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Google Pixel 2 price, release date, specs and rumors

Update: New render reveals design of Pixel XL 2

The Google Pixel 2 is on its way, following the success of the original Google Pixel and Pixel XL, despite a few small quirks. Recently, we had a chance to talk to the head of hardware at Google about what to expect with the next Pixel smartphone. Read on for our overview and assessment of all the Pixel 2 news and rumors so far, including a render which reveals the design of the Pixel XL 2.

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Google Pixel 2: release date and price

During MWC 2017, we had a chance to talk with Rick Osterloh, head of hardware at Google. As the Pixel and Pixel XL are his babies, we decided to ask him about their successor: the Pixel 2. He told us two concrete details about the upcoming device: it will indeed arrive this year, and it will stay a premium device. That means the Pixel wasn't just a one-off experiment, and there won't be a cheap variant of their expensive flagship.

If Google plans on sticking to an annual release cycle as Osterloh suggested, it’s probable that we would see the Pixel 2 arrive in October 2017. Google will continue to charge high-end prices, as Apple does with the iPhone. The future model would therefore likely surpass the price of the Pixel and Pixel XL, which came out starting at $649 and $769 respectively.

You might recall that HTC was contracted to build the original Pixel and Pixel XL devices, which were code named S1 and M1. According to a report from Japan, it seems that HTC might be at it again. The system files of the new HTC flagship, the HTC U11, hint at two new devices: the S2 and M2. So, it seems possible that HTC could be building the Pixel and Pixel XL 2. Even if the Pixel XL 2 has been scrapped in favor of an LG-manufactured Taimen, as has been rumored, this remnant of information in the system files of the HTC U11 still seems plausible.

Codename Taimen

Google has a history of code-naming its devices after various sea-dwelling creatures: last year's Pixel phones were 'sailfish' and 'marlin', the Nexus 6P was 'angler' and the Nexus 5X was 'bullhead'. Keeping with tradition, it seems Google may be doing the same for the Pixel 2 series and it looks like these names could be 'walleye' and 'muskie', though muskie's future is contested now.

Don't sit back just yet though, because it seems there may be a third Pixel device too, code-named 'Taimen', which, of course, is also an aquatic animal. The relative sizes of these three fishes might be lending us an insight into the size or specs of the future Pixel devices: a taimen is bigger than a muskie and a walleye and is also in a different family. Does this suggest that the taimen phone will be bigger than the muskie or walleye? Might it be a tablet rather than a phone? Maybe it won't be branded as a Pixel?

In any case, the device codenamed Taimen has just surfaced on Geekbench. Someone with a prototype has tested it with the benchmark, meaning the results and their insights into the device's specs are now out for all the world to see. Instead of being able to confirm the chipset via the motherboard info reported in the system information, it simply says "taimen". We can also see that it has an octa-core Qualcomm processor - very likely the Snapdragon 835. The Google Taimen device is also shown to be packing 4 GB of RAM. While that's standard right now, some users will undoubtedly be a bit disappointed that a more future-proof 6 GB wasn't provided. Of course, Taimen was running Android O at the time of the test.

It seems LG might be manufacturing Taimen, as a Googler may have inadvertently revealed in the Android Issue Tracker, according to 9to5Google. A bug report from March by an LG employee, for a USB PD compliance failure, was replied to with a request to close the entry and re-open it under "Android > Partner > External > LGE > Taimen > power", which seems to suggest LG is building the device. There is also a report that Google is shelving 'muskie' in favor of the larger Taimen.

Google Pixel 2: tech specs and build

Google Pixel XL 2 design revealed in a render

A render shared by Android Police shows the Google Pixel XL 2017 in all its glory. While the image is dark, you can see that the Pixel will again have a single rear camera. The same source which gave Android Police the render says that the new Pixels will be squeezable like the HTC U11, and that LG will be building the Pixel XL and giving it a 6-inch AMOLED 2:1 format display.

androidpit google pixel xl 2017 android police
The rumored Pixel XL 2. / © Android Police

Google Pixel 2 concept render video

DBS Designing has posted a sleek concept render video on YouTube, showing the next generation of Pixel with a dual rear camera and significantly less bezel. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Opinion by Brittany McGhee
This concept video reflects a modern update the Pixel design desperately needs
What do you think?
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157 participants

"Always On" Ambient Display?

