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A new Google phone could be launching in May – but which one?

Google is thought to be launching a lot of phones this year – as well as the Pixel 8 series we’re likely to see the Pixel 7a and the Pixel Fold, and at least one of those last two could be launching quite soon.

Both phones have previously been rumored to land around the middle of the year, likely in May, and now an unnamed Google phone has been listed with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the US, which is something that usually happens within a few months of launch.

Indeed, as 9to5Google – which spotted the listing – points out, the FCC’s confidentiality runs out in six months. That confidentiality hides images and other revealing information from the public, so whatever this phone is it will probably launch in less time than six months.

That pretty much rules out the Google Pixel 8, as we’re fairly confident that the phone will land in or around October.

So we’re almost certainly looking at either the Google Pixel 7a or the Google Pixel Fold here. But which? The FCC listing doesn’t reveal much other than model numbers, specifically G0DZQ, GHL1X, and GWKK3. Going by the included text these all appear to be the same phone, with differences relating the connectivity – some offer mmWave 5G and others don’t.

That tells us that the phone offers 5G, and more specifically mmWave, which – where supported – can be faster than sub-6GHz 5G. But the Pixel 6a already offers 5G, and there’s an mmWave version for Verizon, so this doesn’t tell us much, since the Pixel Fold will almost certainly offer 5G too.

However, the one real clue we do have is serial numbers, which begin with ‘28291FQHN’ or ‘8251FQHN’. As 9to5Google notes, that’s very similar to a serial number of ‘2A281FQHN’ that was visible on a recent hands-on Pixel 7a leak.

So with that in mind it’s most likely the Google Pixel 7a that’s been listed on the FCC’s database, but we can’t rule out the possibility that it’s the Google Pixel Fold.

Google IO stage

The stage at Google I/O 2017 (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: when might this phone launch?

Whether this the Google Pixel 7a or the Pixel Fold, we can take a good guess at when this upcoming phone might land.

As noted, its presence on the FCC’s database means Google will probably want to get it out the doors in less than six months – so before September, but we can get more specific. The most likely timing is probably at this year’s Google I/O.

That’s the company’s annual developer conference, and sometimes products are announced there. Dates for this year’s event haven’t been announced yet, but it usually happens in May.

Not only would that be within the six-month window, but it would leave a long gap before the Pixel 8’s likely October launch, which is probably preferable for Google than having all its product launches clustered together.

Plus, as noted, we’ve seen a number of leaks pointing to early or mid-year launches for both the Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold, with some pointing specifically to May. So we might soon have one or even two new entries in our best Pixel phones guide.

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