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Google Pixel 2 event: what to expect

Last year, Google released the Pixel, the first smartphone designed and sold by the company, and billed it as the best smartphone for Android around. One year later, the company is gearing up to release the next generation of its smartphone, the Pixel 2. Google is setting high expectations. Its teaser video makes claims that its phones can solve problems like bad photos, storage, battery life, software updates, and more.

Adding to the mix are a series of leaks from sites like Droid Life and Android Authority, rumoring that Google will be expanding its hardware presence in a big way with new Google Home devices, a new high-end Chromebook, and new Daydream VR headsets.

Taken together, it’s starting to look like Google’s event will be one of the biggest hardware releases from the company in years. Here’s a rundown of what to expect:

New Pixels

While it seems that Google will have a few hardware products to announce at the event, the biggest thing will almost certainly be new Google Pixels. We’re expected to see two new phones to directly succeed Google’s existing lineup: a Pixel 2, and a larger Pixel 2 XL.

Of the two devices, the Pixel 2 XL is rumored to be the bigger upgrade. The larger phone is said to be getting a new screen design with reduced bezels reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S8, while the Pixel 2 is will supposedly offer a similar design to the original.

Android Authority claims to have gotten a hold of the specs for the new devices, which look like some big improvements across the board. In terms of new features, both phones are said to be getting a similar “squeeze” interaction to the HTC U11, along with optical image stabilization for the cameras. The new phones are also expected to rated for IP67 water resistance, which would put them on par with Apple’s recent iPhones (if not quite the IP68 rating that Samsung offers).

There have also been conflicting reports that Google will be removing the headphone jack in favor of only using USB-C, as well as the possible addition of stereo speakers, but it’s unclear whether or not either of those will actually be happening or if both devices will even see the changes.

Google also seems to be updating the home screen on the new Pixels, according to what appear to be finalized renders that have leaked, which also seem to show off the final version of the Pixel 2 XL. If accurate, the new devices will move the search bar from the top of the device to below the main dock, and add a new, minimalistic widget that offers information like calendar and weather.

It also seems that Google may be staggering the release of the new devices, with the Pixel 2 said to launch on October 19th, while the Pixel 2 XL would be pushed off until November 15th — which if true would mean that Google would have to contend with direct competition from Apple’s iPhone X, which comes out November 3rd.

Google Home gets small (and big?)

Just like Amazon — which recently overhauled its Echo line to include a variety of new form factors — it looks like Google is planning to release at least one new Home model at the event. A miniature version of the Google Home, dubbed the Google Home Mini, leaked out earlier in September at Droid Life. It is said to offer the same suite of Google Assistant-powered features as its larger counterpart, but at a reduced size and a $50 price point that should make it a welcome competitor to the Amazon Echo Dot.

There are also mutterings of a larger Google Home “Max” speaker, which, according to 9to5Google, should have a more “premium” design and stereo sound, but information on it has been far less forthcoming.

High-end Chromebooks are back

Another product that’s expected to make an appearance is a new high-end Chromebook called the Google Pixelbook, which looks to be a successor to Google’s original Chromebook Pixel.

Like the Chromebook Pixel, the Pixelbook is expected to sell at the ultra-premium end of the Chromebook market, starting at $1,199, with a separate stylus accessory similar to the Apple Pencil that will cost an extra $99.

Daydream VR updates

Another leaked product (also from Droid Life) is a new Daydream VR headset, which is expected to come in three colors — charcoal, fog, and coral — and a more expensive $99 price point (versus the current headset’s $79).

Beyond the fact that the headsets seem to exist, though, there’s still not a lot of information as to what the benefits will be with the new model over the original one.

Surprises?

While there have been plenty of leaks already, it’s always possible that there will be some surprises that haven’t made their way onto the internet just yet. And remember: Google is a software company first, which means that even though we may think we know what the Pixel 2 or Pixelbook look like, there’s always room for far more interesting pieces of the puzzle to exist on the software side.

As always, The Verge will be on the ground bringing you all of the latest news on Wednesday, October 4th.

Update October 3rd, 11:05am: Added new information regarding rumors of a redesigned home screen and staggered release dates for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.


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