Google Will Announce New Pixel Lineup on October 4

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 20 Comments

Google Will Announce New Pixel Lineup on October 4

With Apple’s awful iPhone announcement behind us, we can turn our attention to more interesting devices. Including the handsets that I’m most eagerly awaiting, the new generation Google Pixels.

And today, we finally have some concrete news about the timing of these devices. Google will formally announce its new Pixel family on October 4, exactly one year after it unveiled the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL.

We know this because Google has erected an empty new website for the devices, and is teasing the launch on YouTube.

The teaser video provides a few vague clues about what we can expect from the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 (as I’ll call them until we have the official names):

  • Better battery life
  • More storage or at least better storage management
  • Superior camera
  • Improved Google Assistant
  • Monthly updates
  • Excellent performance
  • Runs cool, not hot
  • Solid build quality

And we also learned today—in my case from Android Police—that the Pixel XL 2 has achieved FCC certification ahead of launch. The FCC filing comfirms that LG is building the device for Google as rumored. But nothing else.

I am cautiously optimistic about the new Pixels.

As you may know, I’m switching to Android this week, and will be using my current Pixel XL for the short term. I have a rough history with this device, which I find to be derivative, design-wise of the iPhone, with bland styling. And the performance falls apart over time; I know people take exception to my ongoing comments about this. Tough. It keeps happening. And it just happened again. So I’ll be blowing it away and doing a clean install (again) within the week.

(Full disclosure. Yes, I did test each Android 8.0 Oreo pre-release build in succession this year, and I agree that this may have impacted the performance of the device. But this isn’t new. This has been happening to the Pixel since I got it.)

Anyway, the Pixel XL 2 is my first choice for my next handset. I don’t care too much about the rumors, per se, but I need the camera to be at least as good as what I have with the Pixel XL today. Looking back at what I wrote about how Google should improve the next Pixel, I’ll note that only the following are top of mind today (though I agree with the full list):

Bigger display. The current Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED that is gorgeous to look at but seems small, somehow, compared to the similarly-sized iPhone 7 Plus. But what I really want is 6-ish inches, and preferably in a tall aspect ratio like we see on the Samsung Galaxy S8+ (which is still a contender, frankly) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (also a contender). If this is yet another Frankenstein-bezeled throwback, I will be hugely disappointed.

Camera. As noted, meeting the performance and quality of the current camera is the minimum. Better? Dual lenses. And Optical zoom.

Stereo speakers. I cannot explain how Google delivered a single mono speaker on its flagship handset in 2016. They cannot do so this year.

And I’m a realist, but I’d love to see Google (re)embrace the pricing structure that (sometimes) made its previous Nexus lineup so great. That is, it should not just price its phones inline with Apple and Samsung. It should instead undercut them by at least $100-$200 per phone. And you know I’m right, because no one is buying these phones. They need to get smart about this.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see what they do announce. Because that day will be the day that I decide which phone I’ll use next. Whether it’s a Pixel XL 2 or not.


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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Google Will Announce New Pixel Lineup on October 4”

  1. Polycrastinator

    I'm already kind of steeling myself for disappointment, for the fundamental reason that on reflection, I think most flagship phones are now good enough. My iPhone 6S is fast enough, the screen is good enough, and the camera is great. What else do I really want? The answer is, at least for me, that same screen size in a smaller form factor, but is that something to get excited about? Not really. Almost anything is going to feel iterative at this point, I think smartphones have really reached the point that laptops have. It's nice to get the yearly spec bump, but is it huge news? Probably not.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      It's like how happy I was when desktops got boring. I never cared how it looked, just how it worked, and when they got to the point that five years old still works just fine, well screw it! That's great!

  2. wolters

    I really liked the Pixel XL but never LOVED it. I fell back to it when the Note 7 debacle took place. Overall, it was a great phone with an excellent camera but wasn't AWESOME like I wanted/needed it to be. I never encountered the problems Paul mentioned but the upgrade to Oreo did cause a lot of Bluetooth issues and gasp, lag. I've upgraded to the Note 8 because I love the extra benefits that the Note phones provide and the camera is also excellent. I will be watching the Google event for sure...

