Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL were launched to a positive response last year. Rick Osterloh, the hardware chief at Google, has hinted that successors to the Pixel and Pixel XL were already in the works, and they would continue to target the premium market. Now a new Google Pixel 2 concept has emerged, showing what Google’s 2017 flagship could look like.

Google Pixel 2 Concept Taimen
Image Source: Muhsin M. Belaal Auckburaully / DBS Designing / Behance.com

A stunning Google Pixel 2 concept

It is not the first Google Pixel 2 concept we have come across, but it certainly looks stunning. The concept designed by Muhsin M. Belaal Auckburaully was posted on YouTube by DBS Designing. Muhsin’s concept is based on recent rumors and the fact that most flagship phones this year are going bezel-less. There are no side bezels. The top and bottom bezels have been reduced significantly compared to the original Pixel.

The bezel-less display is a major shift from the dull and conventional design of the original Pixel. Most premium smartphones coming in 2017 sport a bezel-less display, or are rumored to opt for a bezel-less screen.

This Google Pixel 2 concept has dual cameras

The renders have no physical home button, and the fingerprint sensor is positioned on the back panel. Unlike Samsung Galaxy S8 which has the fingerprint scanner on the right side of the rear camera, Muhsin has placed the feature below the dual-camera system and LED flash. Yes, this Google Pixel 2 concept has two vertically arranged 12MP camera lenses on the back. The front camera is 7-megapixel.

The dual-camera setup was expected on the Pixel 2. Other flagship phones coming in the second half of this year such as the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8 are also rumored to sport dual cameras on the back. Muhsin imagines the device with a 5.7-inch Quad HD+ display, 6GB RAM, 128GB of built-in memory, IP68-level waterproofing, a USB Type-C port, and 3800mAh battery. It also offers support for Fast Charging.

Snapdragon 835 or Snapdragon 836?

The Pixel 2 may not require 6GB RAM, though. It will be the first smartphone to run the upcoming Android O right out of the box. The new Android OS will have a series of efficiency and performance-related optimizations that will reduce the need for more RAM.

The rumor mill claims the Google Pixel 2 would be powered by Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 835 SoC with Adreno 540 GPU. It’s the same processor that Samsung uses in the Galaxy S8. However, latest reports indicate that Qualcomm is working on an improved Snapdragon 836 chipset that would debut later this year. The Snapdragon 836 will be an improved version of Snapdragon 835, just like the Snapdragon 821 was an upgrade over the Snapdragon 820 last year. Pixel 2 could be one of the first phones to run the Snapdragon 836.

Google Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2 code names

The search engine giant has been working on the new flagship phone and Android O simultaneously. Back in March, Android fans discovered code names “walleye” and “muskie” in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Soon after, they found another code name “taimen” in the same AOSP. Google has a naming pattern where all its upcoming devices are internally named after aquatic animals.

These code names suggested that the search engine giant has been working on three Pixel phones. If you compare the sizes of muskie, walleye, and taimen, you’ll be able to relate the code names with Pixel 2 models. Walleye is the standard Google Pixel 2. Muskie is the bigger Pixel XL 2 and taimen is expected to be an even bigger model.

Google cancels muskie. Taimen to debut with walleye

Sources familiar with the matter told Android Police that Google had canceled the mid-sized muskie device. The company would launch walleye (Pixel 2) and taimen (likely to be called Pixel XL 2). Taimen is said to have an even bigger display than the current 5.5-inch Pixel XL.

Google is expected to retain the “XL” naming while increasing the phone’s display size. Considering the phone will have a bezel-less display, Google will be able to pack a larger screen without making the phone too large. It is unclear why the company decided to cancel the muskie. One reason could be that the Galaxy S8+ has a 6.2-inch display and the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 is said to feature a 6.3-inch display. So, a phone named Pixel XL 2 has to match them in screen size to justify the “XL” tag.

LG Electronics to manufacture Google Pixel XL 2 aka taimen?

After reports that Google has canceled muskie, folks at 9to5Google started digging into the Android Issue Tracker. They found that LG Electronics might be responsible for the production of taimen aka Google Pixel XL 2. Hosted by Google, the Android Issue Tracker is available publicly. 9to5Google found that an LG Electronics employee reported a “USB PD Compliance Failure.”

In response, a Google employee asked the LG employee to close the bug and move it under Android > Partner >External > LGE > Taimen > Power. Here LGE is a reference to LG Electronics and taimen is the larger Pixel XL 2. The bug report also reveals that the taimen is called as “G011C.” The publication speculates that the Google employee might simply be asking LG to hide the bug from the public.

LG and Google have had a long-standing partnership. The Nexus-branded phones were manufactured by LG. Earlier this year, Electronic Times reported that Google was in talks to invest $880 million in LG Display to secure the OLED panel supply for its upcoming phones.

However, the standard Google Pixel 2 is likely to be manufactured by HTC, which was responsible for the original Pixel phones. According to DigiTimes, Google had signed a two-year contract with HTC. The Taiwanese company will be responsible for at least one model.

Google Pixel 2 is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year to capitalize on the holiday sales. Last year’s Pixel devices were launched in early October. Since the company has signaled that the new phones would target the premium segment, we can expect them to cost at least as much as last year’s models. The 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL were priced at $649 and $769, respectively.