While we have a lot to learn, rumors are starting to circulate. Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 3.
While we don’t expect Google to veer too far away from what makes the Pixel range great, we do expect to see some design changes with the Pixel 3.
First off, it looks like a notch at the top of the screen is 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 is 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.
In a slightly less controversial subject, we expect to see the end of a non bezel-less smaller Pixel, and expect that Google will fully embrace the bezel-less revolution on both models of the Pixel 3.
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.
Three Pixel 3s?
Rumors persist that Google may be considering more than two models in the Pixel 3 range. Some 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.
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.
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 May 17: Added the increased speculation that the Pixel 3 will feature a notch.