Google has already released the Android P developer preview, giving developers access to software that would run the Google Pixel 3 devices. The search engine giant hasn’t yet officially confirmed the existence of third-generation Pixel phones, neither have there been too many Google Pixel 3 leaks. But folks at XDA Developers have found first references to Google Pixel 3 in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Mishaal Rahman of XDA Developers found in a commit titled Cherrypick “Add device config to decide which Auto Selection Network UI to use” that a new configuration has been added to the Android framework. The new configuration was added because “the HAL V_1_2 only supports Pixel 3, and the new Auto Selection Network UI is based on HAL V_1_2.” Here HAL refers to a Hardware Abstraction Layer that acts as a bridge between the Android framework and the hardware.
XDA Developers says the HAL mentioned in the AOSP refers to radio HAL, which means the Google Pixel 3 would offer improved networking. The source code also contains references to a new NetworkScan API. Mishaal speculates that the new radio HAL and the NetworkScan API could together reduce the battery power used for cellular network scans. Display and network scanning are the two most battery-hungry features.
The California company hasn’t released the complete source code for the Android P preview version. Google doesn’t usually put important information about its yet-to-launch products in public repositories. But sometimes details accidentally slip out in the open. The Android P is expected to come pre-installed on the Pixel 3. Though there has been a scarcity of Google Pixel 3 leaks, the Android P developer preview offers tons of clues about Google’s next-gen flagship smartphones.
The preview build suggests that Google will add native support for iPhone X-like top notch in Android P. Almost a dozen Android handsets have already copied the cutout, and Google Pixel 3 is also rumored to borrow the notch from the iPhone X. The Android P developer preview has the ability to simulate top cutouts of different shapes and sizes to let developers optimize their apps. To make room for the notch, Google has relocated the clock from top right to the top left corner.
The Android P preview version also adds native support for the dual camera system. Last year’s Pixel 2 handsets had a single camera on the rear panel, but the upcoming Google Pixel 3 could finally switch to the dual camera setup. Dual cameras, coupled with Google’s expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence, could improve a lot of things. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus with dual camera and dual apertures has set a new benchmark in smartphone camera technology. Google has to ensure that the Pixel 3 camera is at least as good as the Galaxy S9 Plus.
Past Google Pixel 3 leaks suggest that the device would have a fully bezel-less OLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Just like its predecessor, the Pixel 3 would launch without the 3.5mm headphone jack. Recent reports suggest that the device would also feature an iris scanner to take on Apple’s Face ID. Google has teamed up with a company called Fingerprints to integrate the iris scanner in the Pixel 3. It is said to be secure enough to authenticate financial transactions.
Other expected features include the Snapdragon 845 processor and an IP68 rating for water- and dust resistance. Besides the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google is rumored to be working on an affordable Pixel phone that would debut in the second half of this year. The cheaper Pixel 3 would be sold in select markets such as India. According to Chinese blog Qooah, the entry-level Google Pixel 3 is code-named “Desire.” Google has acquired part of HTC’s smartphone business, and HTC’s mid-range line is called Desire.
The Chinese publication added that the mid-range Pixel 3 would run Android Go, which is a stripped down version of Android. Android Go is optimized to offer fast and smooth user experience even on entry-level smartphones. Of course, the mid-range handset would lack some of the premium features and specifications of the high-end Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Details about the cheaper Pixel 3 are scarce, so it’s not yet clear how powerful it would be.
According to Indian publication the Economic Times, the mid-range Google Pixel 3 would launch in July or August, a few months ahead of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL debut. It would be interesting to see whether the mid-range device would retain the Pixel branding or launch under a new moniker. Google traditionally unveils the flagship Pixel phones in early October, and brings them to market by mid-October. The launch is still several months away, so we should expect to see more Google Pixel 3 leaks in the coming months.