Tech sites and blogs have reported that on October 4th Google will announce the newest version of their “made by Google” phone, the Pixel 2, and more importantly the Pixel 2 XL. There have been sightings of billboards, and press invites received. Google posted a video (below) to its Youtube channel confirming the October 4th date, and setup a landing page. Google’s video doesn’t say a lot, but much like the billboard, and landing page, it encourages you to “Ask More”. The news, which comes on the heels of Apple’s big announcement about the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, is generating quite the bit of excitement.
I’m not quite sure what to expect from the second generation of Pixel. I actually found the first version a bit lackluster aesthetically. It almost looked, well, out of date. Feature wise it was mostly on par with other flagship offerings, but nothing show stopping. It was the first phone to ship with Android Nougat, which is a great selling point. Pixel 1 also had a really good Snapdragon 835 processor, which made for a smooth user experience. Pixel 1 was the first to have Google Assistant as a built-in feature. The first generation Pixels were solid phones, but not revolutionary.
Taking a look at some of the rumors and leaks here’s what I expect to see in the Pixel 2. The flagship smartphone will certainly be shipping with the latest Android Oreo operating system. The Pixel 2 XL looks like it will be substantially larger, with less bezel, meaning more screen real estate. It is rumored to have a 5.99” OLED screen. Leaked renderings shows it will have a dark aluminum back, with a dark glass top portion. Not a major change from the first generation pixels, but slightly more aesthetically pleasing. Between the screen and the redesigned back, it is looking like the second generation XL will have a more modern look. The Pixel 2, unlike the XL may keep the large bezels, sadly.
Google Assistant will be an integral part of both Pixel 2 and XL, likely having a dedicated method of access. It is expected that there will be some improvements under the hood, snappier processor, more ram, longer battery, etc. Though I haven’t read it anywhere, I also expect at least a moderate camera improvement. The renders of the camera module in the XL vary slightly. Android leaker @onleaks notes a protruding camera, possibly for OIS. The render from also well-regarded Android site Android Police seems to show the camera flush. The two leak sites have both shown high accuracy in the past, so it anyone’s guess who is right. One possible, potentially unpopular, decision that is being speculated on is the removal of the headphone jack on both the 2 and the 2 XL,
Pricing has not been announced, but I would expect the price tag will be a bit higher than last year’s models, especially for the XL. I also have not heard about whether there will be a carrier exclusivity deal like there was with the Pixel 1. Hopefully there won’t be, not everyone loves Verizon, especially heavy data users. If it is an exclusive I expect the phone will still be available unlocked from Google. Like everyone else I will be waiting to see what comes from the announcement on October 4th. Needless to say competition is fierce, and Google will have to come out with something amazing. Based on the rumors Pixel 2 looks solid, but, with the S8, Note 8, and iPhone X out there it will be a tough sell for sure.