Google Pixel and Pixel XL were one of the best Android smartphones released last year. At the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh confirmed there would be Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2. Osterloh added that the next-gen Pixel smartphones would continue to cater to the premium segment. Last year’s phones had received mostly positive response from consumers.

pixel 2 is rumored
Image Source: Google Store (screenshot)

Google Pixel 2 phones code named ‘Muskie’ and ‘Walleye’

The Google Pixel 2 devices are already in the works. Last month, Android Police spotted the codename “Walleye” on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Another name “Muskie” was also later spotted on AOSP. The search engine giant has traditionally codenamed its flagship smartphones after aquatic animals. For instance, last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL were internally called “sailfish” and “marlin.”

Talking about aquatic creatures, muskies tend to be much larger than walleyes. It indicates that Google Pixel 2 is code named “Walleye” while its bigger sibling Pixel XL 2 is internally known as “Muskie.”

Meanwhile, a third device called “Taimen” has also been spotted on the AOSP. Interestingly, taimen weigh over 100kg, and they are larger than both muskies and walleyes. Does that mean Google is working on an even bigger phone to take on Samsung’s giant Galaxy S8 Plus? Little is known about the taimen device at this point, but it is speculated to be the internal name for the next-gen Nexus 7 tablet.

Which company is going to manufacture Google Pixel 2?

HTC, which is responsible for the current Pixel and Pixel XL, will also be making the Pixel 2 handsets. The Taiwanese company had bagged a two-year contract from Google for Pixel smartphones. However, HTC is competing with three other manufacturers – LG, TCL, and Coolpad – to get the contract for the next year’s Pixel 3 devices.

According to DigiTimes, LG Electronics is the front-runner for the Pixel 3 contract. LG was the manufacturer of Google’s Nexus devices including Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 5X. The order size for the Google Pixel 2 is not yet known. HTC has shipped more than 2.1 million original Pixel and Pixel XL phones since their launch. Sources told DigiTimes the Pixel 3 orders could reach up to five million units.

Google Pixel 2 hardware specs

We are still in the early stages of Pixel 2 rumors. The current Pixel devices are good, but there is still plenty of room for improvements. First off, the Pixel 2 is rumored to have an entirely new look and feel. The last year’s Pixel phones were dull and conventional in terms of design. Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus with their bezel-less display and sleek design have raised the bar for premium smartphones.

The Google Pixel 2 has to match or exceed the Galaxy S8 to stay relevant in the premium segment. The Pixel 2 is rumored to switch to an OLED display that covers most of the front panel. Google’s flagship phones don’t have a home button on the front, which should make it easier to adopt the bezel-less display.

Most flagship smartphones, including the latest iPhones, now offer water-resistance capabilities. The current Pixel skipped the water- and dust-resistance features due to time constraints. You can expect the Pixel 2 to be water-proof.

Google Pixel 2 is rumored to have 128GB and 256GB of internal storage and a huge 6GB RAM. It would run Android 8.0 Oreo right out of the box. Google is reportedly working with chipmakers including Qualcomm to refine its CPU choice. The upcoming Pixel phones are expected to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chips built on 10nm manufacturing process. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 runs the same processor.

Little is known about the Pixel 2’s camera capabilities. Recent rumors suggest it would feature a 16MP main camera and an 8-megapixel front snapper. Google is especially concerned about enhancing the low-light photography. The company is working to optimize the camera software and hardware to deliver the maximum results even with the standard megapixel count. Google Pixel 2 is also rumored to offer virtual reality support.

What would happen to the headphone jack?

Will Google ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack? No one really knows for sure. But inside sources told 9to5Google that the search engine giant was planning to get rid of the audio jack. Apple has already moved away from the 3.5mm audio jack. Dropping it would allow Google to make its handsets slimmer and enhance waterproofing.

How much will it cost?

The current Google Pixel costs $649 while Pixel XL has been priced at $769 for the base model. Google has confirmed that the upcoming flagship phones would continue to target the premium segment. Don’t expect them to be cheaper than $649. According to reports, the base model of Google Pixel 2 could be priced at $699. The company charges an additional $120 for the XL variant.