Last year's Pixel wasn't the world-beating Google phone we hoped it would be. It's a fine handset, especially with stock Android Nougat and a simply sublime camera in the mix, but it sadly feels like a retread.
With its iPhone-esque design and lack of flagship features like a Quad HD screen or water resistance, the Pixel was merely good in a time of brilliant smartphones. But that could all change with the Pixel 2.
Right now it's all rumours and reports – but they paint a compelling story of Google going for a flashy new design with the Pixel 2 XL, and maybe sticking with what worked OK last time with the standard Pixel 2.
We'll have to wait and see for sure, but if you're curious what the speculation suggests, here's a look at what we've seen and heard about from the Google Pixel 2.
When will the Pixel 2 be out?
Every flagship smartphone maker carves out a window for its big, annual announcement, and autumn is no exception. Samsung's Galaxy Note is usually in August, Apple's iPhone is in September, and Google's new Pixel (original shown) should come in October.
That would follow the pattern from last year, plus the Nexus 6P and 5X were debuted at the end of September the year prior. Earlier this year, Google hardware head Rick Osterloh told Android Pit, "There is an annual rhythm in this industry. So you can count on us to follow it." In other words, expect the Pixel 2 this autumn.
How much will the Pixel 2 cost?
At roughly S$1075 for the base model (and S$1300 for the base XL), we thought the Pixel was maybe a bit too pricey for the kind of specs and features it packed in. But you probably won't see a price drop for the sequel.
In that same interview, Osterloh said that "Pixel stays premium," and that there won't be a cheaper, lower-end version available for the next Pixel. Meanwhile, back in January, a source told 9to5Google to expect the Pixel 2 to be "at least" US$50 (S$70) more expensive than the original US$649 (S$885) standard model.
What will the Pixel 2 look like?
Last year's Pixel had a distinctive edge, thanks to that glass cutout on the back, but otherwise looked a bit too much like a dull iPhone knockoff. This time around, however, we might get a phone that's closer in trend to Android's current flagships
Did you see that video above? It's a leaked render from Onleaks and MySmartPrice, who claim that it's from a trusted source and should represent the near-final design of the Pixel XL 2.
As you can see, it seems to find the middle ground between the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, with a flat, extra-tall, 18:9 display and very minimal bezel. It's reportedly a 6in AMOLED display – falling right between the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus in size – and will surely be a Quad HD screen again for the XL 2.
We still get a glass cutout on the back, but it's shorter and the fingerprint sensor has been moved below it. It should still be within comfortable reach despite the taller phone design. The camera module seems to stick out slightly from the main body, which suggests Google has given up on the wedge-shaped chassis it went with for the original Pixel. It potentially points to even better camera hardware than last year's phone, but all signs point to a single snapper instead of dual-camera shenanigans.
What about the regular Pixel 2?
Here's where we might be set up for some disappointment. Rather than just make the Pixel 2 XL a larger version of the basic model, Google seems to be going for a split design this year, leaving the regular Pixel with standard screen bezels instead of super-thin ones.
Really? Yes, really. In June, XDA Developers issued a report claiming that the Pixel 2 will be "almost identical" to the previous model, with another 5in, 1080p display. However, it may lack the headphone jack this time around, following Apple's iPhone 7 lead. That seems to match the latest set of leaked prototype images doing the rounds online.
The lack of skinny bezels is disappointing, but that will at least leave room for stereo speakers above and below the screen, and space at the sides for HTC's touch-sensitive Edge Sense abilities - only here they will apparently be called "Active Edge" and open the Google Assistant when you squeeze it.
How much power will the Pixel 2 pack?
No matter which size Pixel 2 you pick, it sounds like Google is going for top-of-the-line specs in both.
We were originally expecting to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 within – the same used in the OnePlus 5 and some regional versions of the Galaxy S8. However, new leaks suggest Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 836 will be used instead. According to Fudzilla, this new CPU will be about 10 per cent faster than the 835, while finding some battery improvements too.
Whatever chip makes the cut, it will be flanked by 4GB in the Pixel and the XL. Android Police's big leak had those details mentioned for the Pixel 2 XL, while the XDA Developers leak just before then mentioned the same specs for both models. Even if they end up varying in design and screen specs, at least you should get the same power from both.
Is there anything else I should know about the Pixel 2?
A couple of things. According to the Android Police report, the Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured by LG this time around. Of course, HTC manufactured the original Pixel and Pixel XL for Google. As the standard Pixel 2 is reportedly keeping the same design as the first 5in model, it makes sense that HTC has held onto the smaller version.
Another report from XDA claims independent verification that the Pixel 2 XL will have the squeezable sides, which will be used to awaken Google Assistant whether the phone screen is on or off.