Google Pixel 2: Everything we know so far (Updated: August 28)


In this post, which will be updated regularly, we take a closer look at the latest rumors surrounding Google’s upcoming Pixel 2 series.

The original Pixel and Pixel XL are both great devices and are the first handsets designed inside and out by Google. Manufactured by HTC, the two high-end smartphones feature terrific cameras, great build quality, and stock Android software that’s extremely popular among a lot of users.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are definitely not perfect, having been criticized for their generic design, high price tag, and lack of proper water resistance, among others. These are just a few of the issues that we hope Google will address with the upcoming Pixel generation.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at all the rumors we have heard so far regarding Google’s flagship smartphones. We’ll talk about the Google Pixel 2 release date, design, specs, and price, to give you a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming Pixel series.

Just keep in mind that these are just rumors for now, so do take them with a grain of salt. Google hasn’t confirmed – or denied – any of them and probably won’t share any specific details before the official reveal.

Google Pixel 2: How many devices will we see?

It was initially rumored that Google would, just like last year, take the wraps off two Pixel devices. The smaller of the two is codenamed Walleye, while the XL variant goes under the Muskie moniker. We then heard reports that the company is also working on a third device, dubbed Taimen, which is expected to be even larger than the Pixel XL.

However, it looks like Google has changed its mind and will in fact only release two smartphones this year. According to a report by Android Police, the tech giant has decided to cancel the Muskie device. This means that only Walleye and Taimen will be announced, with the former being the successor to the Pixel, while the latter will be a larger version of the Pixel XL.

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But who will be responsible for manufacturing the upcoming Pixel generation? The first rumors claimed that Google has teamed up with HTC, which made the Pixel and Pixel XL last year. New rumors have popped up online since suggesting that the online search giant will actually be joining forces with LG, at least for the larger of the two devices. This means that the most likely scenario at this point is that the Pixel 2 will be made by HTC, while its larger brother will be manufactured by LG.

Google Pixel 2: Release date

Google normally unveils its new devices in the fall. The Pixel and Pixel XL, for example, were announced back in October 2016. According to the latest rumors, things will be more or less the same this year.

Evan Blass took to Twitter to announce that the two Pixel smartphones will be revealed on October 5 and should come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 836 chipset, which we’ll talk more about in the specs section below.

Of course, the reveal date hasn’t been confirmed by Google yet, so nothing is official at this point. However, those of you familiar with Blass know that he is usually right about these things. But even if he is wrong, we still expect to see the two devices make their debut sometime in October.

Just like last year, they will likely go up for pre-order right after their announcement, with sales officially kicking off a few weeks later.

Google Pixel 2: Specs

Just like their predecessors, Walleye (Pixel 2) and Taimen (Pixel XL 2) will offer high-end specs. The latest rumors suggest that the smaller of the two devices is expected to sport a 4.97-inch display with Full HD resolution and 4 GB of RAM. According to a recent FCC listing, it will run Android 8.0.1 Oreo and come with an “Active Edge” feature, which should presumably work the same way as HTC U11’s Edge Sense. This means you’ll be able to perform various tasks such as opening a certain app just by squeezing the sides of the smartphone.

What’s interesting is that the listing reveals the device will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset and not the Snapdragon 836 as Evan Blass claims. The chipset hasn’t been announced yet and is rumored to make its debut along with the two Pixel handsets. If Blass is right, the use of the chip would put the new Pixels ahead of the competition, although by a small measure. It’s expected that Qualcomm’s new chip will only deliver marginal performance improvements and other minor optimizations over its predecessor.

One more thing worth pointing out about the FCC listing is that it was actually filed by HTC, which kind of confirms rumors that the company is making the smaller of the two upcoming Pixel devices for Google.

Other rumors claim that the Pixel 2 might feature two front-facing stereo speakers, although it will come at the expense of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. This means you’ll have to plug in your headphones with the help of an adapter that will likely come included in the box.

They also suggest that Google will not be following in the footsteps of LG, Huawei, OnePlus, and others in the camera department. This means that the Pixel 2 won’t have a dual-camera setup on the back. Other than that, the rumor mill has been pretty dry on this topic. Nevertheless, we do expect that the Pixel 2 will be equipped with a great camera, just like its predecessor. When reviewed, the main shooter on last year’s Pixel received the highest DxOMark rating at the time with a score of 89. Although it was later bumped down to second place, as the HTC U11 took the number one spot with a score of 90.

