The Google Pixel is the best phone for Android purists, but it's starting to look dated next to more powerful and sexier phones like the Galaxy S8 and Apple's just-unveiled iPhone X. The upcoming Google Pixel 2, however, could give Samsung, LG and Apple a run for their flagship money.
We're just a few hours away from finding out. Google has scheduled a press event for October 4. And all signs indicate that new smartphones designed by Google will take center stage.
As we get closer to that launch date, we're starting to hear more details about what Google has planned for the Pixel's sequel. Here's a rundown of what to expect from the Pixel 2.
Google Pixel 2 Rumors at a Glance (Updated Oct. 2)
- The Pixel 2 will debut on October 4.
- Google will most likely introduce two new phones
- No headphone jack
- The Pixel 2 will start at $649 for a 64GB model, while the Pixel 2 XL will feature a Note 8-sized starting price of $849
- 6-inch screen for Pixel 2 XL and 5 inches for Pixel 2 (according to XDA Developers)
- The Pixel 2 XL's screen is likely to be curved, while the Pixel 2 will have a flat diplay
- The phones will ship the newly released Android Oreo
- LG reportedly will build the Pixel 2 XL, while HTC is tackling the Pixel 2 (and Google just bought that HTC team in a $1.1 billion deal)
- An image of the Pixel XL successor has leaked
- There's a leaked image of the smaller Pixel 2 also
- The new Pixel could have squeezable sides, called Active Edge
- IP67 waterproof design
- Snapdragon 835 processor
- Google could be planning a host of new color options with playful names
Pixel 2 Rumored Specs (So Far)
|Model||Pixel 2||Pixel 2 XL|
|Screen Size||5 inches||6 inches|
|CPU||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|Camera||Single-lens rear camera with improved low-light capabilities||Single-lens rear camera with improved low-light capabilities|
|OS||Android Oreo||Android Oreo|
|Colors||Black, White, Blue||Black, Black & White|
Two Models, Not Three?
A report from German site WinFuture picked up by Slashgear claimed that Google was working on three Google Pixel phones for 2017 with codenames of Walleye, Muskie and Taimen. Those are names of fish: Walleye was believed to be the smallest of the bunch, and Muskie was thought to be the replacement for the Google Pixel XL. Because the Taimen is a larger fish, it could possibly be a Pixel 2 XXL.
Since that news broke, however, Android Police followed up with a report that Muskie, the rumored successor to the Pixel XL, had been cancelled. Instead, Google is going to focus on Taimen, which will have a bigger screen than the current Pixel XL; Walleye, the Pixel's successor, is still on track, too. According to 9to5Google, a bug report indicates that LG is making the Taimen phone on Google's behalf.
That was followed by a report from XDA Developers, which cited a person who has "spent time" with the Pixel 2. That person said that Google is indeed planning two smartphones with the codenames Taimen and Walleye.
If you want to dream a little bit, a YouTube video posted by Arun Maini claims there's a third model after all — an Ultra Pixel that will feature dual-lens cameras, gesture controls and a fingerprint sensor. We're skeptical about this happening, as the bulk of Pixel rumors point to just the two models, but we're mentioning the Ultra Pixel possibility here just to note that the rumor is out there.
Based on a June report from XDA Developers, the larger of the two new Pixel 2 phones (Taimen) will sport a 6-inch OLED display (5.99 inches to be exact) with 1440p resolution. The smaller Walleye device will reportedly feature a 4.97-inch screen, essentially the same size as the 5-inch Pixel that's currently available. Interestingly, the site claims that only the larger Pixel 2 will have narrower bezels, which seems odd, though it could be that Google is looking to differentiate its two phones.
A report on the final specs for the new Pixels at Android Authority says that smaller Pixel 2's screen will be full HD with a flat design. The Pixel 2 XL's screen will be curved, according to that report, and it will feature Quad HD resolution. If accurate, that's another way Google could differentiate between its two smartphones.
What Will the Pixel Look Like
Our earliest look at Google's Pixel plans came from Android Police, which posted an image purportedly of the Pixel XL successor. The image matches many of the rumors outlined above, specifically the expansive 6-inch display.
As for the smaller Pixel, a leaked image suggests a less radical change from the current lineup. The leak, from VentureBeat's Evan Blass, shows a phone that retains the current Pixel's top and bottom bezels. That's in line with the theory that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will have more differences than the original Pixel lineup offered between its two versions.
DroidLife has since published photos of the upcoming Pixel phones and there's not much difference from the leaked renders we've seen earlier. A photo of the Pixel XL 2 shows a single rear camera, fingerprint reader, and black-and-white color scheme.
A few days before the Pixel 2's launch, Blass published new photos of the phone, and they look a lot like what we've seen so far.
Google put out a teaser video that all but confirms it will unveil the Pixel 2 on October 4. Billboards with the "Ask more of your phone" slogan have popped up that also tease that October 4 date. As it so happens, Google has sent around invites for a press event in San Francisco on that day, so count on seeing a new Pixel then.
