Ahead of the Google Pixel 2 launch, the prices of the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL have been slashed. Clearly Google is clearing the way for the sequel to its smartphone, as the mega-corporation has reduced the price of its existing smartphones by $200.

Pixel 2 launch
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Launch date

This could mean that the Google Pixel 2 launch is imminent. However, Google is also likely to allow a little buffer zone between this decision and the ultimate release of the next-generation smartphone, in order to enable the move to impact on sales.

And some of the deals available for the original Google Pixel are certainly attractive. Verizon is offering the 32GB version of the smartphone for a mere $420. Meanwhile, the same model of the Google Pixel XL (32GB) is now retailing for $540.

What this tells us about the Google Pixel 2 launch is that the smartphone is likely to be competitively priced once more. Google is continuing with its aggressive pricing strategy in an attempt to rival the market-leading devices from Apple and Samsung, and this means that the $699 price tag that has been linked with the Google Pixel 2 is looking increasingly likely. This would make the unit an obvious rival to the recently released OnePlus 5 as well.

Despite the price slashing of the current generation of Pixel devices, it is still likely with this aim in mind that Google will delay the release of the Pixel 2. With Samsung expected to unveil the Galaxy Note 8 before the and of August, and the release of the OLED iPhone 8 due for September, Google is likely to postpone the release window for the Google Pixel 2 until October.

Headphone jack

One aspect of the Google Pixel 2 launch that may prove to be contentious is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. This had already been strongly expected based on media reports, but new information that has recently come to light has solidified this possibility.

Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka @OneLeaks, is considered one of the most accurate leakers in the consumer electronics world. And Hemmerstoffer has just gone on the record regarding the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, revealing detailed 3D renders of the two handsets. And these images indeed reveal that Google is about to scrap the headphone socket when its next-generation smartphone is released.

If Google does indeed implement this policy for the Google Pixel 2 generation, it will mean that purchasers of the device are left with a solitary USB Type-C port for headphones, or the option of going wireless. This may not be a particularly popular decision, as there were numerous critics of Apple’s scrapping of the iPhone 7 headphone Jack.

It is also notable that Google had previously boasted about the inclusion of the port in the Google Pixel XL, so it would be somewhat surprisingly for it to now scrap this aspect of the smartphone just twelve months later.

Camera bulge

Another tangible element of the renders produced by @OneLeaks is the slightly bulky camera which has already drawn comments on social media in particular. Many considered the camera included in the previous Google Pixel 2 to be the best available in the smartphone world, while the finish was also praised in comparison to the unsightly bulges of the Galaxy and iPhone units.

So it would be somewhat surprisingly and disappointing if the Google Pixel 2 launch reveals a protruding rear camera. Aside from aesthetic considerations, it also means that the smartphone will be harder to utilize on flat surfaces. There can also be problems with the camera ring in such situations, with the likelihood that it will dent and scratch as it hits the surface every time the phone is rested somewhere.

On the plus side, it is possible that the inclusion of optical image stabilization has necessitated this bulge, and this would be good news for Google consumers. While the Google Pixel camera was praised for its photographic capabilities, it did disappoint slightly when shooting video. OIS would help to address this deficiency, and would certainly be an extremely welcome inclusion.

Nonetheless, Hemmerstoffer is reportedly extremely confident about the renders, indicating to a reporter that he is 99.99 per cent confident about the authenticity of the images. So we can pencil in a camera bump and the elimination of the headphone jack for the next-generation smartphone.

Other specs

Aside from these design features, the Google Pixel 2 launch is expected to reveal a smartphone manufactured from aluminum and glass. A 6-inch XL version will be made available, while the display of the device is set to deliver Quad HD resolution. The resolution of the 6-inch model is believed to be 2,880 x 1,440, which is identical to that of the LG G6.

One of the most interesting features being linked with the Google Pixel 2 is the inclusion of a squeezable frame. This innovation will make it possible to launch either applications or shortcuts when gripping the Pixel 2 in a pressure-sensitive fashion.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Pixel 2 will have some of the most impressive specs available in the smartphone niche, possibly even superior to those of the Galaxy S8. Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 835 chip and 4GB of RAM have been linked with the mobile, and this will ensure that the Pixel 2 generation delivers slick performance.

XDA Developers has also reported that the Pixel 2 will benefit from an ambient always-on screen, meaning that display items such as notifications, clocks and calendars will be available on the screen even in standby mode. This has already been included in the Galaxy S8, and is a very welcome and nifty feature.

Overall, it seems that the Google Pixel 2 launch is beginning to take shape, with an impressive smartphone performer promised at an affordable price point. It suggests that 2017 could be the year that Google becomes a major player in the smartphone marketplace.