Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL built upon the solid foundation of their predecessors, with the Pixel 2 XL being particularly impressive. Will the third time be the charm for Google in delivering the definitive Android experience?
Rumours are swirling ahead of an expected early winter launch for the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, both of which might come with significant new designs in tow. We've already seen a fair number of purported leaks and reports about the phones, and the rumour mill will only churn more and more as the expected release nears.
What will we see from the Pixel 3 line? Here's what we've heard so far.
When will the Google Pixel 3 be out?
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (shown) were both announced and released in October 2017. Unsurprisingly, Google seems set to stay the course with its release cycle.
Bloomberg suggests that the Pixel 3 phones will also debut in October, about a month after Apple's expected iPhone XI announcement. It's a window that works for Google, making it typically the last major smartphone announcement before Christmas.
Fact. Google has carved out the post-Apple window as its own. That shouldn't change.
How much will the Google Pixel 3 cost?
We haven't heard any especially firm rumours about the Pixel 3's price point, but let's look back on where Google started the last time around.
The Pixel 2 debuted at ₹61,000 while the Pixel 2 XL sold for ₹73,000. While there might be a slight bump on both fronts, we're not expecting dramatic price leaps here.
We're just speculating for now, but something around ₹60,000-₹65,000 for the Pixel 3 and as much as ₹75,000 for the Pixel 3 XL makes a lot of sense to us.
What will the Google Pixel 3 look like?
Android 9.0 P packs in native support for screen notches, sparking speculation that the Pixel 3 would pack a notch. That might be half true.
Supposed screen protector leaks in late May suggest that the Pixel 3 XL will pack a notch atop the screen, while the standard Pixel 3 will stick with a full display. Both look to pack taller-than-normal aspect ratios, and the notch shown for the Pixel 3 XL is a little taller than the iPhone X's, but not nearly as wide.
And what you're looking at above is a purported leaked prototype of the Pixel 3 XL, posted on the XDA Forums in early June and shared by Android Police. It matches the screen protector from the front, while the back looks nearly identical to the Pixel 2 XL, albeit with an added sensor between the camera and flash module. Android Police suggests that the "crosshatch" bootloader name matches up with existing information.
Incredible leak or just an impressive fake-out based on the earlier leaks? You decide, but it does seem like details are starting to pile up.
Concept artists have taken the suggested shapes and created their own mock-ups, which you'll find further down the page (via PhoneArena). They show a sleek pair of handsets, with the Pixel 3 XL looking a lot like the OnePlus 6, while the standard Pixel 3 moves further away from the original iPhone influence and takes on a bit more of a Galaxy S9 look.
Again, this is just a mock-up based on a supposed leak – so don't take this as fact just yet. But it would make sense for Google to differentiate its entry-level and premium phones, just like it did last year.
Given the Android P support and the wider trend of Android phones in 2018, a notched Pixel 3 XL wouldn't surprise us at all. We'll just have to wait and see whether the smaller model also follows suit.
What about the Google Pixel 3's screen?
If the leaked screen protectors are legitimate, we ought to see taller screens on both of these handsets. That might be something like 18:9 on the Pixel 3, and maybe 19:9 on the Pixel 3 XL.
We saw a 6in Quad HD OLED display on the Pixel 2 XL and a 5in 1080p LCD on the Pixel 2, and leaker Ice Universe suggests that Google will use LG-made OLED panels for the Pixel 3 XL. No word yet on the standard Pixel 3, but another LCD seems possible.
We wouldn't be surprised to see Google stick with its OLED and LCD split with the Pixel 3.
How much power will the Google Pixel 3 pack?
Google has been rocking the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with each Pixel, using the Snapdragon 835 last year, and that approach should stay the same.
Many 2018 flagship phones are turning to the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 845, and we fully expect that to be the case with the Pixel 3 phones as well. A report from WinFuture lines up with that.
Unless there's an enhanced revision out this autumn, we fully expect to see the Snapdragon 845 inside both Pixel 3 handsets.
What kind of camera will the Google Pixel 3 have?
Google famously defied the dual-camera trend with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and ended up packing the most powerful camera on the market in late 2017 and early this year.
That's no longer the case, as the triple-camera Huawei P20 Pro is our new camera champ. What about the Pixel 3, then? Believe it or not, Bloomberg reports that both phones will stick with just the one main camera on the back.
Interestingly, though, the Pixel 3 XL is reported to have two front cameras, while the standard Pixel 3 sticks with one. We're not totally sure what Google is cooking up with that XL move, but we're certainly intrigued to see what's planned.
One back camera worked wonders on the Pixel 2, but we'll see whether Google can retake the camera crown from Huawei.
Is there anything else I should know about the Google Pixel 3?
Google acquired most of HTC's smartphone team at the start of the year, and Bloomberg reports that they've been hard at work on both the hardware and software of the Pixel 3 phones.
Furthermore, the Pixel 3 may be manufactured by Apple favorite, Foxconn, which will hopefully help them avoid any shortages should they come in high demand.
We have to imagine that Android P will officially launch alongside the Pixel 3 phones, and they'll be the best showcase for the upgraded operating system's myriad new features and abilities.
Lastly, we haven't heard anything about the return of the squeezable sides from the Pixel 2, which let you access the Google Assistant in a hurry, but we'd be surprised if Google axes that feature after one generation. After all, the upcoming HTC U12+ still packs it in, and those acquired HTC engineers are probably pretty keen on the feature.
It's early still, and we'll probably hear plenty more rumours about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in the coming months – but the leaks so far paint a picture of an improved XL model and a standard Pixel 3 that should be much more compelling than last year's. Stay tuned for more.