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google pixel smartphones 1

Google Pixel 2 launches this week: what to expect?

Last year saw the Pixel making its debut, instantly standing out thanks to world-class mobile cameras, powerful internals and a stock Android experience. Now, we’re two days away from the Pixel 2 being revealed…

There have been loads of rumours regarding the new smartphones, but what are some of the more prominent details we’re supposed to expect?

Horsepower

Early reports initially claimed that Qualcomm would supply a Snapdragon 836 processor for the new phones. But XDA later revealed that the Snapdragon 836 didn’t actually exist.

So we’re expecting the Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM (although 6GB wouldn’t be out of the question, we imagine). Otherwise, in the screen department, we’re expecting a 5-inch full HD AMOLED screen for the smaller Pixel and a 5.5-inch (or above) 1440p AMOLED screen for the XL.

HTC’s squeezable edges

Believe it or not, but at least one device (probably both) will also have a squeezable frame, making for a rather unique way to interact with your phone.

The feature first appeared on HTC’s U11 smartphone, allowing users to squeeze the phone’s frame for various functions. The squeeze function can be customised too, allowing you to open your camera app, launch specific apps and more with it.

The report claims that Pixel 2 users can squeeze their phones to launch Google Assistant, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the gesture is customisable.

No headphone jack but water resistance

Another notable tidbit was the news earlier this year that the Pixel 2 range would be lacking headphone jacks. It’s since been independently corroborated by Android Authority, which is disappointing, to put it mildly.

The move means that those with aux cables, headphones and other wired accessories will need to give them up. It’s rather hilarious after Google used the first Pixel event to mock Apple for dropping the headphone jack.

However, it’s just one less port to water-proof, with Android Authority also claiming the phones will have IP67 water resistance.

Camera?

The Pixel’s strongest selling point was its camera, using HDR+ processing to produce some world-class mobile photos. But how do you follow up on something like this?

According to Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii, we could be looking at a single main camera with a software-enabled portrait mode. Meanwhile, Android Authority says we should expect optical image stabilisation, a wide colour gamut and a “Google Imaging Chip”.

As for the actual camera specs? We’re not 100% sure, with the Nexus 6P camera forming the basis for the original Pixel shooter. Time for a more comprehensive hardware upgrade or will software be the differentiating factor once more?

In fact, given the claimed IP67 water resistance and squeezable edges, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pixel 2 is basically an HTC U11 with stock Android. In that case, f/1.7 aperture incoming?

Software

Russakovskii’s source added that the Pixel 2 software will come with a number of handy features. For starters, the launcher has been “crazy redone”, the Android Police writer suggests.

However, another apparent feature is the ability for the phone to always listen for music, then displaying the artist and song title on the lockscreen. No word if this will kill the battery but if it’s a tiny hit, it will make for a nice bonus feature.

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More