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Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL start at $799, rock two selfie cameras and bigger screens


No more leaks this time — Google’s finally officially unveiled the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

The company formally showed off its latest flagship smartphones after weeks of leaks, including a full unboxing video from Engadget. Google teased at all the leaks in a tweet on Monday, writing, “so you think you know…”

How to watch: Google’s Pixel event on Oct. 9

The Pixel 3 will start at $799, while the Pixel 3 XL starts at $899. The Pixel Stand, a wireless charger that works with the phone, will sell for $79. US residents can buy the phone starting on Oct. 19, and it’ll be in more markets on Nov. 1. 

The Pixel 3 looks to take on the best phones on the market with Google’s greatest weapon: its artificial intelligence. While much of its hardware specs have already leaked, like its 6.3 inch display and 128GB of storage, it’s the software features that Google will be boasting about for the Pixel 3.

Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, started the event by showing off all the AI tools that the Pixel 3 will be able to use with the help of Google Assistant. 

“They come at the intersection of AI, software and hardware working together,” he said. “This approach is what makes Google’s hardware experience so unique and it unlocks all kinds of helpful benefits.”

He talked up the Pixel 3’s ability to use AI to improve the phone’s camera, relying more on data gathered from millions of Google Image searches than impressive hardware.

“Pixel’s camera completely rethinks how images are captured, and we can trace that intelligence back to Google Images,” Osterloh said. 

On Google’s blog, the company called the Pixel 3 the “most helpful device in your life,” pointing out that the Smart Assistant can answer while the phone is charging and the camera is designed so that it “won’t miss a shot.”

That comes with a feature Google is introducing called “Top Shot,” which uses AI to pick the best moments to take a picture. Other features include “Night Sight” to take low light pictures without flash, and Super Res Zoom to improve zooming in without losing quality in images. 

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL comes in three colors with cheeky names by Google: Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink. It’ll have a glass back with matte and glossy textures in two-tone backing. 

Both phones are larger than last year’s model, with the Pixel 3 at 5.5 inches and the Pixel 3 XL at 6.3 inches.

The Pixel 3 will have two front-facing cameras for Google’s “Group Selfie Camera” to get more details and scenes in the frame. Google said the second camera captures “184 percent more of the scene” as the iPhone XS. 

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be Google’s third time at bat against hardware rivals like Apple, Samsung and Amazon. Google unveiled its first Pixel Phones in 2016, signalling that the company was investing more in its own branded hardware to compete with Apple and Samsung in the premium segment. It’s now one of the premier Android smartphones despite a deeper bench of phone makers in the market. 


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Since then, the company has invested more heavily in its “Made by Google” device lineup, which includes everything from virtual reality headset Daydream to video and audio streaming devices like its Chromecast.

The goal is to compete with Apple, Samsung and Amazon to get its gadgets into your pocket and home. Specifically, Google has been pushing its Assistant software, a digital helper akin to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, in a quest to meet users — and their data — everywhere in their daily lives.

“For a life on the go, we designed the world’s best camera and put it in the world’s most helpful phone,” Osterloh said.  

Read: Everything we expect at Google’s Oct. 9 event

In May, Google announced 500 million devices have shipped globally with the Assistant on them, including speakers, phones and TVs. The company also said the Assistant now partners with 5,000 household connected devices, up from 1,500 in January.

Google wants to sell you phones and smart speakers because it knows people aren’t searching for things on Google.com from their desktop computers anymore. They’re telling their Google Home devices to play curated playlists, or using maps on their smartphones to navigate to their favorite restaurants. 


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The more Google knows about you and your interests, the more valuable its ads become to marketers who pay the company to target potential buyers based on their likes, dislikes, age, interests and even location. The company makes about 90 percent of its $100 billion in annual sales from advertising.

Feel free to check out the checklist of rumors gathered from weeks of leaks leading up to Google’s announcements on Tuesday and see which ones ended up true: 

Rumor: Google will introduce the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on Oct. 9

According to Bloomberg, Google plans to unveil new Pixel phones in New York on Oct. 9. The general timeframe follows precedent: The company introduced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on Oct. 4, 2017 and the original Pixel phones exactly one year earlier on Oct. 4, 2016

Rumor: New camera feature

According to the leak by Front Page Tech’s Jon Prosser, via Twitter, the Pixel 3 will include a camera feature called “Top Shot” that captures photos of people at the exact right moment. 

Rumor: New UI tricks 

A purported Google marketing video, first posted by MySmartPrice and embedded below, shows several new features that may be coming to the Pixel 3. The video shows familiar Pixel navigational elements —  swiping down for notifications and squeezing the sides to launch Google Assistant — and new ones, like long-pressing the power button to take a screenshot. And there are other new tricks: someone uses the Pixel’s camera to recognize and draft an email from a business card. Another instance shows the phone recognizing a restaurant name in an email, and offers the option to make a reservation.

