The iPhones are known for offering the best possible user experience. An incredible user experience coupled with a beautiful design sets Apple apart in the smartphone industry. The rumor mill expects this year’s smartphone battle to rage between Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8. But there is one more Android phone that is gearing up to be a formidable challenger to both the iPhone 8 and Note 8. It’s the next-gen flagship Google Pixel 2.

Flagship Google Pixel 2
Image Credit: MySmartPrice.com / @OnLeaks (screenshot)

Flagship Google Pixel 2 renders reveal its design

Just like Apple, Google controls both the hardware and software of its phones. Last year’s Pixel didn’t have a great design, and it didn’t sell hundreds of millions of units. But it instantly built a cult following of people who love the pure Android experience. Its camera and hardware specifications were top notch. The supply chain leaks indicate that Pixel 2 will pose a serious challenge to the iPhone 8.

Earlier this week, reputed Twitter tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer, better known as @OnLeaks, collaborated with MySmartPrice to create Google Pixel 2 renders based on CAD drawings obtained from a factory. Given Steve’s impeccable track record, we can say that these renders are as close to the final design as they could be. Of course, Google could always make last minute changes to the design. But any change will likely make the device better, not worse.

The renders show a phone with a slimmer side, top and bottom bezels than the original Pixel. The SIM card slot is placed on the left side of the phone, while the power button and volume rockers sit on the right. The fingerprint sensor remains in the same spot, as does the Google logo. The device has a metal and glass body, though the rear glass panel has shrunk in size.

The renders show front-facing stereo speakers to enhance the audio experience. The stereo speaker is one of the top features in our Google Pixel 2 wishlist. There is also a USB C port for charging at the bottom. While last year’s Pixel phones were manufactured exclusively by HTC, this year HTC will be responsible only for the smaller Pixel 2. The larger Pixel 2 XL will be manufactured by LG Electronics.

Google won’t follow rivals in camera department

Google is going to take a different approach to the camera than its rivals. Most smartphone vendors are adding a dual camera system to their flagship smartphones. The flagship Google Pixel 2 will retain its single camera setup on the back. Last year’s Pixel had (and still has) one of the best smartphone cameras. The search engine giant is said to improve the camera through software algorithm.

Google is also rumored to add optical image stabilization to the Pixel 2 camera, which is why Steve’s renders show the rear camera bump. Last year’s Pixel scored 89 points on DxOMark camera benchmark, topping the list until HTC U11 pushed it down to the second position. We can expect the Pixel 2 to have an even better camera than the original Pixel.

Pixel 2 to go wireless, ditch the headphone jack

Yeah, Google mocked the iPhone 7 when Apple dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack from the device. A year later, Steve Hemmerstoffer claims Google itself is going to ditch the audio jack. The headphone jack is nice, but the world is increasingly becoming wireless. Also, the removal of the headphone jack makes room for the front-facing stereo speakers. Other vendors such as Motorola and HTC have also cut the audio jack.

Getting rid of the headphone jack will also allow Google to make the Pixel 2 water-resistant. The current Pixel phones come with merely an IP53 splash-resistance. It was a major drawback of Pixel devices. The Pixel 2 is expected to be IP68 rated, meaning it will be able to survive being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.

Flagship Google Pixel 2: Power and performance

Word in the rumor mill is that the Pixel 2 will be the first phone to feature the next-gen Snapdragon 836, an upgraded version of the current Snapdragon 835, which powers most of the flagship phones launched this year. The new chipset will offer better performance than its predecessor. The Pixel 2 is Google’s answer to the iPhone line. The search engine giant won’t compromise on performance.

The Pixel 2 is said to pack 4GB RAM. There is no word on storage yet. The 4GB RAM may seem insufficient to some considering other Android vendors are already offering phones with 6GB and 8GB RAM. Since Google controls both the software and hardware of Pixel phones, it will optimize the software to ensure blazing fast performance even with 4GB RAM.

The Pixel 2 will run pure Android O right out of the box. There will be no bloatware to slow the phone down. The Android O, currently in beta testing, will bring new features such as an improved battery life, picture-in-picture, adaptive icons, and tidier notifications.

Other expected features

According to supply chain leaks, the Pixel 2 will have an HTC U11-like squeezable frame that will offer shortcuts or launch apps when you squeeze the phone. The device would perform different functions based on how hard you squeeze it.

Sources told XDA Developers that the Pixel 2 would sport a 4.97-inch display and the Pixel 2 XL would come with a 5.99-inch screen. App developers have found hints within the Android O code that the flagship Google Pixel 2 would also feature an Always-On display.

If Google sticks to the same release timeframe as the original Pixel, we can expect the Pixel 2 to launch in October. Apple’s iPhone 8 is also rumored to launch around the same time. Apple has been facing technical challenges with some iPhone 8 features, which would delay its launch by a few weeks from the traditional release cycle.