped globally. But the company hasn’t been able to gain traction with its own branded phones, and Pixel sales have been lackluster for years. Google executives have blamed the slump on fierce competition in a premium phone market dominated by Apple and Samsung.
The challenge of selling its high-end phones led Google to create its midtier line last year. The Pixel 3A helped to lift Google’s smartphone business but was discontinued in July. The Pixel 4A will face stiff competition from budget phones from Apple and Samsung — the and the Galaxy A51 — both going for around $400.