When Google's flagship first launched last year, the device impressed us with its camera prowess and introduction of Google Assistant (which is now available on several Android phones). However, there's always room for improvement. Below is my personal wishlist for what I want in the next Pixel. It's not everything Google can possibly add, just my own preference.
In the meantime, let us know what you'd like to see (removable battery? sharper display? new design?) in the next Pixel too.
Even better cameras
Thanks to the recent Pixel leak, it doesn't look like the phones will get dual rear cameras. This is a letdown since it'll be the only major phone not to have dual camera capabilities and its single-lens portrait mode tool on the original Pixel wasn't very good.
But Google can make up for this if it improves the camera in other ways. Back when the Pixel first launched, it had one of the best shooters around, and I was particularly impressed by how well it handled low-light environments
Since then, however, there have been a handful of phones that also take great pictures in dim lighting, like the OnePlus 5 and HTC U11. The iPhone 8 Plus and also have really strong cameras so Google better step up its game. With this next iteration, I'd like to see the Pixel add optical image stabilization for video recording, smooth out its Lens Blur feature for portraits (though that may be difficult given the aforementioned single lens) and improve its closeup, macro shots so they're even sharper.
Current rumors speculate that Google may go the way of Apple and Motorola and drop the headphone jack from its Pixels. I really, really hope this isn't true. Though ditching it would help with waterproofing and having a thin design, I can easily understand why this would be a deal breaker for some if it were abandoned. I myself don't want to be forced to listen to my music with wireless headphones give the wired headphones I already love, and I especially don't want to have to remember a dongle every time I go somewhere with my phone. It's a feature nobody asked to get rid of, and I'd hate to see it go on the Pixel.
What used to be a nice-to-have feature is quickly becoming a need-to-have for all high end phones, especially since many flagships like the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones have all been water resistant for a couple years now. In order to remain competitive, I hope the Pixel is waterproof, too. It'll mean that Google is keeping up with its rivals and you'll have extra peace of mind with your phone now that it can endure a dunk underwater.
I don't know if it's exactly kosher to bring up Nexus history since Google wants to distinguish its Pixel line as its own "thing," but Google has sold wireless charging phones before with the Nexus 4 in 2012 and the Nexus 5 and 6 after. So when it got rid of it in the Nexus 5X and 6P in 2015, it was a bummer. Setting your phone down on a charging pad rather than fumbling with a charging cable is pretty convenient, and it'd be useful to see the feature in the next Pixel. (And unlike getting rid of the headphone jack, it wouldn't require any sort of dongle to work with previous chargers.)
And while I'm wishing for battery-related things, I'd love to see a bump in the phone's battery life. Last year, both Pixel models lasted about 13 to 14 hours during our lab test for continuous video playback. These days, phones including the Galaxy S8, OnePlus 5 and iPhone 8 Plus last more than 15 to 16 hours, easy. If the new Pixels can clock those times in, it'd mean fewer trips to the charger.
Google's Pixel announcement will be the last major phone launch of the season, after Samsung, LG and Apple. To keep up on the latest news, stay tuned to CNET, where we'll covering the Oct. 4 event.