The rumor mill and supply chain leaks consistently suggest that the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 launch is imminent. The new Pixel phones are among the most anticipated smartphones of this year. A new Google Pixel XL 2 leak suggests that the device will have a squeezable frame similar to HTC’s latest U11 flagship. The smaller Pixel 2 is also expected to get the new technology. 

Google Pixel XL 2 Leak
Image Credit: David Ruddock / Android Police (screenshot)

Pixel XL 2 leak shows a gorgeous smartphone with a squeezable frame

David Ruddock of Android Police has published a Pixel XL 2 render based on information obtained from “extremely reliable” industry sources. The render has a 6-inch OLED display with slim bezels. The larger Pixel XL 2 is code-named Taimen and will be manufactured by LG Electronics. This time HTC is said to be responsible only for the Pixel 2.

The Pixel XL 2 leak suggests that the device has a “squeezable” frame. It will allow users to squeeze the frame to launch Google Assistant or other features such as the camera. Android Police claims the same technology that was used on HTC U11 will make its way into the Pixel 2. However, Google’s phones will offer an improved functionality. 

The Pixel XL 2 render sticks to the overall theme of the original Pixel, though it does introduce some changes. The phone has a 6-inch AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, similar to LG G6. It lacks the physical home button. It has rounded corners that give the phone a modern look. But it still doesn’t feel as gorgeous as Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which sports an Infinity display. 

Google won’t move to a dual camera system

Near the top, you can see a wide ear speaker grille, the front facing camera, and other sensors. The back panel is made out of glass and aluminum. The glass “window” has become smaller than it was on last year’s Pixel phones. As a result, the fingerprint sensor is placed in the aluminum part rather than the glass area. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will have a single camera setup on the back. 

Google seems confident that its Pixel 2 phones with a single rear camera will be able to compete against Apple’s iPhone 8 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, both of which will have a dual camera system. Last year’s Pixel phones had the best smartphone camera we have ever seen. We hope Google further improves the Pixel 2 camera through software optimization.

It is unclear from Android Police’s Pixel XL 2 render whether the rear camera is flush with the glass panel or protrudes. The silver ring around the camera lens indicates that it may protrude a little. The render doesn’t have the antenna lines. This is not the first Google Pixel XL 2 leak that has surfaced online. But it does offer a clear look at the upcoming flagship.

Pixel 2 to feature SD836, no headphone jack

The Pixel 2 is said to feature 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Recent rumors suggest that the upcoming Pixel phones will be powered by Qualcomm’s upgraded Snapdragon 836 SoC. It will be a minor upgrade over the SD835, just like last year’s SD821 was an upgrade over the SD820. In a surprise move, Google will reportedly drop the headphone jack from Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2.

It’s unclear why Google wants to ditch the 3.5mm audio jack on its upcoming flagship. It could be because removing the headphone jack will help make the Pixel 2 more waterproof, a capability that the original Pixel lacked. It could also be because Google wants to go completely wireless with its smartphones. The upcoming Android O will support more advanced Bluetooth codecs such as aptX and LDAC that will offer better audio experience over Bluetooth than older codecs like SBC and AAC.

Android O to be released next week?

VentureBeat contributor and reliable tipster Evan Blass has learned from his sources that we would get to learn what “O” stands for in Android O on August 21. The search engine giant has already released the last Android O Developer Preview (version 4). Blass says the company will unveil the new OS during the week of August 21, most likely on 21st itself.

The tipster did not reveal which devices would get the software update. We can expect it to arrive on Pixel and Pixel XL. Third-party smartphones such as LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 are expected to get it later this year or early next year. The Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will come with Android O pre-installed. The new OS will bring picture-in-picture video, better copy-and-paste feature, and more organized notifications.

Google Pixel prices reduced ahead of Pixel 2 launch

Google Pixel 2 is expected to launch in October, in time for the holiday shopping season. Ahead of the Pixel 2 debut, Google has slashed the prices of its current Pixel phones by as much as $200. The Pixel XL, which has a standard price tag of $769, is currently available on Google Store for $569. The regular Pixel has also come down from $649 to $524. The company is also giving away a free Google Daydream View VR headset with each new Pixel.