Google is rumored to launch a Pixel 2 manufactured by HTC and Pixel XL 2 manufactured by LG, in the near future. ​(Image: File photo)

Google released its original Pixel handset in 2016 as a follow-up to the Nexus smartphone lineup. Now it’s time for a 2017 version.

Pixel is Google’s reference smartphone lineup, to show off Android’s newest capabilities with timely updates and hardware to support it. The original Pixel and Pixel XL earned high marks in reviews. Now to fend off Galaxy S8, iPhone 8, and to show off Android O, Google’s hardware division is ready for a second take.

In March, Google hardware boss Rick Osterloh confirmed a Pixel followup: “There is an annual rhythm in the industry. So, you can count on us to follow it,” Osterloh reportedly told Android Pit at a closed meeting with reporters. “You can count on a successor this year, even if you don’t hear a date from me now.”

Two handsets

Like the original lineup, Google is expected to release a Pixel manufactured by HTC and a Pixel XL manufactured by LG. According to Android Police, the Pixel 2 is codenamed “Walleye,” while Pixel XL 2 referred to internally as “Taimen.” They’re suspected to be high-end and should feature powerful specifications.

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(Image: Josh Miller/CNET)

The Pixel 2 is expected to feature a 4.97-inch 1080p display and the Pixel XL 2 a 5.99-inch 1440p LG OLED display. There was a third device in the rumor mill to be released alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, but it got cancelled, according to leaks.

Design

Leaked photos of the Pixel 2 from Evan Blass at VentureBeat show an overall design similar to the first-generation Pixel. It looks like the Pixel’s bezels are here to stay.

Other leaks have pointed to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, probably for better waterproofing if Google decides to include it on the production Pixel 2.

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(Image: VentureBeat/EvLeaks)

The Pixel 2 is rumored to have a 5-inch 1080p (16:9) display, and the Pixel XL 2 is said to pack a beefier 6-inch Quad HD (18:9) display provided by LG.

Anonymous sources speaking to XDA-Developers said the two-tone glass and metal finish on the rear panel of the original Pixel lineup is believed to make a return.

Active Edge

A recent FCC filing revealed what is believed to be details of the smaller Pixel successor. The Google Pixel 2 will borrow from the HTC U11 and feature squeezable sides to perform different phone functions. Screenshots in the filing showed the Pixel 2’s squeezing functionality is called “Active Edge,” and it launches Google Assistant by default. The feature will likely be found on the Pixel XL, too.

Specs

The Pixel 2 is expected to carry a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and at least 64GB of storage. The Pixel XL 2 is rumored to have a Snapdragon 835 or 836 processor, 4GB of RAM, and at least 128GB of storage. A fingerprint scanner is presumed to be found on the rear of both handsets.

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Mockup (Image: Android Police)

A tweet from Evleaks said the Pixel 2 will mark the debut of the new Snapdragon 836 chipset.

Google won’t focus on megapixel for the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, but instead, it will compensate with “extra features” according to 9to5Google. The handsets are also rumored to feature a 12.3 megapixel rear f/1.8 aperture cameras and a 7-8 megapixel front-facing camera.

Due to a confidentiality of device diagrams and descriptions, the FCC filing didn’t confirm these rumors. Screenshots in the filing did show the device was running Android 8.0.1 and featured the navigation bar found on first-generation Pixel.

Price and release date

It’s not clear in what countries or on what carriers the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will be available. The 2016 models are available on the Google Store, Verizon, Project Fi, and Best Buy.

Evleaks wrote in a tweet that Google’s second-generation Pixel handsets will be unveiled on Oct. 5. Google hasn’t confirmed an event.

Pricing is also unknown for the new Pixel versions. The original Pixel handset launched at $649 for 32GB and $749 for 128GB, while the XL variant retailed for $769 for 32GB and $869 for 128GB.

Of course, things change in the rumor mill. It’s worth taking rumors and leaks with a healthy dose of salt until Google steps on stage with the big reveal. We’ll be tracking the latest.

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