Google unveiled two new smartphones during its annual developer conference, Google IO, earlier this month. Dubbed Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, the handsets are a more affordable twist on the flagship Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. However, these aren't the only smartphones purportedly planned by Google this year.
Provided that Google sticks with its typical release schedule, we're likely to get our first glimpse at the follow-up to the flagship Pixel 3 series in early October, with the smartphones hitting shelves worldwide the following month.
Thanks to a series of leaks around the feverishly-anticipated smartphone, we're starting to get a pretty good idea of the industrial design planned for the handset – no thanks to Google, which might've revealed the Pixel 4 in disguise this month.
Details are still a little thin on the ground, but there have been multiple leaks that suggest Google is looking to plump for a hole-punch display. Embedding the front-facing camera into a cut-out in the screen will allow Google to stretch the display to the very edge of the chassis, maximising the amount of screen real estate – while still maintaining a physical footprint that's small enough to use one-handed.
Samsung has opted for a similar approach with its flagship Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus series. Honor View 20 and Nokia X71 are other examples of the same hole-punch design.
According to the latest leak, shared on Slashleaks, Google has patented a design for a forthcoming smartphone that looks incredibly similar to the hole-punch camera we've seen from rival Android manufacturers. The image shows an elongated pill-shaped cut-out in the top left-hand corner of the display – the mirror image of the design we've already seen on the Galaxy S10 Plus. The latter includes a larger cut-out to house a dual-selfie system.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL introduced a second front-facing camera to enable ultra-wide angle selfies, so that large groups can take photographs that could normally only be achieved using a selfie stick. Based on the design revealed by the illustration filed with this official patent, the ultra-wide selfie system is here to stay.
Earlier whispers had suggested that Google would opt for this cut-out design with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, leading some industrious designers to mock-up what the final product could look like. The patented illustration is further proof that earlier rumours were likely correct after all.
Other rumours point to the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 system-on-a-chip, coupled with at least 6GB of RAM. Reports suggest Pixel 4 XL will have a dual rear-mounted camera as well – a first for the Pixel range. Google has always insisted it only needs a single lens to produce the same bokeh-style blur that rivals use dual-camera set-ups to achieve. If the company decides to add a second camera to Pixel 4 XL, it must have something else planned.
Of course, the Made By Google hardware event, which has been held in October for the last three years, is still a long way away. As such, it's worth taking these images with a sizeable dose of salt – not to mention skepticism.
Lead Imaged Credit: Twitter / @PhoneDesigner