Sep 30th, 2017

It’s crazy to think that almost a year has passed since the first Pixel and Pixel XL were announced at an event in California. However, we’re just a couple of weeks away, and it’s a good time to reflect on the past year while taking a look at the various rumors for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Today, we’re going to take a look at all of the different rumors, renders, leaks and more that have been shared regarding Google’s next flagship. So without further adieu, here’s everything we are expecting to see from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, along with some history.

Google reaches out for Pixel 2

The original Pixel was launched in October of 2016, but Google was wasting no time on beginning work on the Pixel 2 lineup. This is where the company reached out to everyone looking for feedback on the design of the current Pixel, so that things could be improved upon for the next iteration. Some of the more popular suggestions included removing the large bezels, including waterproofing, and improve the bottom-firing speaker.

Then, SVP of Hardware at Google, Rick Osterloh, confirmed what many of us already knew – Google was sticking with a premium design for the Pixel 2 lineup. This meant that not only would we continue to see a premium design, but that the Pixel 2 would also be priced competitively with other flagship devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy line and Apple’s iPhone.

What about a budget version?

Despite Osterloh claiming that Google was moving out of the budget market, a new rumor cropped up which suggested that Google was, indeed, working on a budget version of the Pixel 2. This budget option would be a bit different, as it would be joining the Android One lineup which has recently entered the US via the Moto X4.

This left many of us hoping for some type of revelation to bring some lower-priced options, or even bringing back the now-defunct Nexus lineup of devices. But it seems that those rumors have largely died down, especially with the Moto X4 coming to Project Fi.

Don’t get rid of my headphone jack!

The largest sticking point with users today other than battery life is the fact that various OEM’s are removing the beloved 3.5mm headphone jack. Some make a good argument for it, while others (like Motorola) leave us wondering the real reason behind getting rid of it. But at the same time of the rumors surrounding the budget Pixel 2 coming to fruition, rumors began swirling around the headphone jack on the Pixel 2.

This move would upset/anger many potential owners, and Google even took shots at Apple by intentionally marketing the 3.5mm headphone jack as one of the “features” of the Pixel and Pixel XL. However, internal documents viewed by 9to5Google seemingly confirmed the lack of a headphone jack on the next generation. Those looking to hold onto a traditional method of listening to content were trying to chalk this up to just being an “early rumor.”

7 Things the Pixel 2 needs to be the best phone ever

The Plot Thickens

While many of us were wondering about a possible return of the Nexus line and losing our beloved headphone jack, some folks found mention of the Pixel 2 lineup thanks to device codenames in the Android Open Source Project code. The devices, named ‘Walleye’ and ‘Muskie’ had been spotted in the code, but then were mysteriously removed, likely due to the fact that these were the actual codenames for the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2.

Google begins to ramp things up a bit

Shortly after ‘Walleye’ and ‘Muskie’ were removed from the AOSP code, another “leak” cropped up thanks to benchmark results from Geekbench. These results left us scratching our heads a bit though as the results were from the “Google Taimen” which had not been mentioned for some time despite some rumors that the “Pixel Taimen” would be a larger version of the Pixel XL 2, possibly even a throwback to a device the size of the Nexus 6.

Regardless, the results shared that the Taimen Pixel 2 was powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, along with 4GB of RAM, and running an early build of Android O. The results left a sour taste in our mouth as the OnePlus 5 results had been leaked, and the Pixel Taimen fell well short of the single-core and multi-core scores compared to OnePlus’ latest device.

What is happening?

After we began wondering just what Google was doing with its lineup for the Pixel 2, new reports began surfacing which suggested that Google would actually be getting rid of the 5.5-inch Pixel XL 2 in favor of the much larger Pixel 2 ‘Taimen’. Reasons for this move were unknown at the time, only leaving us to really wonder what Google was working on as we jumped into the Summer.

Then, some interesting pieces of information were found in the system files for the HTC U11 as two new unknown devices were mentioned. This practically confirmed that at least one of the new Pixel 2 devices would be made by HTC as the system files used the same naming system as the original Pixel lineup. But from there, rumors began arising around the possibility of LG providing one of the Pixel 2 devices.

The leaks begin springing

As things started to get interesting for the Pixel 2 lineup, the folks over at XDA Developers dropped the first bombshell, as it some of the specs were leaked, and a design change was in the works. As for the specs, the sources confirmed that both devices would feature the same spec sheet, similar to what Google did with the original Pixel lineup, with the only differences coming in the display size.

