Google has gotten into a good rhythm with its Pixel phones. After relying for years on OEM partners to make each year’s flagship Android device, the Mountain View-based company took over manufacturing duties itself with the original Google Pixel in 2016, and then released two successors in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in 2017.
In 2018, it feels like every Android phone under the sun has started to adopt the ‘display notch’ popularised by last year’s iPhone X (but, as Android fans will know, first spotted on the Essential Phone), and so the question has quickly turned to whether the Pixel 3 will feature this latest design trend.
Images discovered in the Android P beta suggested that the phone might be one of the first handsets to achieve an edge-to-edge display without needing to resort to a notch.
However, more recently reports have emerged from South Korea that suggest that LG has been hired to provide an OLED display for the new device, and that this display will in fact feature a notch. Leaked photos which then surfaced on the XDA-Developers Forums appeared to confirm this.
Given the technical challenges involved with producing a ‘true’ edge-to-edge display, we’re betting that Google will be forced to embrace the notch for 2018 but we won’t know for sure until Google officially announces the device.
The question of how many cameras the Pixel 3 will have is turning into quite the hot button topic. A Bloomberg report has claimed that the phone will have a dual front-facing camera design, although it’s still not clear what the second camera will be used for. There are rumours that this second camera will be used for some kind of Face ID-style facial recognition, while others have speculated that it could just be used to generate better photos.
This report was corroborated by a further leak (below) that suggested that the phone will feature dual cameras on the front, with a single lens on the rear. To us this suggests that the second front sensor is indeed going to be used for facial recognition, since a rear camera would benefit more from the increased image quality.
Aside from cameras, the other hot topic of conversation surrounds the phone’s frame, with users on the XDA Developers Forum unearthing code that it could be ‘squeezable’ like the Pixel 2. This ‘Active Edge’ functionality essential adds another shortcut command to the phone like the HTC U11+.
According to a Droid Life report, Google is working on a total of three new Pixel handsets. They’re allegedly codenamed Albacore, Blueline and Crosshatch, with the latter and former tipped to be premium-tier, and the middle rumoured to be an expensive high-end model, designed to compete with the iPhone X.
The report cites the same “trusted source” that was behind the leak responsible for uncovering the identity of the Pixel 2 XL, so there’s no real reason to doubt the information. That said – like any rumour – it should be taken with a considerable pinch of salt, as nothing’s set in stone.
Truth be told, Google’s expected smartphone roadmap for 2018 is reminiscent of Apple’s plan for 2017. It’s working on two high-end smartphones, like the Cupertino-based firm did with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and a super-premium handset that’s said to ‘push the boundaries’ like the iPhone X.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were announced at a standalone event in October 2017, leading many to believe that Google will hold a gathering around the same time this year to take the wraps off the Pixel 3.
In terms of the Pixel 3’s price, nothing has been confirmed, but the Pixel 2 sold for £629 SIM-free at launch, while the Pixel 2 XL started at a heft £799 to buy outright. You certainly shouldn’t expect a price drop this year – and it wouldn’t be out of the question for an ultra-premium third Pixel 3 handset to cost in the region of £1000, given the current state of the market.
What feature are you hoping to see on the Pixel 3? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.