Whispers of a new, cheaper version of the Google Pixel 3 handset are nothing new. In fact, rumours of the entry-level, so-called 'Lite' devices (a normal sized one and an XL one) started before the official announcement of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in October 2018.
But while the oft-rumoured cheapo phones did not make an appearance during the keynote presentation last year, the latest rumours point to Google aiming to release its more affordable devices before summer.
According to sources speaking to Android Police, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL ‘Lite’ are set to launch in the United States as well as other key markets worldwide. This directly contradicts earlier reports that suggested the 'Lite' variants would be used to break into India given the mid-range specifications tipped for the handsets.
US mobile carrier Verzion will purportedly stock the 'Lite' smartphones, continuing its close relationship with Google. The mobile network has been an exclusive Pixel partner since the launch of the first Google-branded device back in 2016.
Although the exact launch date is still not known, reliable blog 9To5Google claims the Pixel 3 'Lite' and Pixel 3 XL 'Lite' will launch in spring – suggesting a release is now a few months away. Apple previously used the first few months of the year to launch its more affordable smartphone, iPhone SE, to help boost sales during the slower months after the Christmas period.
According to the latest whispers from inside Google, the new Pixel devices will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chipset, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage.
In terms of design, the Pixel 3 Lite looks to be much closer to the Pixel 3 than the Pixel 3 XL. It uses the same curved bezels around the display, instead of the chunky notch that appeared on the Pixel 3 XL and was publicly mocked by Samsung.
Leaked images showing the alleged design have been published on Rozetked.me, a Russian publication that leaked images of the Pixel 3 XL ahead of launch. The latter was entirely accurate, lending more weight to these latest leaks.
It has the same 5.5-inch display size as the Pixel 3, however the Pixel 3 Lite will carry a lower resolution 2,220 x 1,080 IPS panel compared to the FHD+ OLED on the latter.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 3 XL 'Lite' will have a slightly larger 6-inch display. It will also favour a IPS LCD panel as a likely cost-cutting measure.
Unlike the existing Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 range, the new 'Lite' versions of the smartphone will feature the return of the 3.5mm headphone port, too. However, the more affordable handsets will drop the secondary front-facing camera, so don't expect to be able to do any ultra-wide selfies with these cheaper phones.
With the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL starting from £739 and £869 respectively, it makes a certain amount of sense for Google to launch a more affordable version of its flagship smartphone range. The Mountain View-based firm still sells its previous handsets at a discounted rate, £629 for the Pixel 2 and £799 for the Pixel 2 XL – although this has been dropped to £639 during the January sales.
Whether the Pixel 3 Lite would be priced below these handsets, or somewhere between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 isn't clear. As always, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Lite have yet to be confirmed by Google, so it's possible the handset will be quietly shelved and will never see the light of day.
Lead Image Credit: Rozetked.me