The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still aren’t particularly old, but you can bet your britches that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are warming up in the wings, ready to enter the stage. Some details are still scarce, but rumors are starting to circulate. Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 so far.
While we don’t expect Google to veer too far from what makes the Pixel great, we do expect to see some design changes with the Pixel 3.
We’ve reached the point in the Pixel 3’s life cycle where the design leaks are coming in thick and fast, and painting a fairly consistent picture of what’s likely to be the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The latest leaks aren’t leaks at all — rather, they’re renders from MySmartPrice based on information from @OnLeaks.
These renders line up with most of the rumors we’ve been hearing lately, with slimmed-down bezels on the Pixel 3 and a notch design on the Pixel 3 XL. According to MySmartPrice’s breakdown, the Pixel 3’s slimmed bezels will mean the phone has an 18:9 aspect ratio — while the notch on the Pixel 3 XL will likely mean an extended 19:9 aspect ratio on that particular model.
Interestingly, the renders include dual front-facing cameras on the Pixel 3 as well as the Pixel 3 XL, and the return of front-facing stereo speakers on both — though the Pixel 3 XL’s top speaker is a lot squatter than previous iterations. There’s a USB-C port at the bottom of the phone, but there’s no sign of the headphone jack returning to its rightful place.
We saw a similar design in an older leak from the XDA Forums, which claimed to show both sides of the Pixel 3 XL. The leak showed a dual-sensor camera on the front on the front of the Pixel 3 XL, along with a notch and a small chin. It also claims the phone will sport an all-glass back, with polished glass at the top and brushed glass underneath.
So, if the Pixel 3 features a glass body, does that mean we should expect to see wireless charging on the upcoming phones? Well, if a post from XDA developers is correct, it looks like we should expect to see wireless charging make its return with the Pixel 3. According to the post, it looks like code in the current beta of Android P strongly suggests wireless charging capabilities. This, of course, could change before the launch of the Pixel 3. However, we’d be surprised to see wireless charging missing from the upcoming flagships.
A previous rumor 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. Bloomberg stated 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, as well as new leaks we saw from XDA Forums.
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.
Rumors about notches in the Pixel 3 range have been around for a good while now. Android P brings support for notched screens, and while we may still be undecided on the current trend for notches, digging into the Android P beta suggested that Google may have been 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.
Little is still known about the specs of the Google Pixel 3 series of phones, but a design leak from XDA Forums appears to also show a few of the phone’s specs. It seems there will be a model with 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, which is certainly possible. It’s also likely that there will be a model with less storage, and perhaps a model with 6GB of RAM too.
Apart from that, we expect the phone to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest mobile chip.
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.
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 27: Added the renders from MySmartPrice.