Google may have a 5G surprise ready for its October Pixel 4 event

Google is reportedly testing out a 5G version of the forthcoming Pixel 4 smartphone, which could be announced alongside the 4G Pixel 4 family on October 15. The news comes from a story published by the Nikkei Asian Review, which quotes anonymous sources saying Google’s factory partners in China have started a test production run of a Pixel 4 5G phone.

The story follows another hint about a 5G Pixel phone from mid-September, when a phone listed as the Google Pixel 4 XL 5G showed up on a benchmarking website. Benchmarking tests are easily faked, and should rarely be taken as direct evidence of a new device’s existence; but coupled with the new rumor report, it does make the story more compelling.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Google is working on a 5G Pixel phone though. After all, 5G is already available in a few select locations around the world, and will only grow in size and appeal throughout the coming years. What is more surprising is the indication Google may announce the 5G model during the Pixel 4 launch event on October 15, should it be deemed ready for full production.

The lineup of 5G-capable phones is small at the moment, due to the extra expense and niche audience appeal of the burgeoning network. The report says if the phone is not announced with the 4G Pixel 4 phones, it may instead debut during Google I/O 2020, which will take place in May. This seems the more likely scenario, and gives the industry time to make 5G more appealing to more people, yet will still see Google beat Apple when it comes to launching a 5G smartphone. Apple is not expected to release a 5G iPhone until late next year at the earliest.

If the phone is not ready for release now, it may still be teased before Google I/O, which may make the October 15 event more exciting since the number of leaks — both official and unofficial — suggest there isn’t much left unknown about the Pixel 4. Digital Trends will be at the event to cover the news and new devices in detail.

The next generation of mobile broadband, 5G will eventually replace or at least augment your 4G LTE connection. With 5G, you’ll see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease.

It has been nearly a decade in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. Carriers started rolling out fixed 5G to select cities in 2018, and mobile 5G has already started making appearances in cities around the U.S. this year, with much more comprehensive rollouts expected in 2020.