Since the beginning of Google’s in-house hardware efforts, the company has hosted a large-scale press event at some point in October each year. For the past four years, we’ve had a single date responsible for delivering the latest, greatest Google-made hardware for the upcoming year. Devices like the Pixel phones, Pixelbooks, Google Home speakers, Wi-Fi routers, and smart displays have all been known to make their appearances at these yearly events.
As we all know, 2020 isn’t like most years, and just as abnormal and jarring is Google’s new phone hardware trajectory of late. With no real flagship, high-end phone on the way this year, it seems Google is ready to completely upend its normal plans for an October event if the recent leak of the Pixel 5’s likely availability is anything to go by. According to GSM Arena, Vodaphone Germany has an internal listing showing the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G arriving on September 25th, well ahead of a mid-October event date.
While this date is completely reasonable for the arrival of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, it will clearly mark a departure from Google’s standard October announcements. As the Pixel phones are generally the highlight of the Google press events, I find it highly unlikely that Google would launch these phones in September and hold other hardware for another event later in October, so the assumption would be a September virtual event if there is an event at all. We also know that Google has their new streaming dongle (Sabrina) waiting in the wings along with a new Nest Home speaker as well, so there are definitely hardware announcements to make. Also, we can’t forget the Pixelbook update we’re hoping for in ‘Halvor’ as well. It could be announced and perhaps not ship until later in the year.
A different option
The other clear option would be Google choosing not to have a single event this year and simply releasing devices when they see fit to do so. The long-awaited Pixel 4a showed up with a blog post and with a handful of tech blogs and YouTube channels releasing their early thoughts on it. That approach has seemingly worked very well and the Pixel 4a looks to be doing quite well with no big hoopla for its launch.
If Google chooses to do a single, virtual event to launch all its latest wares, there’s no way the Pixel 5 isn’t part of that event (forcing a September event date), but I think it is just as likely that late September could simply begin a slow trickle of new hardware from Google, announced via The Keyword, and shared with the world through review units, tech blogs and YouTube. In a year where everything is off and even the most normal activities are halted or cancelled, I think this would be a wise move from Google. If the September 25th date does in fact hold true, I suppose we’ll know exactly what they are up to sooner than later.