The original Google Pixel was unveiled on October 4th last year. The second-generation Pixel phones could be unveiled on the same date if a new report is to be believed. It means we are only about three weeks away from getting our first official look at the Pixel 2. A billboard spotted by a Droid Life reader indicates that the Pixel 2 launch event will take place on Wednesday, October 4.

Google Pixel 2 Launch Event
Image Credit: Droid Life (screenshot)

Pixel 2 launch event date: Who placed the billboard?

The billboard appeared in Boston. It includes the caption “Ask more of your phone” along with Google’s ‘G’ logo and the date Oct.4 at the bottom. It’s possible that the billboard refers to something else. But given the timing, Droid Life believes it is most likely the Pixel 2 launch event date. The device is expected to go on sale around mid-October.

Last month, the ever-reliable Twitter tipster Evan Blass claimed the Pixel 2 would be unveiled on October 5. Blass added that the device would be powered by the Snapdragon 836 SoC, a slightly improved version of the SD835 that powers the Galaxy S8 and OnePlus 5. However, more recent rumors suggest the new Pixel phones would run Snapdragon 835 because the SD836 has apparently been delayed. Blass later tweeted that the Snapdragon 836 would now launch early next year under a different branding.

Pixel XL 2 gets FCC certification

Ahead of the unveiling, the larger Pixel XL 2 has been spotted passing through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification process. The smaller Pixel 2 was seen making its way through the FCC last month. The model number of Pixel XL 2 confirms that it will be manufactured by LG Electronics. HTC, which made both the Pixel devices last year, will be making only the smaller Pixel 2 this year.

According to the filing, the Pixel XL 2 FCC ID is ZNFG011C. ZNF is the FCC grantee code for LG Electronics. The phone’s model number is G011C. The smaller Pixel 2’s model number is G011A. So, what happened to G011B? It could have been a third device code-named Muskie that Google killed in favor of the LG-made Pixel XL 2. The Pixel XL 2 supports almost all the LTE bands from major US carriers, except for T-Mobile’s Band 71.

Google in talks to buy HTC

Just a few days ago, Commercial Times reported that Google was in advanced talks to acquire HTC’s mobile division. Though the deal size isn’t known, Google is expected to leave out HTC’s Vive VR operations. Sources told Commercial Times that the search engine giant would either buy out the entire mobile division of HTC or take a controlling stake.

HTC and Google have been long time partners. HTC made the last year’s Pixel phones for Google. The two collaborated on the Nexus One in 2009, and later worked together on the Nexus 9 tablet. Bloomberg reported last month that HTC had approached multiple potential buyers, including Google. The Taiwan-based company’s market share has been shrinking for years as Chinese Android vendors began to dominate the market. Its revenues declined 54% in August 2017 compared to the same period last year.

Pixel 2 features and specifications

Ahead of the Pixel 2 launch event, the rumor mill has revealed almost everything about the device. We know that the Pixel 2 will feature a 4.97-inch OLED display, and the Pixel XL 2 would sport a 5.97-inch screen. It will have an Always-On display technology that allows users to see important updates, notifications, and time without touching the phone.

Both the handsets are expected to ship in 64GB and 128GB internal storage options. They will be powered by 4GB RAM, Snapdragon 835 SoC, and run Android 8.0 Oreo right out of the box. On the camera front, Google will stick to the single camera lens on the back. The Pixel 2 would feature a 12MP rear sensor with Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) rather than OIS. EIS helps take better pictures under low-light conditions.

The Pixel 2 would include a USB-C port, the IP68-rating for water- and dust-resistance, and a squeezable Active Edge frame. The squeezable frame will let users squeeze the phone’s frames to initiate certain features such as taking a selfie or launch an app such as Google Assistant. HTC’s U11 offers a similar Active Edge technology.

Remove the headphone jack, bring wireless headphones

In a surprising move, Google will remove the 3.5mm audio jack from the Pixel 2 phones. It will be interesting to see how the search engine giant will justify the removal of the headphone jack. Google was one of the many firms that took potshots at Apple last year for dropping the headphone jack. The company is expected to include a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle in the Pixel 2 box.

Google is also said to be working on a set of wireless headphones code-named “Bisto.” The new headphones will be similar to Apple’s AirPods. They will have a dedicated button to activate Google Assistant and respond to notifications without requiring the user to pull out the phone from their pocket. If the leaked Pixel 2 launch event date turns out to be true, we will soon find out what else Google has in store.