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Google Pixel 3 specs, release date, news and rumours

Pocket-lint logo Pocket-lint 26-05-2018
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Google's Pixel phones traditionally arrive in the latter half of the year, normally around October when the next version of Android also arrives. In this case it's Android P. 

There has been a report to suggest we might see a mid-range Pixel appear in the summer of 2018, but the two premium devices, assuming there are two again, are still destined for October.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were announced on 4 October 2017, with pre-orders starting immediately afterwards. They began to hit shelves on 17 October so we would expect to see the new Pixel devices launch before mid-October 2018.

Here is everything rumoured so far about the new Google Pixel devices, which we are calling Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Keen-eyed developers have pinpointed an April 2018 mention of "Pixel 3" within the Android source code.

Although this doesn't confirm the name as it might just be a placeholder, it does at least confirm the existence of a Pixel 3 - and now renowned tipster Evan Blass has also tweeted that the new phones will be called Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. 

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Design

  • Google will almost certainly design and manufacture
  • Solid build quality likely
  • Water resistance probable

Rumours are currently thin on the ground regarding the next Pixel devices, but we fully expect the speculation to ramp up over the next couple of months to give us a better indication as to what we might be able to expect in terms of design and hardware. 

Back in May 2017, it was suggested LG would be the manufacturer for the Pixel 3 devices but we now know this is highly unlikely to be the case following Google's acquisition of HTC's hardware arm.

HTC was responsible for the Pixel and Pixel 2, while LG designed the larger Pixel XL devices in the past. The $1.1 billion deal concluded in January 2018 however and effectively means Google now has the means to design and build its own Pixel smartphones.

What this design and build will be remains to be seen for now, but we expect Google will continue to deliver a good, solid build quality with water and dust resistance. We'd also expect the new Pixels to share a similar design language to each other as they have done in the past, even if they differ in size.

After the beta of Android P there was another clue, spotted by Slashleaks. In an Android P menu, there's an image of an unidentified smartphone. This can be found within Settings > Sounds > Shortcut.

The phone in question has no notch and virtually no bezels. The reason it's expected to be the Google Pixel 3, is because images of an unidentified phone appeared in the Android O beta and they turned out to be the Pixel 2. 

Also read: Best mid-range flagships in India under Rs 35,000

  • OLED displays likely 
  • Pixel 3 XL should have 18:9 aspect ratio

The Pixel 2 offers a 5-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution and a standard 16:9 aspect ratio, while the Pixel 2 XL has a 6-inch P-OLED display with a Quad HD+ resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio.

The 18:9 aspect ratio, or thereabouts, has become the norm for flagship devices, with even Sony and Apple opting for the almost all-screen front design so we expect to see it again on at least the larger of the new Pixel devices. The Pixel 2 XL had a few screen issues when it first launched, and although they have now been corrected, we'd expect the Pixel 3 devices to see some more vigorous testing before they hit to market to avoid any repeat problems. 

It's currently not known if the Pixel 3 will stick with a standard display with a lower resolution compared to the Pixel 3 XL but we'd expect both to offer an OLED panel and both to continue to feature the Always-On display for presenting notifications even when the phone is in standby.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 likely
  • Increase in RAM and storage possible
  • No headphone jack 

The Pixel and Pixel XL and Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL all featured the latest respective Qualcomm platform under their hoods at the time of their launch so we'd expect Google to put the Snapdragon 845 platform within the new Pixels. 

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both feature 4GB of RAM and they both come in 64GB and 128GB storage options, neither of which offer microSD support for storage expansion. With many of 2018's flagship smartphones offering 6GB or even 8GB of RAM and internal storage options up to 256GB, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer at least an increase in RAM.

There have been no hardware leaks as yet for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, but if Google's 2017 devices are anything to go by, the smaller new Pixel will likely have a slightly smaller battery capacity compared to the larger new Pixel. The Pixel 2 has a 2700mAh cell, while the Pixel 2 XL has a 3520mAh battery so we'd expect at least similar for the 2018 handsets.

The 3.5mm headphone jack was ditched for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL so we don't expect to see it make a comeback for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with USB Type-C being the go-to port for all charging and audio needs. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have dual front firing speakers but whether we will see the same on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, or a change up in design, remains to be seen for now.

  • Dual camera system plausible

The current Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are two of only a few flagship smartphones to offer a single lens rear camera system. Like the almost all-screen designs, dual cameras have become a huge trend among top-of-the-range smartphones with the likes of Apple, Samsung, LG, OnePlus Huawei all offering their own versions. In fact, Huawei has just launched a smartphone with a triple camera system on the rear.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL offer excellent camera performance, but you miss out on some of the novelty features offered by the dual camera systems on other devices, such as optical zoom. Google may stick to its guns with its single camera offering on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, like Sony did with the latest Xperia XZ2, especially since it is able to offer a Portrait Mode depth effect without a second camera, but there's a good chance we could see a switch to a dual camera system on at least one of the new Pixel devices too. 

HTC was one of the first to offer a smartphone with a dual lens camera in the HTC M8 back in 2014 and the rumoured HTC U12+ due in May 2018 is speculated to be coming with dual front and rear cameras so given that Google HTC acquisition we mentioned previously, it wouldn't be completely unreasonable to suggest Google may consider dual cameras for the next Pixel devices.

In terms of features, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL offer unlimited storage for photos and videos and they also feature optical image stabilisation and electronic image stabilisation on video and stills so we'd expect both these capabilities on board the new Pixels.

  • Android P on board

One thing we can be certain of when it comes to the next Pixel devices, whether that be one, two or three of them, they will run on pure, vanilla Android. No bloatware, no unnecessary extras, just core Android.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL run on Android Oreo, but the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will launch on Android P - if you have an older Pixel (or one of a select bunch of other Android devices) you can get Android P right now.

We can certainly expect to see Google Assistant on board the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL too, likely further improved, and Google Lens will also arrive as part of Android P which will be more power efficient than ever. 

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Conclusion

Rumours are few and far between regarding the next Pixel devices at present but we fully expect to start hearing predictions and speculations over the next couple of months so keep checking back as we will continually update this feature as information appears.

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(Video provided by Business Today)

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