Google came so close to nailing its Android hardware vision with the Pixel 3 XL, but that incredibly deep notch and no-longer-world-beating camera held it back from true must-have status.
Will the fourth time be the charm, then? Rumours are already swirling around the impending reveal of the Google Pixel 4, and while it'll still be some months before the company's next flagships roll out, early word suggests some compelling changes in the mix. And then Google showed off the real thing, as you'll see above and below.
Wondering whether you should hold out 'til later this year? Here's what we've heard so far about the Google Pixel 4.
When will the Google Pixel 4 be out?
October. It'll be out in October.
That's just speculation, but let's look at the history here: all three previous Pixel models released in October, and Google seems to like that post-iPhone reveal window (for whatever reason). Unless there's an unexpected change, we should see it in October 2019.
(Speculative render via Phone Designer)
It's speculation, but it's reasonable speculation. We fully believe it.
How much will the Google Pixel 4 cost?
We haven't heard any solid leaks about pricing just yet, but the Pixel 3 phones were pretty pricey at ₹71,000 for the standard model and ₹83,000 for the Pixel 3 XL.
Given the constant upward trend for smartphone pricing, it wouldn't surprise us at all to see the Pixel 4 top those figures – especially with Samsung's Galaxy S10 stretching its legs up to ₹73,900 and ₹66,900 for its core and plus-sized editions.
We'll see how it pans out, but smartphone prices are steadily rising. We expect the same from Google.
What will the Google Pixel 4 look like?
Surprise! It's not the clearest look in the world, but that image above is officially the Google Pixel 4. Google actually shared the image in mid-June following a big wave of leaks. Kudos to Google for getting ahead of the rumours.
It only shows the back of the Pixel 4, but that's enough to know that big changes are afoot. The two-tone aesthetic of previous models is apparently gone, and so is the physical back-mounted fingerprint sensor. The simple glass backing looks a lot closer to that of the iPhone XS, and Google does have a history of looking to Apple for Pixel inspiration.
What's even more amusing is that the big, rounded square camera module looks very similar to what's been extensively leaked so far for Apple's new 2019 iPhones. Maybe Google's early teaser release was also an opportunity to beat Apple to the punch on that, since Apple surely won't show anything until the phones are officially revealed in September.
How about the front, then? Google didn't share any shots of that, and the latest renders from OnLeaks/Pricebaba aren't super clear on the front. However, the placement of the earpiece suggests that it will either have a notch like the Pixel 3 XL, or another slab of bezel above the screen. If we had to bet, we're taking the notch. Hopefully it's not as deep as the last one...
What about the fingerprint sensor? Well, if it's not on the back, then it's either in the display, on the power button... or absent, potentially replaced by a Face ID-like 3D facial scanning system.
And there's another potentially big change in the mix: the Pixel 4 could ditch physical buttons. That's according to YouTuber Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech, who has been right about Pixel leaks in the past. His source suggests that Google will instead use capacitive buttons that don't physically press in, thus allowing for a fully uninterrupted aluminium frame. Phone Arena speculates that it could have something to do with the Active Edge "squeezable sides" from the last couple Pixels, and that Google might want to extend that feature further up the frame.
Well, that's the back of the Pixel 4, but we're even more curious to see the front...
What about the Google Pixel 4's screen?
Beyond the rumoured punch-hole screen, we haven't heard any specifics about what to expect from the Pixel 4's screens. The Pixel 3 XL had a pretty brilliant 6.3in Super AMOLED Quad HD display, so we're hoping for another one along those lines.
If the rumours of a punch-hole cutout on the Pixel 4 XL prove correct, we wonder whether the standard Pixel 4 will follow the same route. After all, Google has opted for different designs between the standard and XL models the last two generations, and skipped the notch on the Pixel 3 the last time around.
It's too early to tell—we'll have to wait for more rumours and leaks.
How much power will the Google Pixel 4 pack?
History suggests that the Pixel 4 will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, since Google always uses the latest and greatest flagship Snapdragon, and we suspect that'll be true again this time around.
Supposedly, the phone popped up on Geekbench earlier this year under the codename "Google Coral," and the results are pretty close to what we've seen from other Snapdragon 855-equipped phones. Even if the benchmark listing isn't real, the results look about right.
(Speculative render via Phone Designer)
The Snapdragon 855 sounds right, and if true, then it'll pack plenty of power.
What kind of cameras will the Google Pixel 4 have?
It's official: Google will finally adopt the multi-camera trend with the Pixel 4. Google's teaser shot further up the page shows what looks to be two cameras and an additional sensor, perhaps a time-of-flight sensor, as well as a flash.
The previous single-camera Pixels have excelled at capturing extensive detail even as rivals bulked up their multi-camera arrays, so we're curious to see exactly what Google can do with a bit more hardware at its disposal.
Google lost the camera crown last year to Huawei's triple-camera flagships, but maybe Google can do more with two than rivals do with three (or four).
Is there anything else I should know about the Google Pixel 4?
The Pixel 4 will undoubtedly launch with Android Q. The recently-revealed OS upgrade – currently available in a developer's beta – should bring some neat new perks.
Android Q will have a native Dark Theme mode that uses true black for OLED power savings, and Google's own apps will be updated to support it. The OS upgrade also improves upon the gestures introduced in Android Pie, makes it easier to keep key parts of Android updated on all phones, has a live caption capability for video and audio, and promises speedier app startups.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, and we're sure to learn even more by the time the full release comes this autumn. Read our full preview for a more detailed look at Android Q, as well as how to get the beta on previous Pixel devices and select others.
The Pixel 4 could also have another neat trick onboard: the ability to detect precise hand gestures in the air nearby via radar. It's something called Project Soli, which Google first debuted at I/O 2015.
9to5Google first reported that it could make its way into the Pixel 4, letting you control music or media from afar using hand gestures, and XDA Developers has found matching code in the Android Q beta that seems to corroborate that report. It will reportedly be called "Aware," and could have "Skip" and "Silence" media gestures included, for example.
We have sparse details on the Pixel 4 for now, but many more leaks are sure to follow in the months ahead. Stay tuned: we'll update this preview as each and every compelling new detail pours out ahead later this year.