Google Pixel 9 — all the rumors so far

Pixel 9 leaked image
(Image credit: @OnLeaks)

It may seem like the Google Pixel 8 just got here, but top phone makers never stop thinking about their next flagship. In Google's case, that would be the Pixel 9, and it won't be long before that new model sweeps in and replace the current Pixel with new features and enhancements.

How can we be so sure? Because Pixel 9 information is already starting to leak out — a sure a sign as any that work is moving forward on the next smartphone release.

It's very early in the Pixel 9 development cycle, with many months ahead of us before we finally get to see the newest Google flagship in person. (To put the Pixel 9 launch timing in perspective, it's likely the Pixel 8a will arrive long before then, and we've only heard a few peeps about that midrange phone.) But there's no time like the present to stay on top of all the latest Pixel 9 news and rumors as they surface.

Here's what we know so far about Google's Pixel 9 plans ahead of the phone's likely launch in the fall of 2024.

Google Pixel 9 rumored release date and price

Google event 2023

(Image credit: Google)

It may be early days in the Google Pixel 9 rumor cycle, but we can make a pretty good guess as to when the flagship phone is going to arrive, and that's all thanks to Google's fairly predictable release history.

Since the release of the first Pixel in 2016, every model but one has been announced in October. The one exception — 2020's Pixel 5 — was announced on September 30 and released at the end of October. For that reason, it's not really going out on a limb to guess that the Pixel 9 is likely to appear in October 2024.

We're less certain about pricing. The Pixel 8 costs $699 and the Pixel 8 Pro has a starting price of $999. Both of those prices represent $100 hikes from what their predecessors cost. Google is hardly the only phone maker to raise prices recently — both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra saw $100 increases of their own. Our hope is that Google at least manages to keep current prices in place for the Pixel 9 launch if it can't find a way to roll back the Pixel 8 increases.

Expect to hear more concrete Pixel 9 pricing info as we get closer to the expected fall launch date for the phone.

Google Pixel 9: How many models

Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro shown side by side

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Normally, determining the number of Pixels coming out in the fall would be a pretty easy task based on Google's release record. With the exception of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5, Google has always released two models with different screen sizes. Currently, the larger of the two flagships is known as the Pixel Pro and it differs from the standard Pixel with a larger display, bigger battery and telephoto lens.

A December 2022 leak laid out an alleged roadmap for future Pixel phones that forecast three Pixel 9 models. According to this report, Google would offer two versions of the Pro so that there'd be a smaller screen option that also included a telephoto lens. Normally, we'd dismiss a rumor that surfaced more than a year ago — even if that's what Google was discussing at the time, a lot can change in a year — but the Pixel roadmap rumor did get a lot of details right about the Pixels that came out in 2023. So who knows?

For the moment, we'd assume that Google at least puts out a Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro like it usually has in recent years. If a third model is planned, rumors about it should surface soon enough.

Google Pixel 9 design and display rumors

Google Pixel 9 design and display rumors

Leaked Pixel 9 Pro renders via MySmartPrice

(Image credit: MySmartPrice/@OnLeaks)

The Pixel 8 features a 6.2-inch screen while the Pixel 8 Pro ups the display size to 6.7 inches. At least one source expects the Pixel 9 panels to grow in size.

Just after the Pixel 8 launch last fall, Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants forecast increases in screen size or the entire Pixel 9 lineup. Earlier entry-level Pixel models featured larger displays than the Pixel 8 so increasing the size of that particular model wouldn't be out of step with what Google's done in the past.

However, leaked renders of the Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 paint a different picture. Starting with the Pixel 9 Pro renders put together by @OnLeaks and published at MySmartPrice, we see a phone with a 6.5-inch display. Now this could be the new rumored Pro model with a smaller screen that some have tipped to join the lineup, or it could be that Google really does plan to go with a smaller panel. In either case, this seemingly contradicts reports of a larger screen in this fall's Pro model.

