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June 5, 2018

Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 3

by John_A

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The shine may not have worn off the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL yet, but you can bet that Google is working hard on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Details are scarce, but rumors are starting to circulate. Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 so far.

Three Pixel 3s?

Rumors persist that Google may be considering more than two models in the Pixel 3 range. The latest report to add fuel to that fire is a tweet from Roland Quandt, who claims that “Google is working on a ‘mobile’ device based on the Snapdragon 710 currently scheduled for launch in the 1st half of 2019.” This, the self-purported “master of cheap scoops” says, could be one of the upcoming midrange Pixels. No further specifics are known about this device at this time, though Quandt claims that hardware development began about a month ago.

Off to Taiwan for @computex_taipei today, but here's a tidbit for ya: Google is working on a "mobile" device based on the Snapdragon 710 currently scheduled for launch in the 1st half of 2019. Sounds like this might be the (or one of them) upcoming mid-range Pixel phone.

— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) June 2, 2018

Previous rumors point at Google creating a low-end, entry-level Pixel device running the low-spec Android OS Android Go. While it may seem odd to change the expensive Pixel branding to include a much lower spec (and likely much cheaper) model code-named the “Desire. This makes a lot of sense with Google’s current drive to access the developing phone markets, which usually thrive on low-cost low-power phones.

The first leaks for the Pixel 3 were code names, and there were three of them: “Crosshatch,” “Albacore,” and “Blueline,” If accurate, all it means is that Google is considering three Pixel models, and like last year it’s entirely possible that only two will end up being launched. According to the Droid-Life report, two of the phones are considered “premium,” while one of them is “high-end.” We don’t yet know what that means.

Design

While we don’t expect Google to veer too far from what makes the Pixel range great, we do expect to see some design changes with the Pixel 3.

The latest rumor, coming from mobile leaker @OnLeaks states that both upcoming Pixel 3 models will feature a larger display than their predecessors. According to the leak the Pixel 3 will feature a 5.3-inch display while the Pixel 3 XL will ship with a monstrous 6.2-inch display.

As for the Pixel 3 XL, it looks like we may be in for some huge design changes. Bloomberg states the Pixel 3 XL will sport a bezel-less display with a top notch and dual front-facing camera. This seems to be in line with images of purported glass screen protectors for the devices first found on Slashleaks.

Credit | SlashLeaks

How much stock should we place in these rumors? It’s hard to tell, to be honest. Accessory makers experiment with a variety of styles before the launch of a new major phone, and the reveal of one of these prototypes isn’t exactly definitive proof of anything — except how the wind is blowing in regard to rumors. However, the Bloomberg report leads us to believe there may be something to the rumors.

These rumors also seem to resemble two illustrations found in the Android P beta settings.  The illustration shows a handset that is all display with no bezels, a huge departure from earlier Pixel models.

While it may seem a little far-fetched that Google would place an illustration of the upcoming Pixel 3 XL in Android P, it’s certainly not unthinkable. Last year, the tech giant showed off an illustration of the yet-to-be-released Pixel 2 in its Data Transfer Tool. Granted, these placeholder illustrations are certainly ambitious in terms of hardware capability: With the exception of patent renders, we’ve yet to see a phone where the camera is embedded within the display.

Earlier, it looked like the ever popular top notch was all but confirmed. Android P will bring support for notched screens, and while we may still be undecided on the current trend for notches, the most recent digging into the Android P beta suggests that Google may be preparing for a physical notch at the top of the display. As featured on Forbes, Android P can display a maximum of four notification icons at the top of the screen, with anything past that four being represented by three dots. It seems reasonable to assume that gap represents a placeholder for a physical notch. After all, the Pixel range usually runs a slightly tweaked version of Android, and if this is shipping in the beta then it must be for a reason.

Gordon Kelly | Forbes

Name

While we’ve seen nothing to doubt that the next generation of the Pixel will be called the Pixel 3, it’s always nice to have confirmation. That seems to have come via a section of the Android source code for Project Treble. A section of that code specifically mentions “Pixel 3,” and while that could just be a working title ahead of a bigger name change, we’ve seen no evidence of that. We’re likely going to see a range of Pixel 3 devices when it eventually releases.

Who is building the Google Pixel 3?

In addition to a radical redesign for at least one upcoming Pixel, it looks like Google may be working with a new manufacturing partner on the upcoming phones. According to Bloomberg, it looks like Google may be partnering with Foxconn to manufacture the upcoming flagships. If that name sounds familiar, it may be because it’s the same company that manufactures iPhones.

Earlier it seemed all but certain that HTC was once again in the running, along with current Blackberry producer TCL, and Coolpad, according to Chinese publication Commercial Times, by way of DigiTimes. Google’s existing contract with HTC will expire after the release of the Pixel 2, the report says, opening up an opportunity for other hardware companies.

Previously, it was thought that LG was in the race for the Pixel 3, though Commercial Times does not elaborate as to why. Now, it looks more like LG isn’t involved. The company refuted claims that it was building the Pixel 3 in a statement to Android Authority.

“We have reached out to LG for further comment, and Ken Hong, the company’s global communications director, has firmly denied the report,” the company said in a statement.

Since September, HTC has reportedly shipped more than 2.1 million Pixel devices, but Google may be looking to ramp up output to 5 million in time for the Pixel 3.

Remember, too, that HTC may not have been Google’s first choice to build the Pixel, but rather Huawei, according to the accounts of multiple executives from the Chinese tech firm last fall. Keeping this in mind along with the supply-side constraints, it’s possible Google is more confident in LG’s manufacturing capabilities, given that the companies have worked together on multiple Nexus phones in the past.

Still, we would assume that HTC will be involved in some way given Google’s $1.1 billion acquisition of much of HTC’s smartphone division.

Updated on June 4: added display size rumor.

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