Expect to hear about more than just a Pixel. DroidLife's report says that Google will also unveil new versions of its Daydream VR headset and Google Home speaker. A Pixelbook Chromebook is apparently in the works, too.
An earlier report from 9to5Google said that Google will offer a lower-cost Pixel 2 aimed at the masses. But Rick Osterloh, vice president of hardware at Google, seemed to refute that in an interview at Mobile World Congress this spring when he noted that the company has no plans to make it less expensive, stating that "the Pixel stays premium."
DroidLife's report on Google's Pixel Plans seems to reinforce the idea that Google isn't lowering the price on either model. Reportedly, the Pixel 2 will start at $649 for a 64GB version, with a 128GB model available for $749. The Pixel 2 XL will also offer two models — an $849 64GB version and a $949 128GB version.
Google may have also tipped its hand about Pixel pricing earlier in September, when it announced that an Android One version of Motorola's X4 would be offered through Project Fi. The Moto X4 costs $399 and likely represents the lower-cost option for Google's wireless service, which has been limited to Pixel and Nexus phones up until now.
In Slashgear's report, the next wave of Google Pixel phones are expected to include Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 platform. That's the same mobile processing platform that powers the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, OnePlus 5 and HTC U11, and we've already seen how fast the 835 can be. The 835 chip is also quite efficient, so you should expect the Pixel 2 phones to last longer on a charge than their predecessors. The Pixel XL remains on our list of the longest-lasting phones.
Still, with the iPhone 8 and its A11 Fusion processor blowing away Snapdragon 835-powered phones in benchmark testing, it will be interesting to see if Google finds a way to get more out of its smartphone.
Some reports suggest the Pixel 2 could feature a Snapdragon 836 processor in one or both of the new models. The Snapdragon 836 would be a modest update to the 835, largely featuring a boost in clock speed. However, a Sept. 5 report from XDA quashes that rumor, so expect a Snapdragon 835 for now.
XDA Developers says that the back of the Pixel 2 will be similar to last year's model with a two-tone glass and metal finish. We were not a fan of that look. However, apparently the glass window is located near the top of the device and will no longer include the fingerprint scanner.
According to a new report from Android Headlines, Google is once again taking a colorful approach to its Pixel 2 design. The report says Google is planning to use unconventional colors in the handset. What's more, it'll give the smartphone funny names, like it did last year when it took jabs at the iPhone's color branding. The Android Headlines source didn't reveal what colors Google might opt for, and also hasn't said when the company might finalize its color options with the smartphone.
The Pixel 2 will "definitely" come with waterproofing technology, 9to5Google's Stephen Hall said in a tweet on Jan. 25. He said that he was told about the feature back in October, but "forgot about" it.
Hall added that the source, who wasn't identified in the report, told him that Google decided against offering waterproofing in the first model because of a "time constraint." He went on to say that Google was having trouble getting the hardware waterproof in time and for the right price.
Another report from 9to5Google suggests that the Pixel 2 will ditch the headphone jack, which is backed up by XDA Developers. On August 3, Hall tweeted that he "got another tip that Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will both ditch the headphone jack. In case you needed further confirmation." Renders of the Pixel 2 in cases from Olixar published to the online retailer Mobile Fun also suggest they've ripped the jack out.
In its report on the leaked Pixel XL2 image, Android Police said the new phone will have squeezable sides for controlling the Google Assistant. A subsequent report from XDA Developers also pointed to a squeezable Pixel 2, which noted that the feature will work whether the phone is on or off. You'll also be able to adjust how your squeezes activate the assistant, and the feature will be called Active Edge, according to a 9to5Google report.
As described, the Active Edge feature sounds similar to one HTC introduced in the HTC U11 this year.
Android Authority's spec report lists the Pixel 2 with a 2,700 mAh battery, which is a hair smaller than the 2,770 mAh battery in the original Pixel. The Pixel 2 XL is expected to have a 3,520 mAh battery, which is larger than the 3,450 mAh battery in the Pixel XL.
Not much is known about the cameras on the Pixel 2 phones, but XDA Developers reports that it will be a single lens instead of two. That means you shouldn't expect features like a true optical zoom or Portrait mode that blurs out the background, which the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X offer. The OnePlus 5 and Note 8 also feature a dual camera setup on the back.
In its spec report, Android Authority said the phones will feature Pixel cameras, with optical image stabilization and a Google imaging chip.
Droid Life has the scoop on colors for the new Pixels. You'll be able to get the Pixel 2 XL in Just Black or Black & White, with that latter option giving the phone a penguin-like color scheme. The Pixel 2 offers three options: Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue.
The Google Pixel line is Google's answer to Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S devices, offering big screens, ample power, and high-end cameras.
Looking ahead, the Google Pixel 2 will face off with powerful competitors, including the iPhone X, which features an all-new all-glass design, OLED display and facial recognition. (The iPhone 8 Plus, out now, is no slouch, either.) Samsung just released its 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8, while the LG V30 is coming later this year.
We'll find out just how the new Pixels measure up to these phones this Wednesday, when Google unveils its latest smartphones.