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Roundup Phones

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Rumored specs, leaks, price, release date

A supersized notch and wireless charging may come to the next generation of Google's flagship.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are among the best phones on the market today on account of their excellent cameras, snappy performance and tight integration with Google's homegrown Android software. 

But the next generation of Google's flagship phones -- likely to be called the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL -- could be radically different.. After all, Google acquired HTC's phone hardware team in September 2017, and has since folded it into its own operation. On Monday, it also debuted the latest version of its Android operating system, known as Android Pie, which includes compelling new features -- such as multiplayer AR and enhancements to its already-superior voice assistant -- that can't be found on any iPhone (yet).

Google hasn't formally announced the Pixel 3, so most of what we think we know is based on rumor and hearsay. We're sure, however, that the company will want to avoid the mistakes associated with the Pixel 2 XL. That phone suffered from burn-in issues and other defects related to the phone's OLED display -- missteps which resulted in quite a bit of media attention, marring some initial positive reviews with caveats. It also brought the spotlight to Google's warranty, which was eventually broadened to accommodate the issues. (Note that the iPhone X's OLED display is not immune from burn-in either.) 

Though the next generation of Pixels aren't expected to debut until later this year, we've collated the major buzz on the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL below, and will continue to update this space regularly with news and rumors. 

Now Playing: Watch this: Android P: A slice of 'Pie'
1:19

Rumor: First video of the new Pixel 3

Earlier this week, Telegram user @LuchkovCH "leaked" photos and now they've dropped a whole YouTube video here. In it, they walk through the Settings menu, launcher, and running benchmarks. There's a look at the (notched) front, familiar-looking back and what looks like a single USB-C charging port.  

Confirmed: Pixel 3 won't be the first to get Android Pie

Countering speculation that Google would introduce its latest operating system on the Pixel 3, the company released Android Pie to the existing generation of Pixel phones on Aug. 6. The Pixel 3 is likely, however, to be the first phone running Pie right out of the box, if that matters in any way.

android-p

Android P gives us a hint about the upcoming Pixel 3.

CNET

Android Pie mostly focuses on behind-the-scenes improvements designed to make Android phones work faster while saving battery life. But one big update in Android Pie is support for notches -- those little cutouts on phones with screens that span most of the phone face, popularized by Apple's iPhone X. Which leads us to...

Likely: Pixel 3 will have a BIG notch

We know that Android Pie supports phones with notches and according to the increasing number of renders and leaked photos we're seeing, that's no coincidence. If the photos are accurate, the Pixel 3 will have a notch -- and not just any notch, but a big, deep notch.

The Pixel 3 XL's deep notch

A "leaked" photo that supposedly shows a Pixel 3 XL final production unit with a significant notch cut into the top of the display.

Android Poilce/Telegram user @LuchkovCH

The newest allegedly-leaked image, posted this week by a Ukrainian on the Telegram app, follows in the footsteps of previous images of the Pixel 3. All of them show a phone that looks quite similar to the Pixel 2 XL -- but with a notch that's much deeper than the iPhone X's.

Rumor: Pixel 3 is coming in October

Google introduced the original Pixel and its super-size sibling, the Pixel XL on Oct. 4, 2016. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL debuted exactly one year later. We have every reason to believe that the company will remain faithful to this schedule, introducing the next phone in October.

Rumor: The phone could have wireless charging

XDA Developers found evidence in an Android Pie beta release that points to support for wireless charging. This rumor dovetails with another -- that the new Pixel may have a glass back that would be more conducive to wireless charging. 

Google has made wireless charging phones before (like the Google Nexus 6 and Google Nexus 5), but stopped in 2015 with the launch of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Perhaps it's bringing the feature back, however, due to the wireless charging capabilities of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

Rumor: Pixel 3 XL will have front-facing speakers

According to a recent case leak from Gizmo China, the Pixel 3 XL will purportedly flaunt two front-facing cameras.

The apparent leaked images also show that the speaker will be located on the front bottom bezel and the fingerprint reader will still be located on the back below the camera.

Rumor: Pixel 3 XL will have two front-facing cameras, new display

In addition to the notch, Bloomberg posited that the Pixel 3 XL will have an edge-to-edge display and two front-facing cameras. The smaller Pixel 3, however, will have neither of these things apparently.

The German news site WinFuture, which has a pretty reliable record with tech rumors, also reported that Google will partner with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn (the same company that makes iPhones) to build "new display hardware."

Now Playing: Watch this: New Pixel 3 XL and Note 9 leaks
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Rumor: A premium Pixel will battle 2018 iPhones

Tech blog Droid Life reported that Google will have three new Pixel phones in the pipeline for 2018. This trio could include a mysterious higher-end version -- perhaps intended to compete with the $999 iPhone X -- in addition to the standard and XL models. As a reminder, the 64GB Pixel 2 starts at $649 (£629 or AU$1,079) and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 (£799 or AU$1,399).

That noted, frequent tipster Evan Blass tweeted that, according to a "reliable source," Google will deliver a Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL -- as well as the next generation of Pixel Buds and a Pixel-branded watch. If he's right, we're back to looking at two phones, not three. The Pixel 3 XL might have to take on 2018's iPhones on its own.

Rumor: Or maybe Google will make a cheaper Pixel instead?

Google is said to be developing an inexpensive "midrange" Pixel for emerging markets that could debut this summer, according to Economic Times.

It's not clear whether Google would bring this budget model to the US; the timing doesn't sync up with the Pixel's usual October debut. But such a phone would certainly make an interesting foil to Apple's rumored iPhone SE 2, which we could see in September, when iPhones usually launch.

Now Playing: Watch this: Images of Pixel 3 XL might be out, Google Lens gets new...
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Other rumored Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL specs

  • Octacore Qualcomm CPU (perhaps Snapdragon 845)
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 2,960x1,440-pixel resolution
  • Wired version of Google Pixel Buds connecting via USB-C 
  • Confirmed: Support for Android Pie 
  • 4GB RAM
  • Wireless charging
  • Available at least two colors: black and white

This piece was originally published on June 10, 2018, and is updated frequently.

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