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Google Pixel 2 price, release date, specs and rumors

Update: Taimen surfaced on Geekbench with 4 GB RAM

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 what we've learned from Taimen's appearance on Geekbench.

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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.

A third Google Pixel device: 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 'muskie' and 'walleye'.

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.

Google Pixel 2: tech specs and build

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.

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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.

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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  • Dan 3 weeks 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.

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

  • BMJ 1 month 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
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      2 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!

      • 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 2 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 2 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
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      2 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.

    • Georg Seebode
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      2 months ago Link to comment

      whats wrong with searching for uniqueness? Better an expensive unique phone than an expensive generic one right?

      • I don't consider this as unique phone, come on man! they just put the google name in it then it became Unique?! Amazing right there!

  • I expect:
    1. Dual camera setup (depth sensor)
    2. Front firing stereo speakers
    3. Reduced bezel
    4. Improved Google Assistant.
    5. Dolby support
    6. VR mode
    7. Stylus in XL series.
    8. Front flash.
    9. Photo with front and back camera together.
    10. Water resistant

    • Number 2 and 3 (and 8) automatically cancel each other (one over the other sounds logical). Very unlikely Dolby support will be present. The same for number 7.

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