Google Pixel was one of the best Android smartphones of 2016. Google fans are now eagerly waiting for the next iteration of Pixel, which is coming out later this year. Now a person who has spent time with at least one model of the upcoming phone has revealed the specification of Google Pixel XL 2 and its smaller sibling. Previously, it was rumored that Google was working on three different models of Pixel 2: Walleye, Muskie, and Taimen.

Google Pixel XL 2
Image Source: Google Store (screenshot)

Google Pixel XL 2 would lack a dual camera setup

A report earlier this month claimed that Google had killed the middle model Muskie, meaning it would be releasing the standard Walleye and the larger Taimen phones. An unnamed source told XDA Developers over the weekend that the Taimen aka Google Pixel XL 2 would feature a 5.99-inch OLED display with 1440p resolution. The device will have slimmer bezels than the original Pixel XL, but it would not be completely bezel-less like Samsung Galaxy S8.

The source added that Pixel XL 2 would have 4GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The smartphone would be powered by Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 835 processor with 2.45GHz clock speed. Qualcomm is said to launch Snapdragon 836, an improved version of SD835, later this year. It is unclear whether Google would stick to Snapdragon 835 or opt for the newer chipset.

The source told XDA Developers that Pixel XL 2 would come with a two-tone glass and metal finish, similar to last year’s Pixel phones. However, the glass window will be located near the top this time, meaning it would no longer enclose the fingerprint sensor. The Google Pixel XL 2 would have a single camera with dual LED flash on the back. That’s quite surprising considering its biggest competitors Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 are both said to have a dual camera system. Even the new OnePlus 5 has a dual camera setup.

New Pixel phones to ditch the headphone jack

The smaller Walleye aka Google Pixel 2 would feature a 4.97-inch display, said the source. It would have a resolution of 1080p rather than 1440p. This phone will also feature 4GB RAM and Snapdragon 835 processor, though it would have an internal storage of only 64GB. According to XDA Developers, its design would be “almost identical” to last year’s Google Pixel.

Surprisingly, Google is planning to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s unclear at this point whether only one version would lack the headphone jack or both. The headphone jack would be replaced by stereo speakers. Last year after Apple dropped the feature from the iPhone 7, Google proudly stated that its Pixel phones had a headphone jack.

Is Google planning to bring back Nexus phones?

Just a few days ago, Japanese blog HTC Soku discovered references to Google Pixel 2 in the HTC U11 system files.  HTC was reportedly working on the Walleye and Muskie devices before Google killed Muskie. HTC had code-named last year’s Google Pixel and Pixel XL as S1 and M1. The HTC U11 system files contain references to S2 and M2, which could be the code names for Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2.

Now that Google has decided not to launch Muskie, HTC would be responsible only for S2 or Google Pixel 2. As for Taimen or Google Pixel XL 2, Google has joined hands with LG Electronics for its production. Google and LG had worked together on the Nexus phones. The US search engine giant is also in talks to invest $880 million in LG Display to secure the supply of OLED panels for the new Pixel devices.

The source told XDA Developers that the pre-production software that they used on Taimen (Google Pixel XL 2) referred to the phone’s fingerprint sensor as “Nexus Imprint.” The software in Walleye referred to it as “Pixel Imprint.” Does it mean that Google is planning to bring back Nexus? LG, which would make Taimen, was also responsible for Nexus devices. It’s too early to ascertain whether Taimen is Google Pixel XL 2 or a Nexus phone.

Google Pixel 2 release date

The Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 are said to arrive in October, ahead of the holiday shopping season. It would hit the store shelves around the same time as Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8. Google has told media that the new Pixel phones would continue to cater to the premium segment, which means they would cost as much as the current Pixel phones or higher. The Google Pixel currently sells at $649 while its bigger sibling costs $769.

If XDA Developers’ report turns out to be true, Google Pixel 2 with no dual camera system and edge-to-edge display would have a tough time competing with the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8, its two biggest competitors. Both the iPhone 8 and Note 8 would have a dual camera setup on the back panel. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the Note 8 dual camera would be even better than the iPhone 7 Plus. The 10th anniversary iPhone is expected to further close the gap between smartphone and DSLR cameras.