For Android fans there's little that's as exciting as the launch of a new Pixel with pure, unadulterated Android software. And leaks are hotting up for the 2018 Pixel models with a range of rumours already feeding the fire of speculation.
Here's everything rumoured so far about the new Google Pixel devices, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Keen-eyed developers pinpointed an April 2018 mention of "Pixel 3" within the Android source code, Evan Blass added his own take on the new phones and Google too quoted Pixel 3 on its YouTube influencer marketing platform, so we're pretty sure the launch name will be Pixel 3.
We're also pretty sure that the Pixel 3 XL will have a notched design due to the sheer number of leaks around this.
Google Pixel 3 release date
- 4 October launch rumoured
Google's Pixel phones traditionally arrive in the latter half of the year, normally around October. In the past this was synced with a new version of Android - in this case it's Android P - although with Oreo the software appeared a few weeks before the new phones.
There has been a report to suggest we might see a mid-range Pixel appear this summer, but the two premium devices are destined for October - as Evan Blass says, in a "fall" hardware event from Google.
A leak from Famebit, Google's own YouTube influencer marketing platform, said: "The Pixel 3 phone is launching October 4th 2018."
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were announced on 4 October 2017 too, with pre-orders starting immediately afterwards. They began to hit shelves on 17 October so we would expect a similar timeframe for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Design
- Notch design likely
- Water resistance probable
HTC was responsible for the Pixel and Pixel 2, while LG designed the larger Pixel XL devices in the past. Subsequently, Google acquired a lot of HTC's smartphone talent, suggesting more will be done in house. The $1.1 billion deal concluded in January 2018 which means Google now has the team to design its own Pixel smartphones.
However, a report from Bloomberg suggests that Google it going to be looking to Foxconn for the actual manufacture. Foxconn also manufactures the iPhone, so it perhaps shouldn't come as a surprise.
There's no suggestion of the dimensions of this new phone yet, but we've seen a couple of credible leaks showing what the design might be, the first of which comes in the form of a few images shared to XDA forums. A couple of follow-up leaks showing more of the phone, including a white version - all in the gallery above - also appeared so we have a good idea of what the Pixel 3 XL might look like from all sides.
Additionally, there have been hands on pictures and a video leak from Russian source Канал Лучкова, republished by Android Police, supporting the design shown off in the XDA forum images. It presents what it claims is the Pixel 3 XL in all its glory.
Based on these leaks, it appears Google is sticking to a similar design as the Pixel 2, with that rear divided in textures, made up of a top section that's glossy and a bottom that's matte. It's been reported that the Pixel 3's rear will be all glass however, rather than being metal as it was on the Pixel 2 XL.
That weird logo on the rear of the XDA forum images - yes, it's appeared on Google prototypes before. Note that the leaked device there appears to be the Pixel 3 XL too and we've less information on the smaller Pixel 3.
Leaked display components corroborate with the leaked front design too though, suggesting a shift to a notched design for the Pixel 3 XL: if the display stays the same size on the diagonal, the handset would be smaller than the old model. But there's still some chin to the phones, as it looks like dual front speakers are going to stay in place.
Leaker Steve H, otherwise known as @OnLeaks, has also dumped a bunch of renders of the new handsets which show the notch well and truly in place on the Pixel 3 XL.
In his renders, the Pixel 3 still has rather large bezels top and bottom, but much slimmer ones at the sides compared to its predecessor. There's also a rumour to suggest it will arrive with the squeezable sides we first saw on the HTC U11. It could happen.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Display
- OLED displays likely
- Pixel 3 XL should have 18:9 aspect ratio
- 2960 x 1440 resolution for Pixel 3 XL?
One of the first details to emerge about the Pixel 3 display comes from a reliable source. Shared via Twitter, Ben Geskin compared the new Pixel 3 with the Pixel 3 XL, showing off a notched display.
Geskin has a good track record with leaks, but it's also backed up with other leaks (below), presumably from somewhere in the hardware supply chain.
