Rumor Roundup For Google’s 2016 Pixel Flagships; Snapdragon 821, No Stock Android & More

Ramish Zafar
Posted Oct 4, 2016
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As we reach the 4th of September, it’s only a month left until Google’s to allegedly launch the Pixel and the Pixel XL. Looks like 2016 will mark the death of Nexus and the birth of Pixel. News on the rumor mill suggests a different direction for Mountain View’s handsets this year. Not only will we get a rather unorthodox design, but the rebranding strategy coupled with software overhauls will mark a good approach. We’ve summarized everything that has surfaced on the devices so far. If you can’t wait for this year’s Pixel (Nexus) launches, head over below to see what what to expect.

Google’s 2016 Pixel Smartphone Roundup; Here’s Everything You Need To Know

When we talk about smartphones and gadgets, there are only a couple which make the big headlines. Samsung’s Galaxy launches, Apple’s iPhone launches and Google’s Nexus launches make sure that users are tuned in for an entire year. As we enter Q4 2016, only a handful of these are left. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus will beĀ  with us in a couple of days. They’re expected to be launched in a couple of days with incremental upgrades on board.

Talking Pixel, this year’s devices will mark several changes from their predecessors and 2016’s Android flagship launches. While we’ll get into these later, right now, it’ll be interesting to see how Google’s going to approach the entire smartphone equation. For starters, the price point for the Pixel and the Pixel XL won’t be that easy on the pocket. 2015’s Nexus 6P and 5X managed to effectively differentiate between the high and medium tier devices. This year, things might be slightly different.

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Performance:

Starting from performance, we’ve seen sparse information surface about the Pixel duo. While the Pixel, also dubbed as the HTC Sailfish has seen quite a bit of leaks, its larger cousin hasn’t been that gracious. Right now, one feature is confirmed for both the devices. They will feature the Snapdragon 821, Qualcomm’s upgrade for the Snapdragon 820 launched earlier this year. The Snapdragon 821 will feature several enhancements. It will boost performance and graphics performance by 10% and 5% respectively. Furthermore, the Snapdragon 821 will also feature improved support for photography. This will be in the form of Extended Laser Autofocus and Dual PD. These allow for extended and shorter autofocus time.

The Google Pixel will also feature 4GB of RAM according to rumored information. This will be coupled with a 5 inch display with 1080p resolution. While this resolution might sound a bit light for those who’ve come to expect top level specifications, bear with us. The battery for the Google Pixel is rumored to stand at around 2700mAh. This will be adequate to power a 1080p display. For the Pixel XL, or Marlin, performance specifications improve slightly. In addition to the Snapdragon 821, you’ll also see a 5.5 inch Quad HD, AMOLED Display, The device will be powered by a 3450mAh battery pack.

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Design:

The design of the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL is the one that’s piqued quite a bit of ears. Early rumors for the pair suggested that the smaller device will feature a metal frame, with a plastic body. The Pixel XL on the other hand will feature an all metal design. Now, the rumor mill is claiming similar design materials for both the devices. How will Google differentiate the pair if that does turn out to be true is still unknown. Given that the Pixel XL has been the feature of limited visual leaks, there’s no definite answer for you at the moment.

Moving forward from material, the rear of Google’s Pixel has seen some interesting leaks so far. A dual material rear for the device almost seems to be confirmed at this stage. The fingerprint sensor for it will be surrounded by glass, with the remainder being composed of metal. As a bonus, the sensor for the Pixel and Pixel XL will also include gesture support. Not only will you be able to use the sensor for unlocking, but it’ll also support other features such as dragging the notification bar down without using the screen.

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Camera:

Camera wise, the Pixel and the Pixel XL won’t be that different. Both the devices are rumored to feature a 12MP rear camera. For the Pixel, front camera resolution stands at 8MP, which sounds quite impressive if you ask us. Consumers often place a great amount of emphasis on camera resolutions, often ignoring other variables such as focal length, aperture size and others. The Pixel linep should feature software upgrades as well on the camera front, particularly as the Snapdragon 821 pays special attention in that regard.

For the Pixel XL, we’re also seeing rumors about Sony’s camera sensors surfacing. The latest on the rumor mill suggests that the HTC Marlin will sport Sony’s Exmor IMX378 camera sensor. The IMX378 is a 12MP sensor, which ends up corroborating earlier information about the device as well. It should be a nice upgrade over the IMX278 which was used in last year’s devices. Apart from the resolution, little is known about it. More should surface in the future however.

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Miscellaneous & Conclusion:

This marks the end of all the major specifications and features which should be expected on the Pixel lineup this year. However, these aren’t the only features of the devices, albeit they are the major ones. The pair will also feature USB-C, Bluetooth 4.1, bottom speakers and base storage of 32GB. Pricing details for the Pixel and the Pixel XL have also surfaced. The Pixel will get a starting price of $499. The Pixel XL on the other hand will leave you $549 lighter, for the 32GB variant

Right now, there’s no information on what software overhauls Google will introduce on the lineup this year. The rumor mill’s claiming that they won’t feature stock Android as has been the case in the past. Rather, Mountain View will bring its own set of overhauls to the software for the pair. These should generate significant user interest, and should likely spell out their success or failure as well. Rest assured, we’ll be on the lookout for more. Till then, stay tuned and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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