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Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL specs, release date, news and rumours

For Android fans there’s little that’s as exciting as the launch of a new Pixel. With Nexus now dead and buried, Pixel is more ambitious, seeing Google throw everything into its own phones.

Things are hotting up for the 2018 Pixel models with a range of rumours and leaks already feeding the fire of speculation.

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Here is everything rumoured so far about the new Google Pixel devices, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Keen-eyed developers have pinpointed an April 2018 mention of “Pixel 3” within the Android source code, and Evan Blass has added his own take on the new phones, so we’re sure the launch name will be Pixel 3.

Google Pixel 3 release date

  • October launch predicted
  • Fall hardware event for Google

Google’s Pixel phones traditionally arrive in the latter half of the year, normally around October. In the past this was synced with a new version of Android – in this case it’s Android P – although with Oreo the software appeared a few weeks before the new phones.

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 are destined for October – as Evan Blass says, in a “fall” hardware event from Google.

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 announced within the same timeframe.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Design

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

HTC was responsible for the Pixel and Pixel 2, while LG designed the larger Pixel XL devices in the past. Subsequently, Google acquired a lot of HTC’s smartphone talent, suggesting more will be done in house. The $1.1 billion deal concluded in January 2018 means Google now has the team to design its own Pixel smartphones.

However, a report from Bloomberg suggests that Google it going to be looking to Foxconn for the actual manufacture. Foxconn also manufactures the iPhone, so it perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

There’s no suggestion of the dimensions of this new phone yet, but we’ve seen the first credible leak showing what the design might be, thanks to a couple of images shared to XDA forums. There’s now been a follow-up leak showing more of the phone – all in the gallery below – so we have a good idea of what the Pixel 3 XL might look like from all sides.

It looks as though Google is sticking to a similar design as the Pixel 2, with that rear divided in textures, with a top section that’s glossy and the bottom that’s matte. However, it’s been reported that it’s all glass, rather than being metal as it was on the Pixel 2 XL.

That weird logo on the rear – yes, it’s appeared on Google prototypes before. Note that the leaked device appears to be the Pixel 3 XL and we’ve less information on the smaller Pixel 3.

However, leaked display components corroborate with the leaked front design, suggesting a shift to a notched design for the Pixel 3 XL: if the display stays the same size on the diagonal, the handset would be smaller than the old model. But there’s still some chin to the phones, as it looks like dual front speakers are going to stay in place.

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Display

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

One of the first details to emerge about the Pixel 3 display comes from a reliable source. Shared via Twitter, Ben Geskin compared the new Pixel 3 with the Pixel 3 XL, showing off a notched display.

Geskin has a good track record with leaks, but it’s also backed up with a hardware leak, presumably from somewhere in the hardware supply chain. One may be based on the other, of course, but with these two displays side-by-side, we have a good idea of what each will offer.

There’s currently no indication of the size of these displays, but it looks as though the Pixel 3 is shifting from 16:9 to 18:9 (or 18.5:9). According to these leaks, both devices will have a similar display aspect (18:9 or 18:9.5 perhaps), but with the Pixel 3 XL getting a notch. This will allow it to have a greater screen to body ratio, meaning that the handset size doesn’t swell too much.

We already know that Android will be accommodating notched displays in Android P. In terms of sizes we’re just guessing, but we’d say something like 5.5-inches for the Pixel 3 and 6.1-inches for the Pixel 3 XL.

There has also been a suggestion that those two openings on the front a dual front cameras, although we’d treat this with caution: there are a lot of other sensors that would need an opening on the front, so we’re not certain what hardware it might reveal.

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Hardware

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

The Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL all featured the latest respective Qualcomm platform at the time of their launch so we’d expect Google to put the Snapdragon 845 platform within the new Pixel 3. 

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 and we suspect the new models will too, based on leaked display parts.

There’s also been the suggestion that it will once again support squeeze.

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Cameras

  • Single camera system probable

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.

So far there’s little to suggest any changes and the leaked Pixel 3 XL appears to have a single camera on the rear. However, it might be that Google has been looking at dual camera options and considering the possibilities, according to a tip shared by Stephen Hall of 9to5Google on Twitter.

Usually reliable Twitter tipster Ice Universe has posted an image, supposedly of the Pixel 3 XL from the front and back. However it is in a case and only the rear of the case is shown in the image. It does, however, have a cut out just for a single lens camera with flash. 

What we can also see from the image shared by Ice Universe is that there may very well be two cameras on the front within the notch. 

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Software

  • 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 Android, with Pixel extras.

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.

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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.

The first real indicators are that the Pixel will be changing the display aspects and introducing a notch on the Pixel 3 XL. The leaked display parts, followed by what looks like a prototype handset suggest we’re onto something real here.

There’s a lot more to learn and we’ll be keeping track of all the rumours and leaks, so be sure to check back.

Liked this? Check out our guide to the best Android handsets.

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