Google on Friday said it will launch its Pixel 5A mid-tier phone later this year, refuting rumors the device was scrapped amid a global chip shortage.
“Pixel 5A 5G is not canceled,” a Google spokesman said in a statement. “It will be available later this year in the US and Japan and announced in line with when last year’s A-series phone was introduced.”
The remarks follow reports earlier Friday that the search giant’s budget model phone had been canceled. The company said those rumors were false, and that the device will follow the release schedule of last year’s Pixel 4A phone, which was in August. Google, however, did say supply chain challenges prevented a larger rollout, limiting availability to the US and Japan.
The loss of the Pixel 5A would have been a blow to Google, which had found success with its mid-tier lineup as competition grew fierce in premium phones. Sales of the company’s full-fledged Pixels had been lackluster for years. Google executives have blamed the slump on competing in a high-end handset market dominated by Apple and Samsung.
The pandemic has led to supply chain challenges across the phone industry. When last year’s Pixel 4A was announced, Google said it struggled to develop it as the world shut down to combat the coronavirus.
“When you build a phone, there’s a bunch of things that come together that were affected by COVID in this case,” Brian Rakowski, Google vice president of product management, said at the time. Part of the challenge was travel restrictions, and being unable to send Google employees to factories to help resolve issues that typically arise when phones are being produced and assembled.