Similarly, Pixel 9 renders also from @OnLeaks show off a phone with a 6.1-inch screen — again that would be smaller than the Pixel 8. 

The renders reveal another potential design change for Google's phones. Rather than stretching across the length of the back panel as it has since its introduction with the Pixel 6, the horizontal camera bar now has rounded ends that stop short of going edge to edge. The renders also indicate a move to flatter sides for Google instead of the rounded edges favored by recent Pixels.

Google Pixel 9 camera rumors

Pixel 09 renders from OnLeaks and 91Mobiles

(Image credit: @OnLeaks / 91Mobiles)

The Pixel 9 renders from @OnLeaks first published at 91mobiles suggests another big change for Google's smartphone lineup. You can see a third camera lens in that shortened rear camera bar, which would seem to suggest a telephoto lens might join the main and ultrawide cameras on the Pixel 9.

Since the Pixel 6 release, telephoto cameras have been an exclusive feature for the Pro models. So expanding that capability to the standard Pixel 9 would be quite a big deal for Google. That said, it isn't out of the question for a lower-priced flagship to offer optical zoom capabilities. Both the OnePlus 12 and Galaxy S24 feature telephoto lenses in their rear camera array, and those two phones are only a little more expensive than the Pixel 8.

Rumors about actual Pixel 9 camera specs haven't yet materialized. Currently, the Pixel 8 uses a 50MP sensor for its main camera with a 12MP ultrawide lens completing the setup. That same 50MP sensor leads the Pixel 8 Pro's cameras, but it uses 48MP sensors for its ultrawide and telephoto lenses. Should the Pixel 9 adopt a telephoto lens of its own, you'd expect the Pro to likely have higher-resolution sensors as a way to distinguish itself from the standard model. But all that depends on what Google ultimately decides to do with its phones. 

Google Pixel 9 performance and software rumors

Tensor G3

(Image credit: Google)

Another easy prediction for the Pixel 9 lineup is that it will likely run on a new Tensor chipset — the Tensor G4 should Google stick with current naming conventions. Google bases its chips on Exynos silicon, though there's talk that the Tensor G5 chipset would be one that's completely designed by Google. That wouldn't appear until the Pixel 10 in 2025, though.

Current Tensor chips lag behind the performance of the silicon powering other top Android devices, a gap that only figures to widen now that Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon is starting to appear in phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12. While the point of Tensor isn't necessarily to deliver blazing speeds, we do hope the Tensor G4 brings some speed improvements particularly for graphics rendering.

The true advantage of Tensor lies in the AI-powered features it can offer, such as the call screening and photo editing capabilities built into current Pixels. Samsung's Galaxy AI features introduced as part of the Galaxy S24 launch match some of those capabilities while adding a few unique ones. Then again, a software update brought capabilities like Circle to Share to current Pixels. At any rate, we'd expect the Tensor G4 to get a neural engine update that fuels new features that we'll find out more about between now and the Pixel 9's launch.

The Pixel 9 is all but certain to debut with Android 15 running the show. In fact, it's likely that the Pixel 9 models will be the first to ship with the Android 15 update pre-installed. If Google sticks to its usual Android development schedule, we could see a build of Android 15 aimed at developers as soon as next month. A public beta would likely appear just ahead of the Google I/O conference in the spring with the full version coming out just ahead of the Pixel 9 launch.

Google Pixel 9 outlook

There's plenty of time ahead of the Pixel 9's likely launch for more details about the phone to emerge. And that's something we're eagerly waiting to hear about, as the release of the Galaxy S24 means that more AI-centric devices have joined the current Pixels. Given the other improvements to Samsung's flagships, you can imagine the pressure Google likely feels to step up its Pixel game this year.

Ultimately, we'd expect Google to once again make unique AI features a focus on the Pixel 9. But based on early rumors about the display, cameras and potential new models, we wouldn't be surprised to see the phone maker pull out all the stops to make the Pixel 9 stand out.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.