Google may be taking a cue out of Apple’s playbook with the release of the Google Pixel 8 — by scrapping the physical SIM tray. That means if you’re picking up Google’s upcoming flagship, there’s a good chance you’ll have to ditch your physical SIM card in favor of an eSIM.
Mishaal Rahman spotted this key detail in some renders of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Those renders came from long-time render-smith Steve H McFly, better known as 'OnLeaks'. OnLeaks' renders typically claim to have been designed using leaked phone schematics, giving them a sense of legitimacy in the process.
Take this with a grain of salt, but...the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro might be eSIM only, at least in some regions.Nobody seems to have noticed that the renders that @OnLeaks published are missing SIM card slots on the left side. The renders he previously published of the Pixel 6,… pic.twitter.com/jlsyqTD8tCAugust 20, 2023
Rahman spotted that OnLeaks' previous Pixel renders all feature the SIM tray, but the current batch does not. To make matters more interesting, OnLeaks released these renders in partnership with SmartPrix — who list a SIM tray on both phones' specs sheets. Though OnLeaks claims that “anything his partners claim that isn't announced himself in his tweet isn't information that comes from him."
It is also worth mentioning that pre-release renders aren’t always true to life, no matter where the information was sourced from. The leaker said as much to Rahman, saying that schematics don’t always include every single detail — and he doesn’t fill in any gaps in case they’re wrong.
Similarly, a case leak from back in April does include a slot for the SIM tray. That would suggest that the phones will offer a physical SIM card — but it’s also no guarantee.
But the iPhone 14 could offer an adequate explanation for this discrepancy. Because the phone was only an eSIM-only device in the United States. International iPhone 14s do include a SIM tray, meaning someone in Europe can still use a physical SIM card. If Google is planning on scrapping physical SIMs, there’s a reasonable chance it’ll follow Apple’s lead and start this strategy in the States.
There’s no way of knowing at this stage, and we likely won’t get any closure until either launch day or the leak of official marketing images. This is Google we’re talking about, so the odds of the leak happening before the announcement event are pretty high. But, either way, we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out.
In the meantime you can check out our Google Pixel 8 hub for all the latest news and rumors relating to the upcoming phone.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.