Google announced its long-awaited Pixel 4a today – and in the same breath, it confirmed the existence of the Pixel 5 and a 5G-enabled version of the Pixel 4a set to launch in the coming months. Details are pretty scarce about both of these handsets, but it’s interesting that Google has decided to confirm plans to launch a competitor to the forthcoming (and delayed) iPhone 12 and Galaxy Note 20, which is set to be revealed this week, so early.

This isn’t the first time Google has let the cat out of the bag a little early. In the wake of a number of Pixel 4 leaks last year, the Californian company published an official image of the Pixel 4 camera design on Twitter with the caption: “Well, since there seems to be some interest, here you go! Wait ’til you see what it can do. #Pixel4.”

This time around Google hasn’t revealed much of a glimpse of its next flagship smartphone. While there is an image of what is (presumably) the Pixel 5 in the blog post announcing the arrival of the Pixel 4a, it only shows the smartphone from a side-on view. That doesn’t reveal much… save for the fact that Pixel 5 will have a camera bump and a power button.

However, it has confirmed one of the headline features of the Pixel 4 follow-up – 5G. That makes sense. After all, the vast majority of Google’s rivals have already added support for the supercharged mobile network, or plan to add support in the coming months. 5G networks offer much faster download speeds than the average UK household broadband. It’s also more reliable in areas with a high concentration of mobile devices, like a concert or football match (when we’re all allowed to cram into stadiums to attend those again).

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With Apple widely-tipped to add 5G support across its iPhone line-up this autumn, OnePlus already kitting out its line-up of devices with 5G support, and Samsung including 5G in its flagship devices since the Galaxy S10 5G launched in February 2019, Google’s next smartphone would’ve looked ill-equipped without 5G support.

Nonetheless, the early announcement could stop those coming to the end of their contract in the next few weeks from buying a rival smartphone from Samsung, OnePlus or Apple – and waiting for the 5G-enabled Pixel 5 to make an appearance.

Gaming looks set to be a real selling point of the upcoming Pixel 5, with Google confirming that 5G will be used to make playing games on its Google Stadia streaming solution “faster and smoother than ever”.

Elsewhere, Google has confirmed where the Pixel 5 will launch when it becomes available. As it stands, Google says the handset will be available in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Australia.

A second 5G-enabled smartphone – the Pixel 4a 5G – will also arrive on store shelves later this year, Google has confirmed. Whether that smartphone will have the same 5.8-inch OLED display, single rear-camera and matte black plastic case as the Pixel 4a available to pre-order September 10, 2020 is unclear. However, it’s nice to see Google isn’t only making 5G a premium feature (although it has confirmed the Pixel 4a 5G will cost £499, compared to the £349 price tag for the regular 4G-only Pixel 4a).

“In the coming months, we’ll share more about these devices and our approach to 5G,” Google teases in its latest blog post.

Express.co.uk will have all of the latest news about the next slate of Pixel-branded devices over the coming weeks, so stay tuned to find out more about the Google-branded gadgets.