Those specs included the Snapdragon 835 SoC, while being coupled with 64GB of storage, along with the omission of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Another major difference would be that the larger Taimen device would feature a base storage amount of 128GB. The standard PIxel 2 would feature a 4.97-inch display with a Full HD resolution, while the Pixel 2 ‘Taimen’ was said to feature a 5.99-inch OLED display, with LG being tapped to provide the new display.

This leak also confirmed that Google wasn’t ready to jump into the dual-camera setup that has been made available on many 2017 flagships. Instead, the Pixel 2 lineup would only feature a single camera sensor coupled with a dual-LED flash.

Here’s our first glimpse

In traditional Android Police fashion, we were treated to a glimpse at what the Pixel 2 XL would be looking like with its all-new design. The image shows off a new bezel-less design which is a big move away from the chins that “graced” the Pixel and Pixel XL. As for the rear, the image showed a smaller glass window, which only encompasses the camera sensor and flash, while leaving the fingerprint scanner set in the center below the window.

The image also revealed the aluminum unibody build, which was not all that surprising. However, with this design change, it was practically confirmed that we would be getting a display with an aspect ratio of 2:1, moving Google out of the old days, and bringing the Pixel 2 XL in line with the best 2017 flagships.

Just squeeze the sides

When the HTC U11 was launched, one of the key features was a “squeezable frame” which allowed you to interact with different applications in a new manner. Rumors began surfacing which claimed that the Pixel 2 XL would include these some of these features, including the possibility for you to access Google Assistant just by squeezing your phone.

Then another rumor surfaced which suggested that the squeezable frame could be used with just about any supported application, provided that the software was compatible. What made this interesting was the fact that the squeezable frame idea was likely licensed by HTC, but LG was slated to be manufacturing the larger of the newest Pixels.

Stereo speakers coming to the Pixel 2?

Regardless of how much HTC is struggling, one part of the market that owners of devices love is the dual-stereo speakers which were made famous by HTC’s “BoomSound” technology. After a new series of CAD renders surfaced, these showed the Pixel 2 to feature a dual-stereo speaker setup, which would make content playback much more enjoyable.

These new renders also seemingly confirmed the dimensions of each device, with the Pixel 2 coming in at 145.3 x 69.3 x 7.8 mm (8.2 mm with the camera bump). The Pixel 2 XL would come in 157.6 x 76.3 x 7.9 mm (8.6 mm with camera bump), giving us a pretty idea of the true size difference between the standard Pixel 2 and the redesigned Pixel 2 XL. 

Another first look at the Pixel 2

Once those CAD renders hit the stratosphere, the images started to roll in, with Venture Beat’s Evan Blass jumping in on the fun. A new image was shared of the smaller Pixel 2, which confirmed a design very similar to the original Pixel, save for the camera placement and rear-window orientation. In these images, it was revealed that the big bezels would return on the smaller Pixel 2, but HTC and Google would be including dual front-firing speakers, while removing the 3.5mm headphone jack.

In these images, it was revealed that the big bezels would return on the smaller Pixel 2, but HTC and Google would be including dual front-firing speakers, which would be great for media consumption. Another image of the rear showed that the glass window had shrunk, only encasing the camera sensor and LED flash, while the fingerprint scanner would be placed just outside of the glass in the center. Additionally, the now-iconic “G” logo would make its return on the rear of the device.

More squeezes

Fast forward to the middle of August and an FCC filing cropped up confirming the existence of a squeezable frame on the HTC-made Pixel 2. Instead of relying on gestures to launch apps like some OEM’s, the frame will allow users to open or interact with applications of your choice.

The filing shared some screenshots, which includes “Active Edge on, squeeze for your Assistant” within the Language input & gestures settings panel. This confirmed the naming moniker that Google will be using, while also confirming that it will be used at the very least to activate Google Assistant. Unfortunately, there was no mention of whether the larger Pixel XL 2 would come with a similar feature.

Google begins teasing

If you remember late last year, Qualcomm surprised everyone and released an updated version of its processor with the Snapdragon 821. This incremental upgrade was said to offer enough performance to warrant an out-of-cycle launch, and the OnePlus 3T was the first device to grace the new chipset.

When Google launched its Pixel and Pixel XL, the company included this new processor versus using the Snapdragon 820. With the Pixel 2 lineup, there were rumors that Qualcomm was gearing up to launch a similar processor to the SD821, however, this would be an update to the Snapdragon 835 which has been featured in many of the 2017 flagship devices.

Unfortunately, it seems that Qualcomm doesn’t have any surprises in the works, meaning that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will feature the Snapdragon 835. This may make the phone dated once the 2018 flagships start to roll out in early 2018, but potential owners should have no worries about whether your stock Android experience will be affected by the SD835.

