Following months of rumours and concept artwork, Google has put the cat among the pigeons by releasing a genuine render (above) of Pixel 4 via its Twitter page: this is the real deal.
Rocking the same square camera module that leaked earlier this week via @OnLeaks and @PriceBaba, the image also reveals that the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor has disappeared, suggesting Google will join the in-display fingerprint sensor trend. The earlier leak also revealed that the speaker grilles moved to the bottom of the handset.
Expected to launch in October alongside the Pixel 4 XL, this won't be the first new Google phone we've seen this year. In May Google unveiled its Pixel 3a and 3a XL at Google I/O, and they gave us a glimpse at some of the new features heading our way on those new Google phones.
Since that tweet, the phone has supposedly been spotted in the wild. A tipster managed to get a snap of the phone and send it to 9to5google. It does look like the render put out by Google, although the phone is in a case. There's not much to learn from the image but the tipster said that the front of the phone does have the rumoured 'forehead' which looked large - ie a large bezel above the screen.
Not only will be get a faster next-generation Google Assistant that can handle more complex tasks across apps, but we'll also get Android 10 Q out of the box. The new OS focuses on innovation, privacy and security, and digital wellbeing.
Shortly after Google itself tweeted the Pixel 4, there were leaks of a black, white and mint green model. We're taking these with a pinch of salt as some of the pictures have the now confirmed camera module incorrectly rendered, so are likely to be fan creations rather than the real deal. But the images are likely indicative of what the final product will look like:
Pixel 4 and 4 XL - now known to be internally codenamed Flame and Coral - are very popular with concept artists. Some have depicted not only a Pixel 4 and 4 XL but a tiny Pixel 4 mini. It is just a concept, of course, but Phone Designer reckons its time for phones to get small again.
Earlier images from the same source reveal a clean design that is more than a little Galaxy S10-esque with its punch-hole-style selfie camera. This same rumour has been repeated by Front Page Tech, though its source is unsubstantiated.
The YouTube channel also claims Pixel 4 will have an in-display fingerprint sensor which, to be fair, would come as no huge surprise.
A key difference between the Pixel 4 and Pixel XL, as shown in the concept art, is the inclusion of a dual-lens camera on the larger model. This would make it Google's first phone with two lenses on the rear, but it comes at a time when others are moving to triple- and even quad-lens primary cameras.
A slightly older concept comes from Concept Creator, and is shown in the video below. Though it's purely a concept, the imagined design sees Google really push the boundaries of the all-screen display, with a dual-lens selfie camera and dual speakers built directly into the screen - and no notch in sight. With more screen estate we could see a bump up from 5.5in to something closer to 6in for the standard model, and from 6.3in to something closer to 6.6in for the XL version.
Of course, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL had little in common in design, so it remains to be seen whether the Pixel 4 XL will follow a similar overall look to the Pixel 4, and it's too early for any leaked images of the actual devices. In previous years the difference in design has been due to the fact Google has used different hardware partners to create the phones (for instance HTC designed the Pixel 2 and LG the Pixel 2 XL), but in 2018 both Pixel 3 and XL were designed by Google and built by Foxconn.
Google places a strong focus on photography, and in particular the algorithms behind the tech. Adding a second telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom the Pixel 4 could be unbeatable in this regard in 2019.
These being Google phones, and flagships at that, we can already almost guarantee two things we'll see in the Pixel 4 and 4 XL: first, Android 10.0 Q, for which the Preview is now available and should be followed by the final release in August 2019; and second, the brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip that was unveiled in December, successor to the Snapdragon 845 seen in the current generation of Pixels.
With this processor integrating support for 5G networks, it's possible we could see the first 5G-enabled Google phone in the Pixel 4, though adding the tech has implications on both price and design. We suspect this may be a feature reserved for the XL model, though in 2018 the spec of the two was much closer than we've seen previously.
It seems to early to be true, but a device that could be the Pixel 4 has already popped up at Geekbench as the 'Google Coral', indeed running Android Q and the Snapdragon 855. It is also revealed to have 6GB of RAM, whereas its predecessors had only 4GB of memory. With this combination the prototype records 3296 points single-core and 9235 multi-core.
Recently, however, there is talk of Google looking to produce its own smartphone chips, following suit from Apple, Samsung and Huawei. Reuters reports that it has hired 16 engineering veterans and four talent recruiters for its internal gChips team, and with a further four vacancies on the team it could grow to 80-strong by the end of the year.
We'd also like to see Google expand the available storage options, with many phones now available in 256- or even 512GB capacities, or to add a microSD slot.
The new Pixel phones are also expected to bring in proper dual-SIM support, according to XDA, which will be an improvement over the current setup where you can technically have two SIMs using e-SIM, but cannot use both at once.
When is the Pixel 4 coming out?
Expect an October 2019 launch for the Pixel 4, with all previous Google phones announced during its annual hardware event at this time.
How much will the Pixel 4 cost?
Pricing really depends on whether or not Google goes down the 5G route. If it doesn't, given that it's going to take some time for 5G to become widespread in the UK, we should be looking at a similar price to the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, which retail at £739 and £869 respectively for the base models (buy here). But if it does, those prices could creep a lot closer to £900 or £1000.
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