Google released its original Pixel handset in 2016 as a follow-up to the Nexus smartphone lineup. Now it's time for a 2017 version.
Pixel is Google's reference smartphone lineup, to show off Android's newest capabilities with timely updates and hardware to support it. The original Pixel and Pixel XL earned high marks in reviews. Now to fend off Galaxy S8, iPhone 8, and to show off Android O, Google's hardware division is ready for a second take.
In March, Google hardware boss Rick Osterloh confirmed a Pixel followup: "There is an annual rhythm in the industry. So, you can count on us to follow it," Osterloh reportedly told Android Pit at a closed meeting with reporters. "You can count on a successor this year, even if you don't hear a date from me now."
Google recently hinted it will unveil the Pixel 2 at an October 4 event in San Francisco.
Like the original lineup, Google is expected to release a Pixel manufactured by HTC and a Pixel XL manufactured by LG. According to Android Police, the Pixel 2 is codenamed "Walleye," while Pixel XL 2 referred to internally as "Taimen." They're suspected to be high-end and should feature powerful specifications.
The Pixel 2 is expected to feature a 4.97-inch 1080p display and the Pixel XL 2 a 5.99-inch 1440p LG OLED display. There was a third device in the rumor mill to be released alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, but it got cancelled, according to leaks.
Leaked photos of the Pixel 2 from Evan Blass at VentureBeat show an overall design similar to the first-generation Pixel. It looks like the Pixel's bezels are here to stay.
Other leaks have pointed to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, probably for better waterproofing if Google decides to include it on the production Pixel 2.
The Pixel 2 is rumored to have a 5-inch 1080p (16:9) display, and the Pixel XL 2 is said to pack a beefier 6-inch Quad HD (18:9) display provided by LG.
Anonymous sources speaking to XDA-Developers said the two-tone glass and metal finish on the rear panel of the original Pixel lineup is believed to make a return.
A recent FCC filing revealed what is believed to be details of the smaller Pixel successor. The Google Pixel 2 will borrow from the HTC U11 and feature squeezable sides to perform different phone functions. Screenshots in the filing showed the Pixel 2's squeezing functionality is called "Active Edge," and it launches Google Assistant by default. The feature will likely be found on the Pixel XL, too.
The Pixel 2 is expected to carry a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and at least 64GB of storage. The Pixel XL 2 is rumored to have a Snapdragon 835 or 836 processor, 4GB of RAM, and at least 128GB of storage. A fingerprint scanner is presumed to be found on the rear of both handsets.
A tweet from Evleaks said the Pixel 2 will mark the debut of the new Snapdragon 836 chipset.
Google won't focus on megapixel for the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, but instead, it will compensate with "extra features" according to 9to5Google. The handsets are also rumored to feature a 12.3 megapixel rear f/1.8 aperture cameras and a 7-8 megapixel front-facing camera.
Due to a confidentiality of device diagrams and descriptions, the FCC filing didn't confirm these rumors. Screenshots in the filing did show the device was running Android 8.0.1 and featured the navigation bar found on first-generation Pixel.
It's not clear in what countries or on what carriers the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will be available. The 2016 models are available on the Google Store, Verizon, Project Fi, and Best Buy.
Droid Life reported the Pixel 2 will be available in "Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White." It'll reportedly be sold with 64GB and 128GB of storage and priced at $649 and $749, with financing options available. Droid Life added the Pixel 2 XL will be available in a "Black & White" and "Just Black," with 64GB or 128GB of storage available. It'll be priced at $849 and $949, respectively.
Of course, things change in the rumor mill. It's worth taking rumors and leaks with a healthy dose of salt until Google steps on stage with the big reveal. We'll be tracking the latest.
Google Pixel not so great: There are plenty of better business
The best Android smartphone you can buy? Not when you have options like the Moto Z Force Droid, Galaxy S7, LG V20, and Huawei Mate 9. Matthew Miller reviews the Pixel's pros and cons.
Google Pixel XL Review: Nexus is dead, long live the Pixel
The Google Pixel isn't Google's first phone released by the company, but it is the first phone designed, built, and released by the company.