Has Google just confirmed it leaked decoy Pixel 3 XL phones to hide its real iPhone rival?

Google adds fuel to the fascinating intriguing theory that the leaked Pixel 3 XL is actually a black-ops, notch-toting fake

Can the real Google Pixel 3 XL compete with Apple's new iPhones

UPDATE: watch the Made By Google Pixel 3 live stream right here

Google has just fuelled speculation that the torrent of leaks around its upcoming Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones are an elaborate fake to throw fans off the scent.

Ahead of its Made By Google launch event in New York City today, the firm has tweeted a cryptic message about its upcoming announcements that hints that it still has a few surprises up its sleeve.

Google tweeted a brief compilation video of YouTube personalities and influencers discussing the latest leaks around the flagship handset, which has revealed the pre-order date, screen sizes, the return of the 'Active Edge' squeezable frame, and the three colours available at launch, amongst other details.

"We pretty much know everything there is to know about the Pixel 3 as well as the Pixel 3 XL," YouTube star ZoneOfTech laments in the clip. Meanwhile, UnboxTherapy presenter Lewis Hilsenteger claims: "We have a very clear image now of this Pixel 3"

Alongside the video, Google tweeted: "So you think you know… "

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The tweet is an overt reference to the theory Google has been running a Skunk Works, black-ops style operation all summer to hide its real Google Pixel 3 by leaking a number of fake handsets, the handsets that are leading to those much-publicised first reviews.

The theory gained real traction in the last few weeks when it was learned that a number of YouTubers, who have been supplied the leaked device in question, were contacted directly by Google to ask for permission to use their Pixel 3 XL videos, many of which complain about the phone's prominent notch saying that it is ugly.

One YouTuber, Jon Prosser, who runs the YouTube channel front page tech, was so confused when Google approached him and asked to use a clip of his where he called the Pixel 3 ugly that he created a video raising the whole 'fake phone to throw people off the scent' theory.

Here is Prosser's video in full:

Could Google really have undertaken one of the biggest covert operations ever witnessed in the mobile phone space, all so it could hide its actual real Google Pixel 3 for a dramatic, surprise reveal?

Only time will tell, although however the Google Pixel 3 does materialise, it'll have to be very good to compete with Apple's new iPhones and the Huawei Mate 20

We'll find out at the annual Made By Google event, which kicks off in New York at at 8am PT, 11am ET, and 4pm BST today. T3.com will be in the crowd, so make sure to check back for the latest gadget announcements.

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for T3.com, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.