The Pixel XL 2 is also rumored to be water and dust resistant. It is expected to be either IP67 or IP68 rated, meaning it will survive being submerged in 1 to 1.5 meters of water for a period of 30 minutes. As a refresher, the current Pixel generation is only IP53 rated, which basically means it won’t die on you if it’s sprayed with water here and there, but definitely isn’t suitable for anything more than that.

The smartphone will be similar to its smaller brother in a lot of ways. It will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 or 836 chipset, have 4 GB of RAM, sport the same camera, and ship with Android Oreo on board. Rumors claim that it will have 128 GB of storage, but we’ll probably see at least one more additional storage option.

The biggest difference between the two Pixel devices will obviously be the screen size. The Pixel XL 2 is expected to sport a 6-inch QHD AMOLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio, pushing the device into the phablet territory. For comparison, the display found on its predecessor measures 5.5-inches.

According to XDA-Developers, the Pixel XL 2 (and presumably the regular Pixel 2 as well) might come with an Always On Ambient Display mode. Just like the Pixel 2,  the device is also rumored to sport a squeezable frame like the HTC U11, which will allow you to launch Assistant — even when the screen is off. Google apparently has “plans on adding extra functionality” though it’s unclear whether that’ll be available from the get-go or added later on.

Google Pixel 2: Design

The design of the Pixel and Pixel XL wasn’t really received that well among consumers. There’s no denying that Google has played it safe, as the devices look quite generic, despite that little glass window on the back.

If you’re not a fan of the design, we have some bad news. The Google Pixel 2 will likely look quite similar to its predecessor, with a few minor differences. This means you can expect to see a metal body, somewhat large bezels with the two front-facing speakers already mentioned in the Pixel 2 specs section above, and the glass panel on the back. However, the glass will no longer surround the fingerprint reader, which will nevertheless still be located on the back of the device. All of this is revealed by an image that was recently obtained by VentureBeat, which you can check out below.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat’s leak is further corroborated by a couple of leaked images of the Pixel 2 obtained by GSMArena (attached below). As you can see in the images, the back of the Pixel 2 looks almost identical to the back of the Pixel XL 2, though the device sports a much more “normal” looking front side with thick top and bottom bezels.

 

Additionally, the alleged design of the Pixel 2, as well as the Pixel XL 2, was also revealed in a 360-degree video released by OnLeaks and Gear India, which leaves little to the imagination. It shows both smartphones from all angles, revealing that they won’t feature a headphone jack, as already mentioned in the Specs section above. This is a surprising move by Google based on the fact that it took a jab at Apple’s removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack last year in its Pixel commercial.

As you can see from the video, the Pixel XL 2 should be a bit different than its smaller brother in terms of design. The back of the device is expected to look identical to that of the Pixel 2, but the front will be quite different. The smartphone should feature small bezels around the screen, just like the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6. This makes a lot of sense, as the device is expected to feature a 6-inch screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. By opting for a so-called bezel-less design, the Pixel XL 2 will be a lot more compact when compared to other devices with the same screen size and will be a lot easier to use as well as carry around.

The render posted online by Android Police also tells us the same story when it comes to the design of the Pixel XL 2: a metal and glass body and a large screen with minimal bezels surrounding it. Check it out below.

Google Pixel 2: Price

Last year’s Google Pixel series was far from affordable. The Pixel launched at $649 (32 GB) and $749 (128 GB), while the XL variant retailed for $769 (32 GB) and $869 (128 GB).

Although we all hope that the upcoming smartphones will be more affordable, this likely won’t happen. Word on the street is that the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will carry a premium price tag and will either cost the same or even more than their predecessors.

At this price point, Google will have a hard time competing on the market. It is believed that the tech giant sold one million units of the Pixel series so far, which might sound like a big number but actually isn’t really that impressive. Samsung, for example, sold five million Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus units after just 26 days of availability. And that’s despite having their initial release limited to a few key markets like South Korea and North America. Huawei is planning to sell a total of 10 million P10 and P10 Plus smartphones, while the LG G6 is also expected to outsell the Pixel generation by a wide margin.

In order to increase sales, the best thing for Google would be to lower prices, as that would make its upcoming smartphones a lot more competitive on the market. As already mentioned, that likely won’t happen, which means you’ll have to dig deep into your pocket in order to get the Pixel 2 or Pixel XL 2.


These are all the rumors we have come across so far regarding the Google Pixel 2 release date, specs, price, and features. We’ll update this page as soon as we hear more.

Meanwhile, do let us know your thoughts on Google’s upcoming smartphones. Do you think they will be able to compete with other flagships on the market like the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, and the Huawei P10? Let us know by posting a comment down below.



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