Last year’s Pixel wasn’t the world-beating Google phone we hoped it would be. It’s a fine handset, especially with stock Android Nougat in the mix, but it sadly feels like a retread.
With its iPhone-esque design and lack of flagship features like a Quad HD screen or water resistance, the Pixel was merely good in a time of brilliant smartphones. But that could all change with the Pixel 2.
Or at least with the Pixel 2 XL. Actually, right now it’s all rumours and reports – but they paint a compelling story of Google going for a flashy new design with the Pixel 2 XL, and maybe sticking with what worked OK last time with the standard Pixel 2.
We’ll have to wait and see for sure, but if you’re curious what the speculation suggests, here’s a look at what we’ve seen and heard about from the Google Pixel 2.
WHEN WILL THE PIXEL 2 BE OUT?
Every flagship smartphone maker carves out a window for its big, annual announcement, and autumn is no exception. Samsung’s Galaxy Note is usually in August, Apple’s iPhone is in September, and Google’s new Pixel (original shown) should come in October.
That would follow the pattern from last year, plus the Nexus 6P and 5X were debuted at the end of September the year prior. Earlier this year, Google hardware head Rick Osterloh told Android Pit, “There is an annual rhythm in this industry. So you can count on us to follow it.” In other words, expect the Pixel 2 this autumn.
WHAT WILL THE PIXEL 2 LOOK LIKE?
Last year’s Pixel had a distinctive edge with the glass cutout on the back, but otherwise looked a bit too much like a dull iPhone knockoff. This time around, however, we might get a phone that’s closer in trend to Android’s current flagships.
Did you see that image above? It’s a leaked render from Android Police, who claim that it’s from a trusted source and should represent the near-final design of the Pixel XL 2.
As you can see, it seems to find the middle ground between the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, with a flat, extra-tall, 18:9 display and very minimal bezel. It’s reportedly a 6in AMOLED display – falling right between the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus in size – and will surely be a Quad HD screen again for the XL 2.
We still get a glass cutout on the back, but it’s shorter and the fingerprint sensor has been moved below it. It should still be within comfortable reach despite the taller phone design.
WHAT ABOUT THE REGULAR PIXEL 2?
Here’s where we might be set up for some disappointment. We don’t have a reported render for the Pixel 2, and we may not be able to assume that the Pixel 2 XL will just be a larger version of the basic model. Because the Pixel 2 might look a lot like last year’s device.
Really? Yes, really. In June, XDA Developers issued a report claiming that the Pixel 2 will be “almost identical” to the previous model, with another 5in, 1080p display. However, it may lack the headphone jack this time around, following Apple’s iPhone 7 lead, and pack in stereo speakers instead.
HOW MUCH POWER WILL THE PIXEL 2 PACK?
No matter which size Pixel 2 you pick, it sounds like Google is going for top-of-the-line specs in both. You’ll reportedly find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 within – the same used in the OnePlus 5 and some regional versions of the Galaxy S8.
And that’ll be flanked by 4GB in both versions. Android Police’s big leak had those details mentioned for the Pixel 2 XL, while the XDA Developers leak just before then mentioned the same specs for both models. Even if they end up varying in design and screen specs, at least you should get the same power from both.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PIXEL 2?
A couple things. According to the Android Police report, the Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured by LG this time around. Of course, HTC manufactured the original Pixel and Pixel XL for Google.
But that raises an interesting question: if the standard Pixel 2 is reportedly keeping the same design as the first 5in model, will LG also produce that one, or will we see HTC hold onto the smaller version? We just don’t know at this point.
Interesting detail, though: Android Police says they “believe” that the Pixel 2 XL will have squeezable sides for interacting with Google Assistant – just like the HTC U 11 and its Edge Sense feature. But if LG is making the larger phone, does that mean LG is using its own tech there? And then will the standard Pixel 2 have the same functionality?
Another report from XDA claims independent verification that the Pixel 2 XL will have the squeezable sides, which will be used to awaken Google Assistant whether the phone screen is on or off.
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