Spec leaks galore

Shortly after the reports confirmed that the Pixel 2 lineup would be powered by the Snapdragon 835, new images appeared courtesy of 9to5Google which showed off the Pixel 2. The first image showed a blurred lock screen, but confirmed the existence of an always-on-display, along with the fat bezels that are expected to “grace” the smaller Pixel 2.

The same image also gave us a look at the rear of one of the Pixel 2 devices, showing off the camera placement and fingerprint scanner, along with a previously unseen color. The second picture shows a camera sensor which is placed to the right of the LED flash and sensors included to improve performance.

Not only did 9to5Google share some images, but they also shared some specs for the device, confirming more of what we already knew. First and foremost, it seems that Google will be ditching the 32GB model of its upcoming devices, opting for only 64GB or 128GB options, which is a welcome addition.

It was also confirmed that the Pixel 2 lineup will come with IP68 dust and water resistance, which is an upgrade from the IP53 rating found on the 2016 Pixel lineup. Finally, it seems that the device’s will ship with Android 8.1 Oreo which will include Google Lens which was announced and shown off at Google I/O, but has not seen much daylight since then.

Only on Verizon

When this was rumored, there was a collective groan from Android enthusiasts. It seems all-but-certain that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will both be Verizon-exclusives once they are announced. The same rang true for the original Pixel lineup, leaving non-Verizon subscribers looking to Google to pick up a GSM-unlocked option.

On the bright side, Google will be offering the Pixel 2 through Project Fi so that you can get some financing in tow, versus paying the obscene $850 price tag. But, Verizon will be the only option for those looking to go through a traditional carrier for the latest and greatest from Google.

We have a date!

Over the last few weeks, we have been seeing more rumors suggesting a launch date of October 4th or 5th for Google’s Pixel 2 event. But then new billboards appeared out of thin air from Google with a slogan of “Ask more of your phone.” and a date of October 4th.

Shortly thereafter, Google let everyone know what was going on, while releasing a teaser video for its October 4th event. Now that the event is set, everything is just about ready to go, and we are just days away from seeing what Google has been working on.

READ MORE: 6 Problems the Pixel 2 promises to solve

One last hurrah

The last week or so have been rather exciting for those gearing up for the October 4th event, as we have seen a slew of leaks regarding what Google would be announcing. A rather larger leak gave us pricing for both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, while also showing off the different color options which line up with previous leaks that we have seen.

As for pricing, it seems that the Pixel 2 will start at $649 for the 64GB model, while being made available in these colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White. The Pixel 2 XL will start at $849 for the 64GB option, while the 128GB model will be priced as high as $949, which puts the device in the same conversation as the Galaxy Note 8 and upcoming iPhone X.

As for colors, we’ll have a Black & White model which will have an orange power button, and an all-black variant named “Just Black”. These images showed us something that we had not seen yet, as the camera sensor placement is a bit different for the Pixel 2 XL compared to its smaller brother. With the larger device, the camera sensor will be placed closer to the edge of the device, while the LED flash will be closer to the center of the device.

A few days after this leak, the folks over at Android Authority were able to obtain some final spec sheets for each device. These specs confirmed that both the Pixel 2 and larger 2 XL will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, along with either 64GB or 128GB of storage and dual stereo speakers. Additionally, the Pixel 2 XL will come with a QHD display with a screen-to-body ratio of between 80-85%.

The odd thing here is the mention of the dual-camera setup that was rumored, which doesn’t match up with any of the rumors or leaks that we have seen. It’s very unlikely that either Pixel 2 option would come equipped with dual-cameras, especially after seeing the devices press images leaked.

Our final thoughts

As expected, there have been a lot of rumors and leaks regarding what Google has been working on when it comes to its 2017 flagship lineup. Now that you’ve made it this far, let’s take a look at what we think will be coming on October 4th.

Pixel 2 Specs:

  • 4.97-inch FHD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB Storage
  • 5MP or 8MP Front Camera
  • Single 12MP Rear Camera with dual-LED flash
  • 2,700mAh Battery
  • USB Type-C
  • Extras: Dual-stereo speakers, Active Edge, fingerprint scanner, Always-on Display
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • IP68 Water Resistance

Pixel 2 XL Specs:

  • 6-inch QHD AMOLED Display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC
  • 4GB/6GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB Storage
  • 5MP or 8MP Front Camera
  • Single 12MP Rear Camera with dual-LED flash
  • 3,520mAh Battery
  • USB Type-C
  • Extras: Dual-stereo speakers, Active Edge, fingerprint scanner, Always-on Display
  • IP68 Water and Dust Resistance
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

So now that you have digested everything, feel free to let us know what you think about what’s to come from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and if you’ll be picking one up regardless of the lack of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

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