The Nexus brand is dead. In its place is the Google Pixel. But what does 2017 have in store for Google’s next Pixel release?

On 12 September 2017, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were showcased to the world. It’s now Google’s turn to launch a new phone. Expected in October 2017, the Pixel range is due for an upgrade. Given Google’ incredible post-image processing capabilities, we are expecting the new Pixel 2 to walk over the new Apple iPhone’s camera capabilities.

After Android 8.0 Oreo was recently announced, we also expect the new Google Pixel 2 to ship with the latest iteration of Android.

Here’s what Apple said about its iPhone X at launch:

“iPhone X is the future of the smartphone. It is packed with incredible new technologies, like the innovative TrueDepth camera system, beautiful Super Retina display and super fast A11 Bionic chip with neural engine,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone X enables fluid new user experiences — from unlocking your iPhone with Face ID, to playing immersive AR games, to sharing Animoji in Messages — it is the beginning of the next ten years for iPhone.”

The iPhone X is DEADLY expensive though, between $1000-1150, and this, in my view, gives Google a rather unique opportunity of outdoing the iPhone-maker in terms of design, specs and overall pricing.

Like other manufacturers (namely, Apple), it seems that Google is ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack for the newer USB-C jack – this is based on new Pixel 2 cases from Olixar, who provide cases for all sorts of smartphones. The company has announced their new line of Pixel 2 and Pixel XL cases and there’s not a single headset jack in sight.





A few other tidbits can be gained from this premature announcement too. For one, the square glass window at the rear seems to have shrunk in size, and there seems to be only the one rear camera. The front bezels seem to be a good chunk smaller too, so perhaps we’ll see Google go the Galaxy S8 route?

But the reason for this is that the Pixel 2 is nearing its launch, which brings me to my next point: what will the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel XL 2 bring to the party?

New specs, improved imaging, better displays, and improved design are all standard updates. These will happen and their implementation will be greatly appreciated. For me, though, something like SD-support, water and dust-proofing and a decent audio DAC, while superfluous in the eyes of many Google execs, would also be excellent additions.

Leaks have confirmed that Google is bringing an edge-to-edge display this year as well, meaning the Google Pixel 2 will look a lot closer to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Apple’s incoming iPhone 8 than it does to the current model. One aspect of the Pixel 2 that I am not very happy about, however, is that Google has apparently nixed the headphone jack on the phones, following Apple’s lead with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

This means, if you go for the Google Pixel 2, you will have to buy some wireless headphones in order to listen to music, which, for me, kind of sucks. I don’t mind wireless headphones, but I like to have the option of plugging in directly – and I want that choice to be mine, not the phone’s maker.

Google’s Pixel 2 will also feature an always-on display for easier access to important notifications, as well as a squeezable chassis, like the HTC U11, that can be used to access things like Google Assistant or to answer incoming calls.

“The phone will also let users select different display profiles from the Settings app,” reports BGR, “including a normal screen mode as well as a ‘Vivid Colors’ option. The phone’s default theme will be dark, the report says, and users will get to experience a Pixel Phone Tour tutorial when setting up the handset.”



To be honest, if Google augmented the design – i.e. made it more interesting –, added dust and waterproofing, SD-support and more storage (make 64GB the base model and add in options for 128GB and 256GB), I’d be more or less happy to upgrade.

RAM, chipsets and all that jazz are just par for the course these days. The key areas where Google, Apple and Samsung will begin differentiating their products is to do with things like personal assistants, camera technology and, FINALLY, battery life.

Finally, things like AR are going to be the big driving factors of change, revenue and market share in years to come. Expect to hear A LOT about AR in the coming months and years and, more specifically, how it will change your life.

VR hasn’t taken off just yet; not really. And the reason for this is that its applications, while impressive, are limited compared to AR, which offers up unlimited applications to big advertising companies like Google.

The first place AR will be experimented with is on phones. This is why Google has Tango and it is also why Apple is buying up AR firms left, right and centre. I cannot wait to see some of the stuff that happens in this niche during 2018/19, as this is the period in which AR will be more mainstream.



Important Question – Pixel 2 will be available “Only on Verizon” again?

Last year, the Pixel and Pixel XL were available at Verizon stores. You probably heard commercials mention the Pixel was available “only on Verizon.” This was confusing because the Pixel was also available directly from Google and a few other places. Plus, the model sold at Verizon stores wasn’t any different than the model sold by Google. It was compatible with all carriers.

Verizon was only the exclusive retail partner, but that lead a lot of people to believe the Pixel only worked on Verizon’s network. Well, it sounds like the Pixel 2 is going to have the same problem. According to David Ruddock, the Pixel 2 will be Verizon-only in the U.S. again. It will also be sold from Google and probably Project Fi.

It’s obviously smart to partner with such a huge retail presence like Verizon, but it does create some customer confusion. Google had their own ads for the Pixel last year, but they were dwarfed by Verizon’s massive marketing campaign (which is another good reason to partner with Verizon). Hopefully, this year they can get the word out to customers on other carriers.

Sales for the original Pixel weren’t great compared to Samsung and Apple figures, so the idea that Google would do an incremental update for 2017 doesn’t really stack up – it needs to be shifting 10x the amount before it can start pulling stuff like that.

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  • Marcelo Reis

    Bringing QI back would be very nice too. At least, now that the iPhone has it, I don’t see Samsung or LG dumping it any time soon.