Early rumours are already swirling around Google's successor to the wildly popular Pixel phones.
When does the Google Pixel XL 2 come out? Launch on 4 October with availability expected before the end of October.
What’s new about the Pixel XL 2? 6-inch AMOLED display, squeezable frame, Android O
How much will the Pixel XL 2 cost? High premium pricing above $1,000
Updated: 18 September with launch details for the Pixel XL 2 and Pixel 2.
What is the Google Pixel XL 2?
When Google launched the first Pixel phones in 2016, it did so by dropping the Nexus brand that it had previously adopted for its own in-house phones, instead launching Pixel as its brand. The Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL were launched in Australia as exclusives with Telstra, with the central hook being the "pure" Android experience they offered.
As with the Nexus phones that preceded them, the Pixel phones will be the first in line to receive the next version of Google's Android operating system, which is called Android Oreo. It's expected that the Pixel XL 2 will launch with Oreo already onboard, alongside a smaller Pixel 2 phone, although some rumours have suggested that Google may opt to release three new Pixel phones this year. At this stage, it appears that Google will pursue a two-device only strategy.
The naming for the Pixel XL 2 isn't set in any way, with Google still entirely free to simply call the new phones as Pixel or Pixel XL as with the 2016 iterations, or possibly Pixel 2nd Generation. That's something we won't know for some time, depending on whether or not marketing or packaging material leaks before the official announcement. The only official announcement we've had has been this teaser video, which really just points at factors already addressed somewhat by existing Pixel handsets:
Google used to own Motorola (now a Lenovo brand) but it doesn't manufacture the current Pixel phones, and it's not expected to launch its own fabrication plants for the Pixel XL 2 either. Instead, that job is being strongly rumoured to fall to LG. LG last worked with Google on the Nexus 5X smartphone, with last year's Pixel and Pixel XL being manufactured by HTC. The smaller Pixel 2 is expected to be an HTC handset, but that's not the only way HTC might have an influence on Google's Pixel plans this year.
Current rumours suggest that the Pixel XL 2 may adopt squeezable sides, similar to those found on the HTC U11. This is expected to have the same features as the HTC U11, with a particular focus on an updated version of the Google Assistant software.
It's rumoured that the Google Pixel XL2 might also drop the headphone jack in favour of USB-C and Bluetooth Audio, although that may also enable Google to incorporate stereo front-firing speakers, again akin to HTC's "Boomsound" speakers found on many of its handsets.
The current rumoured design looks a lot like a slimmed down Pixel with smaller bezels and rounded edges, similar to those found on the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Will the Google Pixel XL 2 be powerful?
There's not a lot of detail as yet as to what will go into the Pixel XL 2's internal configurations, but presuming that Google continues along the path of pitching the Pixel brand as a premium offering, we'd expect a high-end processor, at least on par with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (or possibly its successor) to feature under the hood of the Pixel XL 2.
Some rumours did tip the idea that the Pixel XL 2 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 836, but this now seems highly unlikely. Multiple sources including xda developers and Android Police report that Qualcomm has no particular plans for an upgraded model of the Snapdragon 835 at this time.
Google doesn't quite have the built-from-the-ground-up advantages that Apple does when it comes to totally optimising Android towards the Pixel XL 2's hardware build, but having first mover advantage should still lead to a heavily optimised experience, making the most out of the mix of the Pixel XL 2's hardware and Android O.
One factor that we don't expect to change on the Google Pixel XL 2 is Google's insistence on fixed storage. While Android can quite easily address additional storage via microSD cards, Google's own inhouse phones have instead opted to push Google cloud storage heavily with no microSD card expansion present at all. That ties in neatly with the teaser video, which references phones running out of storage. With a cloud-based phone this isn't an issue, although you do have to contend with upload charges if you're storing content in the cloud on the move.
Will the Pixel XL 2 have a good camera?
For some years, Google's Nexus phones made do with cameras that were OK, but never great. That changed with the Pixel and Pixel XL, two phones with cameras that were market leading at launch and are still in the top echelon of mobile phone cameras to this day.
While many manufacturers are tending towards dual lens cameras with either feature effects or differing angle/zoom configurations on their premium handsets, the current rumours point to the Pixel XL 2 featuring a single lens array on the back with only a very slight camera "bump". There's not much known about the actual camera optics in play, but expect the Pixel XL to once again sit in the top tier of camera phones when it launches.
How will I charge the Google Pixel XL 2?
Google leapt wholeheartedly into the USB C charging space as far back as the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, so there's no reason to expect that it won't opt for USB C charging this time around.
There's no specific word on whether or not the Google Pixel XL 2 will also allow for wireless charging capabilities, although it wasn't a feature of the Google Pixel 2016 versions.
Will the Google Pixel XL 2 be water resistant?
We live in an era where premium phones are increasingly touting water resistance as a key feature to differentiate themselves from a crowd of impressive mid-range options. Google made the 2016 Pixel phones water resistant, but only to a rating of IP53, quite below that of competitor phones that tend to offer IP67/68 ratings instead.
IP53 means that the 2016 Pixel is protected by not entirely resistant to dust (that'd be IP63), and that trailing 3 digit means that light showers of water are protected against, not immersion of any type. That doesn't mean that a dunking will always kill a Pixel, but it's a risky move.
It's expected that Google will follow the increasing trend for premium phones and make the Pixel XL 2 and Pixel 2 water resistant to a more significant extent.
When will the Google Pixel XL 2 be available in Australia?
Google has announced the launch of its next generation Pixel phones, taking place at 9am PST on 4 October 2017. That translates to 2AM AEST on 5 October 2017 here in Australia.
Google's track record with regards to local launches of its flagship handsets is an unusual one, with some phones launching close to announcement, and others waiting some time before being officially available down under. Based on the Pixel phone release, however, we're optimistic that we should see the next generation Pixel phones relatively rapidly in Australia, most likely by the end of October.
Google will undoubtedly offer the handsets for outright sale through its online store, but the carrier picture isn't yet clear in any way. Last year's Pixel phones were Telstra exclusives, and it's feasible that's a strategy that Google may adopt again this year.
How much will the Google Pixel XL 2 cost?
Google's positioning for the Pixel brand has focused on its premium status, so we wouldn't expect the new phones to hit the market at anything less than a premium price point above the $1,000 mark.
Google's pricing for the current generation Pixel and Pixel XL phones could well be informative in predicting Pixel XL 2 pricing. Here's how that pricing currently stands.
|Google Pixel Model||Price|
|Pixel XL 32GB||$1,269|
|Pixel XL 128GB||$1,419|
Can't wait for Pixel XL 2? Compare Pixel plans now
Google Pixel XL 2 Specifications
- Product Name
- Google Pixel XL 2
- Display Size
- 6 inches.
- TBC, expected Snapdragon 835 or better
- TBC, 4GB minimum expected
- TBC, expected 32GB/128GB or higher
- Operating System
- Android O
- Front camera
- Rear camera
- TBC, expected single lens
- TBC, expected above $1,000
Latest mobile news
We compare the differences in mobile plans from Coles, Woolworths and ALDI. Read more…
You can link your Apple Watch Series 3 to your phone number for $5 per month. Read more…
It's as quick and easy as ordering a pizza. Read more…
Save yourself plenty of pretty pennies with these internationally minded mobile plans. Read more…
With Australia's carriers announcing their iPhone 8 plans, we've delved into the details to find the ideal plan for every budget. Read more…
If you're keen on Apple's shiny new iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus in Australia, does it make more financial sense to opt for a contract, or buy the phone outright? Read more…