Google Teases Upcoming Pixel 2 Event, Aimed at Those Who Are ‘Thinking About Changing Phones’

Google has launched a new advertising campaign and teaser website for its upcoming "Pixel 2" smartphone. The site teases visitors with an October 4 event date, aimed at anyone who might be "thinking about changing phones" (via TechCrunch). The page presents no other information, and asks for the user's email address to stay up-to-date with alerts regarding breaking news ahead of the October 4 event.


Since the original Pixel smartphone debuted in October of last year (it was actually announced on the exact same date in 2016), a similar date was expected for the new version of Google's smartphone. Rumors about the Pixel 2 have been spreading over the summer in the lead-up to its launch, with current predictions aimed at a smartphone with a Snapdragon 835 or 836 chipset, 4GB of RAM, "squeezable" sides to perform different functions, and IP68 water and dust resistance.

The Google Pixel 2 will also come in standard and "XL" versions, similar to the first generation (launched in 5-inch and 5.5-inch sizes). The XL is rumored to have premium features, however, including a larger 6-inch display with "very narrow" bezels, which the smaller device will lack and reportedly appear similar to the 2016 design. There's a chance other Google devices, like a new Chromebook and "Google Home mini," will appear at the same event.

The current lineup of Pixel Phone devices

Google's tease comes two days after Apple revealed the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, which have enticed many users who are ready to upgrade their smartphones -- the customers that Google is likely aiming at with its new Pixel 2 campaign. If the rumored specs become true, compared to the iPhone X the Pixel 2 will have slightly better RAM (4GB vs 3GB), water resistance (IP68 vs IP67), and screen size (6-inch vs 5.8-inch).


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Google Pixel 2 Smartphone Will Feature Squeezable Sides and No Headphone Jack

Google's second-generation Pixel smartphone will be made by HTC and feature "squeezable" sides to perform different functions, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday.

The filing essentially confirms that the Google Pixel 2 will borrow the squeezable frame from the HTC U11. Screenshots included in the document show the feature is to be called "Active Edge" and will launch Google Assistant by default. Other possible functions include turning on the flashlight, launching the camera, and taking a photo.

Leaked image of Pixel 2 from Evan Blass

The 4.97-inch device is expected to feature a 1080p display and stereo speakers, and will have an overall design similar to the original Pixel. The filing also suggests that the Pixel 2 will have a Snapdragon 835 or 836 chipset and 64GB storage capacity – although additional capacities are likely.

LG is said to be manufacturing the Google Pixel XL 2 and will put its own stamp on the larger handset by including a 6-inch AMOLED display with a 2:1 aspect ratio, but it's also likely that the XL 2 will share the same squeezable frame of the smaller device. Based on leaked images, both handsets are rumored to do away with the headphone jack, although this was not confirmed in the filing.

It's still not clear when Google's second-generation Pixel smartphones will be released, but the original version was unveiled in October of last year, so a fall release is likely. (The original Google Pixel FCC filing appeared exactly a year ago on Tuesday.) That would put Google's new phones in direct competition with the iPhone 8, which is expected to launch in September alongside iterative "S" cycle updates to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.


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Upcoming 2017 Google Pixel XL May Feature ‘Squeezable’ Frame for Activating Google Assistant

Google's second-generation Pixel XL could feature a squeezable body, a 6-inch AMOLED display, and thinner bezels, according to information and rendered images leaked today by Android Police.

LG is said to be manufacturing the Google Pixel XL 2, which features a design that's curved like the original Google Pixel. It continues to offer a rear fingerprint sensor (now located in the aluminum portion of the device) and a large single-lens camera, eschewing the dual-lens camera trend.

Rendering created by Android Police

The XL version, which is the only version covered in the leak, offers a 6-inch LG-made display with a 2:1 aspect ratio, rounded corners, and a "minimal bezel." Design wise, it could look a little like Apple's rumored iPhone 8, which is also expected to have a longer design with much thinner side and top/bottom bezels. Current iPhone 8 leaks suggest Apple's device will have little to no bottom bezel and a smaller top bezel, however.

Most notably, the 2017 Pixel XL is rumored to include a "squeezable" frame like the recently launched HTC U11. The technology will let Pixel users squeeze their handsets to activate Google Assistant "in various ways."

In the HTC U11, the "Edge Sense" feature lets people use a squeeze gesture to activate pressure sensors that can turn on the flashlight, launch the camera, take a photo, or launch Google Assistant.

It's not clear when Google's second-generation Pixel XL device will be released, but the original version was unveiled in October of 2016, so a fall release date could be planned. If that's the case, the Pixel XL will launch during the same time frame as the iPhone 8 and could be one of the device's main competitors along with the already-available Samsung Galaxy S8 and the yet-to-be announced rumored Galaxy Note 8.


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Google Hires Veteran Chip Designer Away From Apple to Build Custom Chips For Pixel Smartphones

Google has hired veteran chip architect Manu Gulati, who worked at Apple for the past eight years, according to Variety.

Gulati is now a Lead SOC Architect at Google, where he began in May, according to his recently updated LinkedIn profile.

Gulati was "instrumental" to the company's efforts to build custom chips for the iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV, according to the report.

Apple's custom silicon ranges from the single-core A4 chip in the original iPad and iPhone 4 to the quad-core A10X Fusion chip in the new 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

At Google, his expertise is expected to help the Mountain View company design custom chips for its own Pixel smartphones.

Pixel smartphones are currently powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor, which is the same chip used in several other flagship Android smartphones. But reports claim Google plans to build its own chips, as it takes on the iPhone more directly in the premium smartphone category.

Gulati is listed as an inventor on over a dozen Apple patents related to mobile processors and integrated circuity. He has over 20 years of industry experience, including lengthy stints at AMD and Broadcom.


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Google Has No Plans For More Pixel Notebooks

Google has ended production of its Pixel laptop, which originally aimed to compete with Apple's MacBook Air.

During a small meeting with journalists today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google's senior vice president for hardware Rick Osterlohthe responded to a question about future Pixel notebooks, saying the company has "no plans to do one right now".

According to TechCrunch, he added that versions already on the market have totally sold out and there are no plans to make any more of them. However, Osterlohthe was quick to clarify that he was not referring to the notebooks' operating system, ChromeOS.


"Chrome OS is a huge initiative in the company," Osterloh said. "Google hasn't backed away from laptops. We have the number two market share in the U.S. and U.K. — but we have no plans for Google-branded laptops."
Google's Chromebook was the first device to carry the Pixel name, which has since been adopted by the tech giant's latest range of branded smartphones. The original Pixel laptops were launched in 2013 and were notable for their integrated hardware – which included a touchscreen – and their premium design appeal, but the web-only operating system only ran Chrome browser and a handful of other cloud-based apps, and prices started at $1,299.

The second version of the Pixel Chromebook launched in 2015 and cost $999. It was one of the first laptops to feature USB-C along with Apple's 12-inch Retina MacBook, but saw limited uptake due to the restrictive OS and prohibitive cost. Other third-party Chromebooks sell for as little as $250.

There's no cast-iron guarantee that Google won't launch any more branded laptops, but it seems the company wants to keep the Pixel name for its phones going forward, the only caveat being Google's Pixel C tablet, which it still sells.


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