Google is set to announce Pixel and Pixel XL, its pure Android-based smartphones on October 4. Yes, the smartphones won’t be called Nexus this time and Google is adopting the Pixel branding used earlier with its Chromebook and Android tablet. With Pixel branding, Google is also emphasising on the future of ‘Made By Google’ devices.
The new Google smartphones will be made by HTC but don’t be surprised if there is no or little mention of HTC. Rumours have pointed out the search giant is more serious about its say in the design of future devices, which maybe built by Google directly. Google’s Pixel branded phones won’t be the first Android 7.0 Nougat devices, but will be the first to support Google’s DayDream VR platform.
Launch Date: Google is announcing its own Android devices, dubbed Pixel and Pixel XL on October 4 at an event in San Francisco. Google has already confirmed the event and has been putting billboards and huge advertisements ahead of the big event. This move is in stark contrast to Nexus launches before, and Google could be setting its sights on iPhone’s hardware play. Apple’s latest iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are not a convincing upgrade anymore and with Samsung struggling with Galaxy Note 7, Google has a genuine chance to become a power player in the Android hardware space.
Cost: Google is also reported to announce its Pixel branded smartphone at a slightly higher pricing. Last year, Google had announced its flagship Nexus 6P at a starting price of $499 and this time, the price could be significantly higher. Considering the Pixel branding in the past, it is likely that Google’s phones will bear a higher price tag.
Back in 2013, Google had announced Chromebook Pixel at a price of $1,299 and then a LTE-enabled version for $1,499. Google then announced Pixel C tablet at its event in September last year. The tablet running Marshmallow was priced at $500 for the 32GB version. The device failed to impress reviewers especially considering the similar pricing of Apple’s iPad Air. Both devices were expected to challenge Apple’s premium products when they were launched, which didn’t really happen.
Google could again announce a costly smartphone – which is expected to cost as much as Apple’s iPhone 7.
Design: Google’s Pixel smartphones are expected to come with an all new design language this time. The smartphones are not likely to follow the design cues of Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X. The reports also indicate HTC won’t be using the design of its flagship HTC 10 smartphone.
According to leaked renders, Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones will get dual tone design and feature metal and glass. The back of the devices is reported to feature a combination of metal and glass, which could become a first among smartphones. There is also fingerprint scanner on the rear like Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. The front of the device is likely to be similar to HTC One A9.
Features: Google Pixel and Pixel XL were earlier codenamed Sailfish and Marlin respectively. Google Pixel XL will be the flagship smartphone, while Pixel will be a mid-range offering. Google Pixel XL is reported to feature a 5.5-inch display while Pixel will boast of a 5-inch display. Both the smartphones are reportedly powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 821 processor.
The Pixel XL is reported to feature a Quad HD display while the Pixel will have to do away with a Full HD display. Like iPhone 7, Google’s phones will be available in 32GB and 128GB storage options but no 256GB option yet, though 4GB RAM is reported to be standard this time.
As far as cameras are concerned, Google Pixel and Pixel XL will mostly feature HTC 10’s excellent 12MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and phase detection autofocus. The smartphone could also get 5MP front camera with OIS. Both devices could feature large batteries along with support for Daydream.
Software: The Pixel branded smartphones won’t be the first to run Android 7.0 Nougat, but rather feature Android 7.1 Nougat. The update is reported to bring restart button and introduce ‘Pixel launcher’. Google’s Pixel launcher shrinks Google search bar into a G button like the one seen on Gboard keyboard on iOS. The app drawer will slide out from the bottom and replace the home button.
The Pixel launcher will also allow users have five default apps on the basic app tray. Google could definitely introduce new software features at the event but expect Pixel launcher to be the top software bet this time.