Android supports ambient display features on any phone with the required hardware, an OLED display. While Motorola and other manufacturers have offered this "always on" feature in some of their phones since as far back as 2013, owners of the Pixel and Nexus phones haven't been so lucky.

According to a report from XDA Developers, that's about to change. When decompiling the SystemUIGoogle.apk file in the Android O Developer Preview 3 on a Google Pixel, evidence of "always on" was found. References to "doze" were also found in the code. Doze, one of Google engineers' internal terms in this case, refers to an ambient display rather than Android's Doze mode for saving battery. The code shows that this is an experimental feature which can be toggled on and off for testing purposes.

While the feature isn't accessible yet in DP 3, this at least shows that Google is testing it for possible implementation on Pixel devices. Users of the original Pixel devices, and presumably the Pixel 2, won't have to pick up their phone or wake their screen to get notifications anymore, and that's great news.

Flexible display?

Google is reportedly investing the equivalent of $880 million into LG Display. Some are saying that they are investing this funds is so that LG Display can provide a stable supply of flexible OLED screens for the next Pixel devices.

No headphone jack?

As yet still an uncorroborated rumor, 9to5Google claims to have seen an internal Google document suggesting that the 3.5 mm headphone will not feature on the new Google Pixel 2 device to be released later this year. This would be a compelling change of heart from Google as it had made quite a song and dance about including a headphone jack on the first Pixel phone when Apple decided to leave it out of their latest flagship, the iPhone 7.

Opinion by Brittany McGhee
I prefer to have a standard headphone jack
What do you think?
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Will it be waterproof?

After we saw the first renderings of the Pixel 2 in the Indian Express, we now have higher hopes about the smartphone’s build. 9to5Google reporter Stephen Hall supposedly found out at last year’s Pixel event that the Pixel 2 will be waterproof.

This would allow Google to rectify a past blunder. The Pixel didn’t quite stand up to the iPhone 7, which is waterproof just like the Galaxy S7. Both of these latter devices are important competitors and set the bar pretty high in regards to what high-end smartphones should offer. The Pixel, the first generation of its kind, found itself therefore floundering behind its flagship competitors.

Tough choices: build quality vs camera quality

Hall also continues on to say that Google had to make a choice with the first device, whether they would prioritize the build or camera of the smartphone. Seeing as a both would have likely caused a price hike, this means that Google made a choice, which quickly became apparent: the camera.

If Google plans on improving the build quality, we could be in store for some elegant enhancements over the past contender. Water resistance is now the mark of a premium device: Sony removed this feature from many of its Xperia devices, reserving it solely for its most expensive models, the X Performance and Xperia XZ. The new LG G6 is IP68 certified, meaning Google will definitely have to add it to the Pixel 2 to keep up with its high-end competition. 

Since this post from Stephen Hall came out, Google it seems rushed to clarify things, seeing as this positive affirmation of a waterproof smartphone may not actually be the case, and that it is a definite "if". Google also explained that, like last year's model, the Mountain View company would also place an emphasis on the camera, specifically improving low light photography. The source also said the camera would "not have large MP size", but will "compensate in extra features". 

Processing power

Code that has just been added to the Android Open Source Project has revealed that the three Pixel devices scheduled for release in 2017 will come with Snapdragon 835. This is the same SoC used in the Samsung Galaxy S8, and since Qualcomm hasn't announced a next iteration of the processor it's no big surprise that Google will opt for the latest and greatest for their new flagships.

Taimen and Walleye specs leaked to XDA Developers

A source who spent time with at least one of the new Pixel devi

ces has shared information about their specs with XDA Developers. Taimen, the larger of the two devices, will have a 5.99-inch 1440p OLED display from LG and a smaller bezel than the original Pixel XL. There will be at least a 128 GB model, and the Pixel XL 2 will come with a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB of RAM. The design of the back will resemble the original, with two-tone glass and metal, though the glass window at the top will not hold the fingerprint scanner this time. There won't be a dual camera, according to this report.

The smaller of the two, Walleye, will have a 4.97-inch FHD display. It will have an almost identical design to its predecessor, bezels included, but it will ditch the headphone jack in favor of stereo speakers. The device will also feature a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB of RAM, with a 64 GB storage option.

Google Pixel 2: software

There is a lot of speculation to be made when it comes to software, as we don't know anything concrete yet. It would be reasonable to expect a more improved Google Assistant, and it will likely feature Android O.