  3. Chris Blair

    I'm considering a new iPhone or Android as my next mobile phone. I like the stock Android UI (having used it a while ago on tablets). But one of my goals is NOT to use any Google service that tracks my web browsing or other activities ... not because I use the web for anything nefarious ... but because I think selling my private information to 3rd parties without my permission IS nefarious. I also want to continue to use several Microsoft cloud services, primarily OneNote, OneDrive, and Outlook. With this starting point in mind, would I be happier with a new or near-new iPhone model (say the iPhone 7) or one of the forthcoming Pixels, assuming they are nice upgrades to the current Pixel models? PS - And price matters. I'm not going to spend $1,000 on a new phone. I'm more in the $500 +/- range.

  4. Michael Rivers

    I'm more interested in seeing if and how much they drop the price of the old Pixels. It would be really great to have something in the $400 range to compete with other mid-priced phones. Otherwise, Project Fi is a low-priced service with only high-priced phones, which is weird.

  5. Patrick3D

    The storage solution is no doubt going to be blending storage with a Google Drive account. Automatically syncing the files you use most often, etc... Kind of like a hybrid hard drive that uses an SSD cache. Will be interesting to see how the data plans work out for that, if it's "Fi" only or if carriers also support it on an unlimited basis.

  6. webdev511

    I guess we'll see what drops next month. If they're still kind of "meh" devices I'll just keep using my Nexus 6p for another year. It really is too bad you can't get a Samsung Galaxy 8 that's fully compatible with Fi or that will get monthly updates as they're released because that might be almost perfect.

  7. Bats

    The reason for one speaker on the 2016 Pixel is because Huawei wanted their name somewhere on the phone and Google refused. As a result, they went to the HTC who could develop and manufacture the Pixel in the specific timeframe Google needed.

    As for the performance's face it, Paul doesn't know how to use Android. With newer technologies such as Doze, I have no problem going almost 36 hours without a battery charge. In addition, all my apps are legit, and only update via a wifi and power plugged-in connection. I don't know how many apps I have on my phone, but they are all legit apps and I don't have most of them running in the background. Android is so OPEN, unlike iPhone, it can be customized to do anything including battery life preservation and performance consistency.

    The fact, that Paul is a "new" Android user and has criticized the Pixel with very little knowledge of how Android works is unfair and unprofessional. After all, this is a guy who highly endorsed Arrow Launcher calling it the best launcher for Android and then goes around and talks about the benefits of the pure Google experience. Huh? This is a self admitted FULL TIME iPhone user, who criticized Pixel with a "First Impressions" review and a "Morning After" Huh? As a full time iPhone user, he admits that the Pixel has a superior camera and thus, with Project Fi, brings it with him to his European trip. Without knowing how the Android phone works and putting it to the test is like a business performing upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 during a mission critical project. Huh? Huh? about iPhone performance study reported that the iPhone users have experienced the inability touch screen to be less responsive or completely unresponsive. In addition to performance issues, it's been reported that iPhone also had headphone, overheating issues, and crashing apps. People this information is not hard to find. Just go to the Apple Support site and read all of this. LOL....and Paul wants us to believe that his iPhone experience has *quote-unquote* performance consistency? LOL..that's the truth, and if anyone has a problem *coughPaulcough* with that,....Tough.

    • ozaz

      In reply to Bats:

      Knowledge of how Android works ???

      Its a mainstream phone OS, not a scientific theory. If it doesn't work well for people without specialist interest in it, then it's not working as well as it should.

      By the way, I'm not criticising Android. It's my preferred phone OS. I'm criticising the notion that someone has to have deep knowledge of it to be critical of it.

    • Mcgillivray

      In reply to Bats:
      So, it sounds like what you're saying is if a person who is very well versed in technology, and lives and tries all aspects of technology and is unable to get a smooth experience in Android - then it must be only his fault because he is new - and the millions of other new users to the technology are....? Not sure what you're really trying to say. You make it sound like because someone is newer to a certain way of doing things then their experiences and observations should not be taken seriously until they are proficient in what they are using? Again, so all new users to Android should just not ever say anything negative about their experience because it's obviously their fault and inexperience?

