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Google Pixel release date, price and specs: Everything you need about Google’s Nexus replacements

Google Pixel and Pixel XL could be the two new flagship smartphones from Google this year, replacing the Nexus 5X[1] and 6P. If you’re wondering why Google[2] would go and change the name of its flagship range of phones – a brand it’s been growing since 2010 – it appears to be an attempt to homogenise its device brands. Having already seen success with its Chromebook Pixel[3] and Pixel C[4] hybrid Android tablet, Google now wants to replicate the same growth in its smartphone business.

But what exactly can we expect from Google’s Pixel smartphones? Worry not, for we have all the answers you need.

1. Will the Google Pixel be out this year?

It looks as if the Pixel and Pixel XL will appear this year.

In fact, it’s likely they’ll arrive at the same time Google usually announces its new Nexus flagships. Every Nexus device since 2010 has launched at the tail-end of the year, so the earliest we’re likely to see the Pixel and Pixel XL is October, with a reveal at the end of September. The Nexus 5X and 6P arrived by the end of September, but as Google is yet to make any announcement, chances are that nothing will happen until October.


Will the Google Pixel cost me more than a Google Nexus?

Bar the Nexus 6, Google’s Nexus range of phones have been affordable flagship devices. They marry great power, design and price in one package, and it’s unlikely this’ll change with the Pixel and Pixel XL. However, the Pixel could cost far more than you may expect.

Both the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel devices are built as premium devices. This indicates that Google won’t price its devices competitively, but at a price that reflects its brand and positioning.

3. Who will build the Google Pixel and Pixel XL?

Typically, Nexus devices have been designed and manufactured by a third party such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC and Huawei.

Rumours suggest that although these will be Google-branded devices, both the Pixel and Pixel XL will be built by HTC to Google’s specifications.

HTC is building a pair of Android N devices for Google internally dubbed M1 and S1 #nexus[5] — Evan Blass (@evleaks) April 27, 2016[6]

4. Are the Google Pixel and Pixel XL direct replacements for the Nexus 5X and 6P?

You’re not far wrong with that assumption.

Going by rumoured specifications, the Pixel and Pixel XL will be directly replacing the Nexus 5X and 6P. Strangely, both phones are also slated to be slightly smaller than last year’s Nexus devices, with the Pixel’s screen measuring 5in and the Pixel XL coming in at 5.5in.

HTC/Google Pixel (XL) Sailfish (l) & Marlin (r): What the front really looks like, more pix: https://t.co/eaz84Sp5rl pic.twitter.com/WepLb1pjeV[7][8] — Roland Quandt (@rquandt) September 17, 2016[9]


Will these be premium smartphones?

Early rumours indicated that the next Nexus phone was going to be an all-metal device. It’s likely these early Nexus rumours were actually referring to the Pixel, so we’re expecting at least one of the two Pixel smartphones will have an all-metal body. I say only one because, according to Twitter account “pixel”, a version of HTC’s Nexus device was spotted in the wild sporting a glass back akin to the Nexus 4.

If true, we could be looking at a similar divide to the 5X and 6P, where the phablet device is made of premium materials and the smaller smartphone is built from cheaper materials.

The 2016 HTC Nexus looks like a cross between the Nexus 4 & iPhone with glass and fingerprint scanner on the back. pic.twitter.com/7pm9fhszki[10] — pixel (@usbfl) August 14, 2016[11]

6. How powerful can I expect the Pixel and Pixel XL to be?

According to Android Police[12], the Pixel and Pixel XL will still live up to the flagship-level power that each new Nexus device is capable of.

The Pixel XL will have a 5.5in, 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED display with a quad-core Qualcomm processor, 4GB of RAM, USB Type-C, a rear-facing fingerprint reader, a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing one. It will also have a beefy 3,450mAh battery and 32GB of storage as standard, with the option to upgrade to a 128GB if needed. The Pixel has similar specs, but it’s clearly the lower-end flagship.

It will sport a 5in, Full HD AMOLED display, quad-core 2GHz 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, the same cameras as the XL and a smaller 2,770mAh battery. As expected, it will also come with a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and a USB Type-C port. It’s not yet known which processor these units will use, but chances are it will be a Snapdragon 820, or perhaps the 821.

It’s unlikely we’ll see them running on any of the mid-range SoCs Qualcomm produces, since these are octa-core chips as opposed to the quad-core versions rumoured for both the Pixel and Pixel XL.


  1. ^ Nexus 5X (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  2. ^ Google (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  3. ^ Chromebook Pixel (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  4. ^ Pixel C (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  5. ^ #nexus (twitter.com)
  6. ^ April 27, 2016 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ https://t.co/eaz84Sp5rl (t.co)
  8. ^ pic.twitter.com/WepLb1pjeV (t.co)
  9. ^ September 17, 2016 (twitter.com)
  10. ^ pic.twitter.com/7pm9fhszki (t.co)
  11. ^ August 14, 2016 (twitter.com)
  12. ^ Android Police (www.androidpolice.com)

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