Google, With New Pixel And Camera, Is Serious About Devices

Google has been making inroads into the smartphone market over the past couple of years, but the company hasn't yet mounted a serious challenge to Samsung or Apple. That could change with the Pixel 3.

The >Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL turned heads with their top-notch cameras and easy access to Google Assistant, but the Pixel 2 XL, in particular, suffered from >several quality-control issues and bugs.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideIn the past, Google has relied on third-party vendors to help make its smartphones a reality. But after >acquiring the HTC smartphone team last year, Google now has its own hardware division at its disposal. And the Google Pixel 3, which is slated for release later in 2018, will be the first high-end handset to come from that marriage.

For now, Google has remained tight-lipped on its plans for the Pixel 3. But that hasn't stopped the speculation and early reports. Here's a look at all the rumors surrounding Google's Pixel 3.

Three Pixels in the works?

According to a report in >Droid Life, Google is working on three new Pixel devices for this year. The devices, which were discovered in a source-code leak last year, are code-named "crosshatch," "albacore" and "blueline."

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Credit: Tom's GuidePixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Credit: Tom's GuideTwo of the handsets will be considered "premium" devices, and the third will fall into the "high-end" category, a source told Droid Life. Exactly what the difference is and what that might mean for features, however, is unknown at this point.

Release date

Google released the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on Oct. 19, 2017, which was the third Thursday of the month. This release window also gave Google a decent buffer against the September launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Pixel 2 XL. Credit: Tom's GuidePixel 2 XL. Credit: Tom's GuideIf Google followed a similar pattern this time around, the Pixel 3 release date would be on Oct. 18, 2018. But we'll have to wait and see as more rumors surface.

Android P

>Bloomberg recently reported that Google is working on a new version of its Android operating system that will likely make its debut on new Pixel handsets this year.

That operating system, which is currently known as >Android P, will offer a variety of improvements, including features that will boost battery life, Bloomberg reported, citing sources who claim to have knowledge of Google's plans.

Pixel 2 XL. Credit: Tom's GuidePixel 2 XL. Credit: Tom's GuideThe operating system could also come with more deeply integrated >Google Assistant support, and there's a good chance that it will work with a variety of device types, including smartphones that feature curved or dual screens.

Whether Google will actually deliver those varied screens is unknown at this point.

Google's operating system will also be designed to accommodate smartphones with "notch" designs like Apple's >iPhone X. The company reportedly believes more Android handsets will come with the feature, but that doesn't mean the Pixel 3 will have this kind of look.

A true edge-to-edge design

>Several recent reports have surmised that the Google Pixel 3 line will deliver a true edge-to-edge design. Google's Pixel 2 XL was a step in that direction, but rumors abound that Google will offer a more immersive viewing experience in this year's smartphones.

There aren't any details yet on the Pixel 3's bezel size and whether there will be a fingerprint sensor, but if the rumors are true, all signs point to Google having no room for a physical home button in the handset.

Uh, a notch?

>Bloomberg's sources said that the notch design in the iPhone X will make its way to a variety of smartphones this year, and it's believed that Google wouldn't work that hard on it for Android P unless it was actually planning the feature itself.

iPhone X. Credit: Tom's GuideiPhone X. Credit: Tom's GuideWhether you like it or not, the notch has a place in current smartphone design, since it provides a place to house the earpiece and front camera — two components that might eventually be capable of hiding inside the screen but aren't quite there yet.

Improved camera performance, of course

There haven't been any concrete rumors yet about the Google Pixel 3's camera features, but improvements seem nearly guaranteed.

Pixel XL 2. Credit: Tom's GuidePixel XL 2. Credit: Tom's GuideOver the past couple of years, Google has tried to differentiate the Pixel from the iPhone and other handsets by saying its device offers the best smartphone camera in the world. In our photo face-offs, the >Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL offered stellar low-light performance, although we experienced mixed results with the software-based portrait mode.

Considering both Samsung and Apple are making improvements to their smartphone cameras this year, the onus will be on Google to deliver its own set of improvements.

MORE: >iPhone X vs. Pixel 2 XL Camera Face-Off: It's This Close

New speakers

A concept video that was released in January and published by >Android Headlines cited rumors claiming that Google is working on Pixel 3 devices with front-facing speakers. Of course, concepts are by no means smoking guns that point to what the company has planned, but with Apple and Samsung seemingly focusing more on smartphone speaker design, it seems possible.

It's also worth noting that HTC has spent years trying to differentiate its smartphones by their sound quality, and now that Google owns the team behind those HTC handsets, it would only make sense that this year's Pixel 3s would offer improved sound.

At the very least, look for stereo sound in the Pixel 3.

Snapdragon 845 inside

It's perhaps no surprise that Google is planning to bundle the >Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 into this year's line of Pixels. The chip is expected to find its way to most high-end smartphones this year.

What we don't know is how much RAM or storage Google will offer. The current Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL come with 4GB of RAM and your choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage. But we'd like to see the XL model of the Pixel 3 bump that up to 6GB of RAM standard.

See Also : 9 Snapdragon 845 Features That Will Supercharge 2018’s Phones


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