LATEST: As the Google Pixel 2 is unveiled, it seems that purchasers of the device may not get everything that they bargained for. Many consumers had hoped that the unlimited high quality cloud storage for photos and videos provided in Google Photos would last indefinitely. But the terms and conditions of the Google Pixel 2 have now revealed that this in fact runs out in 2021.

Google Pixel 2 vs iPhone 8
Image Source: Google Store (screenshot)

This still provides three years of excellent coverage, but is not as permanent as many might have anticipated. This can be considered rather jarring as the original Pixel and Pixel XL didn’t suffer from such limitations.

Google has been keen to emphasize that it will not compress any photographs captured in 4K quality once this date is passed, but it will still be a decision criticized by many consumers.

Specs

The specs of the two Pixel devices have now been settled, of course, and the picture painted by them is of two particularly capable devices. Firstly, the camera of the Pixel 2 generation has already been hugely praised, with testing indicating that it essentially outperforms every existing smartphone snapper. This is no mean feat, and particularly impressive considering that Google opted against including a dual-camera in this device.

Elsewhere, the six-inch screen of the Pixel XL is considered particularly impressive, although the five-inch full HD display in the Pixel smartphone is pretty nifty as well. While the elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack has not met with universal approval, the inclusion of USB-C is certainly a pleasant aspect of the Pixel 2 generation.

With increases in central aspects of smartphone technology such as memory, storage and battery life also included, the Pixel 2 has already impressed consumers and critics alike.

Price

It must be said that the price of the Pixel 2 has raised a few eyebrows, even though the smartphone version of the device remains rather affordable. The original Pixel indeed retailed at $649, and this price tag was frozen for the release of the Pixel 2. However, with the Pixel 2 XL weighing in at $849 for the most affordable version, this smartphone is certainly veering into the Apple and Samsung ballpark.

And it is highly doubtful whether a Google handset can really compete with the iPhone and Galaxy ranges at this price point.

Deals

Under these circumstances, it is obvious that deals for the Google Pixel 2 will become even more important than usual, and there are already many savings available in the United States. In fact, Google Pixel 2 deals have been made available two weeks before the smartphone even ships to its first customers, which will be a relief for many fans of the Android device.

Verizon has already made the device available to pre-order, with the carrier enabling users to split up the payments over 24 months. Users will pay the unlikely figure of $27.0 over this period on a monthly basis, although the carrier also charges a $30 activation fee. However, Verizon is willing to waive the $35 restocking fee for those consumers who decided against keeping the smartphone, but this must occur within fourteen days of purchase in order to be claimed.

Free speaker

Verizon also offers an excellent deal which provides a free Google Home Mini speaker when you purchase the new phone and take advantage of Verizon’s phone trade-in offer. This is certainly worth considering for those looking to enter the home speaker market.

Trade-in deals

There is also money available via trade-in deals, with Verizon offering as much as $300 discounts for old Google Pixel devices. This can be considered extremely valuable, considering that it essentially represents nearly half of the monthly fee for this smartphone. Of course, it is also dependent on the condition of the old handset being traded in.

There are plenty of other deals available from other carriers as well, but the ballpark figure of $27 per month gives a good representation of what consumers can expect to pay for the Pixel 2.

Google website

Another valuable aspect of the Google Pixel 2 generation is the trade-in program that Google has made available through Project Fi and the Google Store. This will enable consumers to trade-in a wide variety of devices direct to the manufacturer, with the website niftily handling the process.

Selecting your device, how much memory it currently possesses, and then verifying its condition is made pretty straightforward, and the website will quickly let users know how much value the smartphone in question still possesses. Google is even offering pretty decent levels of credit for Apple products, underlining the fact that the manufacturer is trying to make the Google Pixel 2 as attractive as possible to consumers, and even hoping for Apple fans to switch.

Whether or not this is realistic considering the popularity of the iPhone range, and the brand loyalty that Apple has achieved, is debatable. But it does show that Google has serious ambitions in the smartphone niche.

Pre-orders

In the United States, consumers can already make pre-orders for the Google Pixel 2. The Google Store, Best Buy, Project Fi, and Verizon begun accepting pre-orders on Wednesday, October 4, and thus the process is already well underway. Verizon Wireless customers will need to use the My Verizon app in order to pre-order, while the Google website is another rich source of pre-order options.

Best Buy also attempting to incite Google Pixel 2 uses to pre-order the smartphone by offering up to $100 back for pre-orders made through the big box retailer. There are certainly a wealth of options available for those interested in purchasing the Google Pixel 2, and this could turn out to be one of the smartest moves that Google has made in recent years.

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Update 03-10-2017: With just one day to go until the Google Pixel 2 is finally revealed, ValueWalk has all of the latest news on this major smartphone.

Blass leak

Firstly, a major new leak has provided an intriguing insight into the smartphone, and an unusually accurate one. While leaked images can be ten-a-penny and rather unreliable at the best of times, this particular leak can be considered credible, as it emanates from the prolific Evan Blass.