There's currently no indication of the size of these displays, but it looks as though the Pixel 3 is shifting from 16:9 to 18:9 (or 18.5:9). According to these leaks, both devices will have a similar display aspect (18:9 or 18:9.5 perhaps), but with the Pixel 3 XL getting a notch. This will allow it to have a greater screen to body ratio, meaning that the handset size doesn't swell too much.
Pixel 3、Pixel 3XL pic.twitter.com/00RDUbYX5p— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) May 28, 2018
We already know that Android will be accommodating notched displays in Android P. In terms of sizes we're just guessing, but we'd say something like 5.5-inches for the Pixel 3 and 6.1-inches for the Pixel 3 XL. Based on the hands on pictures and video leak, it looks like the Pixel 3 XL will offer a Quad HD+ resolution at 2960 x 1440 and the leak claims the pixel density is 494ppi, though this would put the screen size at around 6.6-inches so we aren't convinced that's legit.
There has also been a suggestion that those two openings on the front mean dual front cameras, although we'd treat this with caution: there are a lot of other sensors that would need an opening on the front, so we're not certain what it might reveal.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Hardware
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 likely
- Increase in RAM and storage possible
- No headphone jack
The Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL all featured the latest respective Qualcomm platform at the time of their launch so we'd expect Google to put the Snapdragon 845 platform within the new Pixel 3.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both feature 4GB of RAM and they both come in 64GB and 128GB storage options, neither of which offer microSD support for storage expansion. With many of 2018's flagship smartphones offering 6GB or even 8GB of RAM and internal storage options up to 256GB, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer at least an increase in RAM, though the hands on picture and video leak would suggest not.
This leak shows a picture of what it claims is the Pixel 3 XL's screen showing a Qualcomm processor, coupled with Adreno 630 graphics and 4GB RAM. There is no mention of battery capacity or storage though.
If Google's 2017 devices are anything to go by, the smaller new Pixel will likely have a slightly smaller battery capacity compared to the larger new Pixel. The Pixel 2 has a 2700mAh cell, while the Pixel 2 XL has a 3520mAh battery so we'd expect at least similar for the 2018 handsets.
The 3.5mm headphone jack was ditched for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL so we don't expect to see it make a comeback for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with USB Type-C being the go-to port for all charging and audio needs. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have dual front firing speakers and we suspect the new models will too, based on leaked display parts.
There's also been the suggestion that it will once again support squeeze.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Cameras
- Single camera system probable
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL offer excellent camera performance, but you miss out on some of the novelty features offered by the dual camera systems on other devices, such as optical zoom. Google may stick to its guns with its single camera offering on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, like Sony did with the latest Xperia XZ2, especially since it is able to offer a Portrait Mode depth effect without a second camera.
So far there's little to suggest any changes and the leaked Pixel 3 XL appears to have a single camera on the rear. However, it might be that Google has been looking at dual camera options and considering the possibilities, according to a tip shared by Stephen Hall of 9to5Google on Twitter.
Tip we received that I wouldn't tweet unless I thought it had a smidgen of credibility: There are apparently Pixel 3 prototypes with dual rear cameras as well, although it seems (based on leak and @markgurman report) that single rear is the direction Google chose.— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) June 7, 2018
Usually reliable Twitter tipster Ice Universe has posted an image, supposedly of the Pixel 3 XL from the front and back. However it is in a case and only the rear of the case is shown in the image. It does, however, have a cut out just for a single lens camera with flash.
What we can also see from the image shared by Ice Universe is that there may very well be two cameras on the front within the notch.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Software
- Android P on board
One thing we can be certain of when it comes to the next Pixel devices, whether that be one, two or three of them, they will run on pure, vanilla Android. No bloatware, no unnecessary extras, just Android, with Pixel extras.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL run on Android Oreo, but the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will launch on Android P - if you have an older Pixel (or one of a select bunch of other Android devices) you can get Android P right now.
We can certainly expect to see Google Assistant on board the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL too, likely further improved. There's more about upcoming Google Assistant features in Android P features, release date and news.
Liked this? Check out our guide to the best Android handsets.