Our assessment

For the Pixel 2, Google is keeping its focus on the higher end of the smartphone market. That means previous rumors about a cheaper variant of the Pixel 2 being released won't be proved true. While that will be a disappointment to those hoping for a more accessible Pixel, the good news is that the Pixel 2 should be better able to keep up with its premium flagship competition this time around. By staying premium, we expect that Google will make fewer compromises with the Pixel 2 in terms of build quality, meaning it will likely get water resistance while still offering a powerful camera and processor. That, however, remains to be seen until its arrival later this year.

What do you think we’ll get out of the next Pixel? Will Google make major improvements over the old one? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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  • I'm sure I'm in the minority, but please give me a dogshit camera and put all the money into build quality/display :)

  • I remember the excitement when Google Pixel was going to launch, It was costly and plus it was android. People were speculating that this phone will bloom anywhere. But it got huge success. It was a nice product by Google. Eagerly waiting for next launch of Google Pixel.

  • The Google Nexus 6p was available worldwide. The Google Pixel was never available for sale in the Netherlands. What good is the Google Pixel 2 if you can't buy it?

  • I don't give a crap about camera, I'd like them to spend all the money on everything else. Looks like I'm in the minority though!

  • Dan 2 months ago Link to comment

    A user replacable battery, an SD Card slot, very fast and low light capable camera, and water resistant. Also a pen like the Note phones.

  • marty lk 2 months ago Link to comment

    If it's still made by HTC, I'll continue to avoid it like the plague.

  • BMJ 2 months ago Link to comment

    Hurra, and maybee it will be sold outside US/Canada/UK.....
    And maybee not be sold out all the time
    Hoping to see something from Google in Norway ..:-)
    Now its impossible to buy anything but Chromecast in Norway.
    You have to import it..

  • BIG BIG BIG PIXEL XXL this time so I don't need to carry around a phone and a tablet! Thanks

  • I'm expecting a new nexus 7

  • If Google really want to make an impression and get phones into people's pockets drop the price.
    If people pay apple/Samsung prices they will expect apple/Samsung quality which the pixel isn't.

    • Georg Seebode
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      I think google still struggles with making phones accessible for consumers. If you look back, the nexus series was never intended to be a mass consumer phone -> it was always labeled as a developer phone. Google (or the hardware suppliers) never did any PR campaigns or aggressive commercials to push sales even though they could have. The pixel was googles first step into making a commercial phone, hence them running massive ads on TV and the internet. From a personal perspective I find the device massively overpriced - but the same thing can be said about the iPhone. I think google is trying to differentiate itself from the flood of android devices by creating the illusion of an "ultra-premium" device, the easiest way to do this is to jack up the price. If it works for apple......

      • Accessibility is the name of the game! Google & HTC have failed in that department. The pixal XL was back ordered from day one out of the box! Improving in this area would be 1st and foremost. If not how do you expect great sales! Just saying!

      • Jay Viper 2 months ago Link to comment

        Apple can back up their phone though with excellent offline and online after sales customer service and seamless updates (I still read Google having problems with OTA updates after all these years)

    • How is it not? Build quality I disagree with, but if you mean stuff like waterproofing and 3D touch then... yeah.

    • I think the worst part of th pixals is back ordering. To me that defeats the whole purpose of a new release. I ordered the XL back in December & Google told me I had to wait 60 days. So I cancelled the order and purchased the blue corral edge! No regrets & happy with my purchase!

    • Yes drop the price and stop with the backordering! Will they ever include an s/d slot and trim down the bezels!

  • ljhaye 4 months ago Link to comment

    This is viable as Google has an interest in developing its own hearable to compete with both Apple's Airpod solution and their proprietary W1 chip. Siri being the default on the Airpod can easily be the google assistant in a google equivalent product. The only pain point is that all the android OEM's and Google are always too eager to emulate Apple out of fear that Apple's solution's are the right ones even if those solution are illogical.

  • storm 4 months ago Link to comment

    A phone needs multiple jacks. I'm fine with USB C , just give me more than one of them. I want to charge and play audio without intermediary splitters, docks or other silliness.

    • Georg Seebode
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      this was/is my biggest issue with the new iPhone 7. Super frustrating that unless you are using a bluetooth headset or a charging dock, its virtually impossible to listen to music and charge your phone at the same time

  • Not interested. Just an overpriced phone desperately searching for uniqueness.

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