Rumor: Google to unveil new Pixel Stand charger

In addition to the new phones, Google is said to have developed a new wireless charger called the “Pixel Stand,” according to MySmartPrice. A purported image shows a white dock with an orange bottom and a small “G” logo that’s connected, ostensibly, to a USB-C cable. MySmartPrice says that the Stand will turn your Pixel into a smart display with access to shortcuts for music apps, the Google Assistant and notifications.

mysmartprice-pixel-stand-pixel-3

MySmartPrice

That noted, XDA Developers found evidence in an Android Pie beta release that points to support for wireless charging. And if the new Pixel ends up with a glass back — that’s another rumor — it would be more conducive to wireless charging. Google has made wireless charging phones before (like the Google Nexus 6 and Nexus 5), but stopped in 2015 with the launch of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.  

Rumor: Pixel 3 XL gets a notch, Pixel 3 does not

Traditionally, the Pixel and Pixel XL have been nearly identical — except for the size difference. That may change this time around.

Google is rumored to have bestowed the Pixel 3 XL with an iPhone-like notch to accommodate an updated camera system. The first leaked photos gave us our first look at the larger model, after which an anonymous Reddit user delivered purported images of the smaller Pixel 3, via 9to5Google. And now we have a pic of what leaker Evan Blass says is both handsets, side-by-side.   

The images are consistent with earlier leaks, showing a Pixel 3 XL that has a notched display — and not just any notch, but a big, deep notch — and a Pixel 3 with a more traditional layout. We know that Android Pie supports phones with notches, so, conceptually at least, this checks out. 


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Rumor: Pixel Bud-like earbuds included

Those Russian bloggers supposedly got their hands on the Pixel 3 XL from a Ukrainian black market dealer. And the unboxing videos they posted showed a pair of earbuds with a meaty, Pixel Buds design. If the package is real, this would be new; the Pixel 2 didn’t come with any headphones.

The images of the headphones did also have misspelled “@googel.com” email address on the label, which is a little sketch. Our email bounced when we tried emailing that address, so keep in mind this all might be a clever fake.

Separately, a Telegram user @LuchkovCH also “leaked” photos of the Pixel 3 XL and dropped a YouTube video here. In it, they walk through the Settings menu, launcher and running benchmarks. There’s a look at the (notched) front, familiar-looking back and what looks like a single USB-C charging port.  

Confirmed: It won’t be the first Android Pie device

Countering speculation that Google would introduce its latest operating system on the Pixel 3, the company released Android Pie to the existing generation of Pixel phones on Aug. 6. The Pixel 3 is likely, however, to be the first phone running Pie right out of the box, if that matters in any way.

Android Pie mostly focuses on behind-the-scenes improvements designed to make Android phones work faster while saving battery life, but it also paves the way for the Pixel XL’s notch


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Rumor: Pixel 3 XL will have front-facing speakers

According to a recent case leak from Gizmo China, the Pixel 3 XL has two front-facing cameras. The leaked images also show that the speaker will be located on the front bottom bezel and the fingerprint reader will remain positioned on the back below the camera.


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Rumor: Two front-facing cameras and a new display for the Pixel 3 XL

In addition to the notch, Bloomberg posited that the Pixel 3 XL will have an edge-to-edge display and two front-facing cameras. The smaller Pixel 3, however, will have neither of these things apparently.

The German news site WinFuture, which has a pretty reliable record with tech rumors, also reported that Google will partner with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn (the same company that makes iPhones) to build “new display hardware.”

Rumor: A premium Pixel will battle 2018 iPhones

Tech blog Droid Life reported that Google has three new Pixel phones in the pipeline for 2018. This trio could include a mysterious higher-end version — perhaps intended to compete with the $1,000 iPhone XS — in addition to the standard and XL models. As a reminder, the 64GB Pixel 2 starts at $649 and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 (£799 or AU$1,399).


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That noted, frequent tipster Evan Blass tweeted that, according to a “reliable source,” Google will deliver a Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL — as well as the next generation of Pixel Buds and a Pixel-branded watch. If he’s right, we’re back to looking at two phones, not three. The Pixel 3 XL might have to take on the $1,099 iPhone XS Max on its own.

Rumor: Google has a cheaper Pixel 

Google is said to be developing an inexpensive “midrange” Pixel for emerging markets that could debut this summer, according to Economic Times. It’s not clear whether Google would bring this budget model to the US; the timing doesn’t sync up with the Pixel’s usual October debut. But, depending on the price, such a phone could make an interesting foil to Apple’s new $749 iPhone XR.


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Other rumored Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL specs

  • Octacore Qualcomm CPU (perhaps Snapdragon 845)
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 2,960×1,440-pixel resolution
  • Wired version of Google Pixel Buds connecting via USB-C 
  • Confirmed: Support for Android Pie 
  • 4GB RAM
  • 2,915mAh battery that supports wireless charging
  • Multiple colors including black, white and the new pinkish “sand”


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Originally published on Oct. 9 at 5 a.m. PT. 
Updated on Oct. 9 at 8:23 a.m. PT: To include more details on the Pixel 3, at 8:34 a.m. PT: with details from Google’s blog, at 8:57 a.m. PT: with prices, at 9 a.m. PT: with details on Group Selfie Cam, at 9:10 a.m. PT: with details on release date.

Pixel 2 review: It still has an amazing camera, but its followup is expected soon.

iPhone XR hands-on: Apple’s most colorful iPhone is also its cheapest.





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