Android fans who are suffering from iPhone envy will only have a few more weeks to compose themselves. On October 4, two weeks from today, Google will announce its next-generation Android flagships.
Google is teasing the October 4 event via the video above and via Twitter. And it has apparently sent out invites to bloggers and press, too. Though I am not on that list, sadly.
I should work on that. But in the meantime, here’s what we know. And what we think we know.
New brand. As rumored, Google is for some reason switching from the Nexus brand to Pixel, the brand it previously used for in-house created products.
Two handsets. Google will introduce a 5-inch Pixel smartphone that will replace the Nexus 5X and a 5.5-inch Pixel XL that will replace the Nexus 6P.
Familiar designs. Like the current Nexus devices, the new Pixel handsets will feature a fingerprint reader on the back. But they will probably come in some new colors and materials, too. A leaked image in a coming Nest commercial shows off a white version, for example.
They could be expensive. At least one report suggests that the lower-end Pixel could start at $649, which is much more expensive that today’s Nexus 5X, which starts at just $349. That would be a mistake, and as I’ve noted in the past, Google almost sunk the Nexus line in 2014 when it offered expensive, lackluster products like the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9.
Google will offer financing. You can already finance a Nexus phone if you do so through the excellent Project Fi service, but rumors suggest that Google will open up device financing to everyone now.
Not just handsets. A 4K-capable Chromecast is also expected at the event, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t learn more about Google Home, which you’ll recall was set to launch late this year. Plus a Google-branded Daydream VR headset should debut too.
And to be clear, the stakes are pretty high this year, what with Samsung’s reputation tanking badly because of exploding battery problems—words I never thought I’d have to type—and because Apple’s iPhone juggernaut just keeps rolling on and on. Google has a high bar to pass if it wishes to compete effectively with the iPhone 7.
But I can’t wait: The Nexus 5X and 6P are great phones, Project Fi is an incredible service, and the current line of Chromecast devices is both affordable and excellent. So this October event should be pretty interesting. I’ll be live-tweeting it, of course, and will cover the news here on Thurrott.com. So stay tuned. 🙂