Google Pixel 2 Leak front face
IMAGE: Evan Blass / Twitter

The notorious leaker has provided images of the Google Pixel 2 which the Twitter contributor insists are legitimate. And the consensus of opinion is that they can be considered most likely to be accurate.

And the images reveal a Pixel 2 XL device with seriously slimmed down bezels, as has been suggested in the media on several occasions. The design of the premium model in the Pixel 2 series has received something of a makeover, after the original Google Pixel was somewhat criticized in this department.

The Ultra Pixel?

Another interesting rumor that has surprisingly emerged just 24 hours ahead of the October 4 reveal of the Google Pixel 2 is the existence of a completely new smartphone. Understandably, this is being taken with a liberal sprinkling of salt, but it is still interesting to look at the information in question.

YouTuber Mrwhosetheboss has allegedly received images and video from a source close to the Google supply chain who purports to have viewed Google’s upcoming smartphone. Shots and footage that appear in a YouTube video on this channel provide an insight into what seems to be presentation slides or marketing material on a computer display, referring to an entirely new Pixel unit.

This supposed new device will be branded as the ‘Ultra Pixel’ according to Mrwhosetheboss, with the name obviously implying that it will be superior in performance and specification to either of the Pixel 2 releases. However, although there are question marks regarding the authenticity of this information, there is another possible and valid explanation for the images.

Camera link

Google has been working internally on new camera functionality, and the involvement of HTC is particularly relevant to this purported branding. HTC already manufactures a range of cameras that it refers to as Ultra Pixel, so the screenshot could reference this technology migrating to the Google Pixel 2.

Screen-integrated scanner

Elsewhere, it is suggested that Google may have achieved a major coup, by beating Apple to the inclusion of screen-integrated scanners. It has been widely suggested that both Apple and Samsung have been working on fingerprint scanners intended to be integrated within the screens of future releases, but neither of the major mobile players have managed to deliver this as of yet.

But the aforementioned YouTube video suggests that the fingerprint scanner in the Google Pixel 2 may indeed appear under the display, which would be a major breakthrough for the manufacturer. If this does indeed transpire in the Pixel 2, we can expect Google to promote the scanner as a major selling point in initial marketing.

Google Pixel 2 Event
Image Source: Google (screenshot)

Staggered release

Another new report suggests that Google will take a leaf out of Apple’s book and stagger the release date of the two Pixel 2 releases. While it is absolutely anticipated that both the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL will be unveiled on October 4, the two smartphones will actually hit the stores at significantly different times.

While the smartphone version of the Google Pixel 2 will be shippable to customers as early as October 19, it won’t be possible to purchase the Pixel 2 XL until November 15. This latest information has reportedly come from within Google itself, with a source being cited who is familiar with the release plans of the next-generation smartphone.

This is one rumor that can be considered pretty likely, as it is becoming almost customary for manufacturers to delay the larger smartphone release in each series. This was the case with the recent iPhone 8 and iPhone X release, and is a pattern that we can expect to see repeated in the future. Quite simply, the larger, more premium handsets tend to be more challenging for manufacturers to deliver, and this can impact on the number of units available, as well as the rapidity of release.

Google Pixel 2 specs

Specs of the Pixel 2 generation have now been largely settled in the minds of the analyst community. The Pixel 2 XL will benefit from a larger 6-inch screen with Quad HD resolution, with the more affordable Pixel smartphone delivering a full HD and 5-inch screen. This disparity in size will be reflected in pricing, with the Pixel XL available for $649, and the Pixel 2 XL costing a rather pricey $849.

Both smartphones will benefit from the Snapdragon 835 processor and chipset, which has previously been utilized in Samsung products along with the HTC U11. Speaking of which, the Active Edge feature that has been linked with the Google Pixel 2 originally debuted in this smartphone, and HTC is now expected to play a major role in ensuring that it migrates to the new Google unit.

However, there is still some debate over whether or not the Active Edge functionality will appear in the Pixel 2 XL, with LG being involved in the manufacturing of this device, rather than HTC. Elsewhere, 64GB or 128GB of storage will be available, while Google is also expected to include dual-stereo speakers and remove the 3.5mm headphone jack. This latter decision has already been taken by Apple, of course, and is becoming increasingly compelling for other manufacturers.

Market challenges

However, as Google prepares for the most important hardware technology launch of its history, one analyst has suggested that the smartphone will face major challenges in the existing marketplace. Thomas Husson, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Forrester, suggest that it will be difficult for the manufacturer to compete directly with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

“Google’s positioning in the smartphone space is still unclear and there is a good reason for that: it can’t compete too directly with handset brands using Android in the high-end segment,” Husson commented.

The analyst also pointed to supply chain problems for Google. “I’d expect the new Pixel smartphones to showcase what is possible with Google’s latest software (like Oreo OS, Google Assistant, Google Lens). Despite the acquisition of key HTC assets, Google still needs to invest billions of dollars on sales and marketing and to build a global distribution network, should it want to become a serious player in that game,” Husson asserted.