      Also, not sure what a bad Android OS experience has to do with iPhone hardware problems like touch screens, overheating issues and headphone issues. Why would anyone want to go and read about hardware issues of Apple's products if they are just having a software issue with their Android phone? Really, that's supposed to make them feel better somehow?

      You might not like that Paul criticizing something he's not 100% proficient with seems unfair and unprofessional, to me, it just comes off as reality.

  8. markbyrn

    There's only one reason I continue to buy the Google flagships; I want stock Android and the latest updates.

  9. wshwe

    In the US I hope the new Pixels are released simultaneously on all 4 major carriers. IMHO making an exclusive deal with Verizon hurt sales of the Pixel. In today's world true flagship phones ought to be on all carriers. Most people buy their phones from carriers in the US.

  10. Tony Barrett

    It's not compulsory, but well advised that if you do a major Android upgrade, ie 7 to 8, that you do a factory reset afterwards. This will clear everything down, and reset values to the new version. You may be ok if you don't do this, but it is advisable. Assuming you have sync turned on, everything should restore as you had it. It's usually pretty painless.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, re-loading the OS after wiping it is often the only fix. Same for iPhones (I've personally seen this method fix lots of performance issues on iPhones, so yes, it is a problem even in the Apple camp). Same for Windows 10 too. And yes, sometimes even on Chromebooks this happens.

    • wolters

      In reply to ghostrider:

      This may explain the Bluetooth and lag issues after I received the official Oreo update on my Pixel XL.

  11. Amal Alphonse

    Paul, do you plan to review the OnePlus 5? I just got it and would be interested to hear your thoughts.

  12. jimchamplin

    If the Pixel 2 is cheaper than Los iPhones, there's a distinct possibility that I may jump ship come May '18 unless AT&T can't get them or something. Maybe? Who knows? I mean, I don't dislike my 6S by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not so caught up in the size of the damn bezel that it makes much impact on my purchasing choice. How the thing feels in my hand is an order of magnitude more important than the border around the screen. I'm not looking at that. I'm looking at the things on the screen.

    Sure these postmodernist flights of fancy are nice looking, but it's just another step toward making the things into floor magnets. The easier you make it to break the glass, the more the device is drawn to cement. (No, not really, but it's one of Murphy's laws.) I'll take survivable and giant battery over thin and breaky any day. If only someone gave me that option.

    • Jaxidian

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Rumor has it that AT&T won't sell the Pixel 2 phones. But you can buy it from Google and it'll work great on AT&T's network. Google has financing options if that's the reason you're waiting until May '18.

      While Google doesn't have physical retail locations, their support has been top notch for me and many others, including sending RMA replacements for out-of-warranty phones and everything! I've bought a lot of things from Google directly and have had to deal with them numerous times. I even sold an old Nexus phone to somebody (on Swappa - it's like eBay) who later had issues and the Google Support folks sent that guy an out-of-warranty RMA replacement after I confirmed that I had indeed sold it to that guy.

  13. Nicholas Kathrein

    Kind of the like the iPhone but not to the same extent we kind of already know what the pixel will look like. It will be similar to the LG G6 on the front and an evolution of the Pixel XL on the back meaning you'll now it's a pixel by the design but it looks a little more refined. Water resistance should be here but no head phone jack :(. We know just need to know more on software and camera. I'm getting one as my Nexus 6P is going on 2yrs so it's time to upgrade.

  14. MikeGalos

    So, from what we can expect from the "Pixel2" family, the current Pixel has:

    Bad battery life

    Poor storage or at least better storage management

    Inferior camera

    Google Assistant that needs improvement

    Infrequent updates

    Poor performance

    Runs hot, not cool

    Flimsy build quality

    Seems like that should all have been in all the reviews if it's true enough that these improvements are worth calling out in the replacement.