The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL may still be relatively fresh out of the gate, but already we’re starting to hear details about the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL. So far, details are scarce — but there are some details there.
While we have a lot to learn, rumors are starting to circulate. Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 so far.
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.
While we don’t expect Google to veer too far away from the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL formula that’s worked so far, we do expect to see some design changes to the Pixel 3 range.
First off, the notch. Adding notches to perfectly good phones has been an increasing trend since Apple debuted the iPhone X, and it’s been revealed that Android P will launch with support for notched screens. With that in mind, will one or both of the Pixel 3 phones have a notch at the top of the screen? Though we haven’t seen anything that points towards that yet, it might be that Google will choose to take full advantage of its increased support.
In a slightly less controversial subject, we fully expect to see the end of the smaller Pixel phone with chunky bezels around the screen, and instead expect that Google will fully embrace the bezel-less revolution in the smaller model — much the same as the Pixel 2 XL.
It’s a no-brainer to assume that the Pixel 3 will stick with the stock Android experience the phones are known for, but it’s worth noting that the Pixel 3 and Android P may see some significant changes to the look of stock Android as a whole. According to one particularly intrepid explorer, the existing Pixel Launcher APK from the Pixel 2 can be altered to switch on some developer options, and reveal what may be the Pixel 3’s new launcher style.
Three Pixel 3s?
Rumors persist that Google may be considering more than two models in the Pixel 3 range. The most recent rumors point to 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.
Who is building the Google Pixel 3?
HTC is 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,” said the company 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. Meanwhile, most variants of the original Pixel — especially the XL — remain out of stock about six months after the phone’s launch, as HTC continues to struggle to fill orders quickly enough.
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 recent $1.1 billion acquisition of much of HTC’s smartphone division.
Updated on April 6: Project Treble Android code has revealed the “Pixel 3” name.
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