Update 09-22-2017: The clock is counting down to the release of the Google Pixel 2, and more and more information is emerging on this smartphone range. Major leaks this week provided us with a real insight into the appearance and qualities of this smartphone contender, so without further ado let’s get into the most recent rumors.

Major leak

Droid Life is responsible for the latest leak, which certainly puts meat on the bones of the Google Pixel 2 XL phablet. The publication got its greasy paws on images, specs and pricing details relating to the forthcoming phablet, providing the general public with valuable information on this phablet device.

Google Pixel 2 Price
Image Source: Droid-Life.com (screenshot)

Firstly, Droid Life suggests that there will be three color options released for the Pixel 2 XL in 2017. Black and white versions of this mainstream phablet will be joined by a third model, which is apparently branded as Just Black. This color is likely to feature a significant sheen, and may be somewhat reminiscent of the Jet Black variants released in previous iPhone series.

Storage

There is also news on the quantity of storage to be included in the Google Pixel 2 XL. This is undoubtedly becoming an ever more important aspect of smartphone technology, as the amount of storage required by users increases exponentially.

So it is interesting to note that leaks in this department suggests that the maximum quantity made available by Google for this custom release will be 128GB. And there will also be a 64GB version of the smartphone that will effectively be the entry-level model.

Perhaps it is somewhat surprising that Google will not extend the storage further than this, considering that the Apple iPhone range has already delivered a 256GB unit. And Google seems determined to avoid the introduction of micro SD technology to its smartphone range; mirroring Apple policy in this department.

Price

The third critical element of the Droid Life leak has been the pricing of the next generation Google Pixel 2 XL devices. The publication suggests that the 64GB model of the Pixel 2 XL will cost $849, with the 128GB model increasing in price to $949. This suggests that the Pixel 2 will retail at around $749 for the entry-level unit.

This is undoubtedly the most important information to emerge on the Google Pixel 2 XL thus far. It is notable that the smartphone series will touch the price tag of the iPhone X, which can be considered somewhat surprising. The advantage of the Google Pixel range, and before this the Nexus releases from Google, were that they very much occupied the mid-range bracket in pricing. It is debatable whether the Google Pixel 2 XL can really compete with the iPhone series when priced similarly.

However, considering the improvements that Google is instigating in the Pixel 2 generation, it is possible that the smartphone will justify its heftier price tag over previous generations. But considering that there is only a $50 gap between the premium Pixel 2 XL model and the iPhone X, it is obvious that consumers will be faced with a genuine decision this year. Nonetheless, with the Pixel 2 being $100 cheaper, this can still be considered an affordable option.

Headphone jack and other specs

Another major aspect of the Google Pixel 2 which is virtually confirmed is the expulsion of the 3.5mm headphone jack from the device. Leaked images already suggest that this will be the case, meaning that Google will follow in the footsteps of Apple.

The Google Pixel 2 XL will benefit from a quad HD six-inch display, which does sound rather impressive. This is larger than the screen already included in the iPhone X earlier this year. Some unique camera functionality has also been linked with the device, although it is not expected to feature a duall-lens. 4GB of RAM and should be delivered, though.

However, early rumors that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 could be included in this mobile seem to be wide of the mark. Increasingly, it is reported that Google has instead opted for the more conservative inclusion of the Snapdragon 835, which already drove the Galaxy S8 earlier this year.

Google Pixel 2 Launch Date
Image: DroidLife

HTC deal

Elsewhere, it has been announced that Google has struck a massive deal with HTC, with the intention of extending its hardware business. The HTC deal is worth $1.1 billion, with the tie-in intended to be a major contributor to Google’s increasing prominence in hardware manufacturing.

However, the Californian company will not take a stake in the Taiwanese manufacturer as part of the deal. Instead, a raft of existing HTC staff will join Google, working on hardware products once they are under the Google umbrella. Google believes that the deal will be closed early in 2018, enabling the corporation to greatly expand its hardware efforts.

Whether this will have a major impact on the Google Pixel 2 remains to be seen, but it is certainly good news for the mega-corporation. And the involvement of HTC with the Google Pixel 2 series should certainly be influenced by this major collaboration.

Commenting on the merger, Rick Osterloh, an SVP at Google, spoke decisively about the potential of this arrangement to improve Google hardware products in the coming years.

“Last fall, we introduced our first family of Made by Google products, including Pixel smartphones, Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View and Chromecast Ultra, and we’re preparing to unveil our second generation of products on October 4. We’re excited about the 2017 lineup, but even more inspired by what’s in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years,” Osterloh commented.

And the SVP further outlined the plans to expand the Google operation via this collaboration with HTC.

“That’s why we’ve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organisation. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property,” Osterloh outlined.

This deal is certainly indicative of the intention of Google to become a major player in the smartphone market, and indeed hardware in general, and this could result in an outstanding Google Pixel 2 release just weeks from now.