Is Google planning to launch a Pixel 3 Mini next week?

Are we set for a Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL ... and a Pixel 3 XS?

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Google is gearing up to launch its brand-new Pixel 3 smartphones at a hardware event in New York City next week.

The Mountain View company has already confirmed the return of the squeezable Active Edge feature in the forthcoming phones, and now it has started to tease fans with the possibility of a new screen size, too.

Google has shared a new post on its official Instagram page with the caption: "We’ve heard rumors of a mini Pixel. Which begs the question how 'mini' is too mini?

"We have a feeling the next one will be a bit bigger than this. Tune in on 10/9 to see for yourself."

The photograph accompanying the cryptic post shows four smartphones of various sizes lying face down next to one another on a wooden desk.

The smallest handset, which appears to be around the same size as a house key, has a small yellow sticky note labelled "this one?" beside it.

Google's post is an explicit reference to the recent flurry of rumours that suggest the leaked Pixel 3 XL prototypes that surfaced online this summer were deliberately created to throw people off the scent.

Not only that, but the theory claims Google is actually developing an all-new flagship handset, dubbed Pixel Ultra, that will not resemble any of the leaked devices.

That theory is based on the fact that a number of high-profile YouTubers have been contacted directly by Google to ask for permission to use their Pixel 3 XL videos, many of which contain complaints about the prominent notch on the leaked phone.

This prompted speculation that a notch-less Pixel 3 XL variant that was carefully hidden from leaks would be unveiled during the October 9 press conference.

It seems unlikely that Google – which has suffered a number of leaks around unannounced Pixel and Nexus hardware – would be able to pull-off such a stunt.

Even Google seems to be mocking the idea that a never-before-seen Pixel Ultra exists with its “mini Pixel” teaser image on Instagram.

That said, it's worth noting the smartphones included in the teaser image all appear to have two rear-facing cameras – something not included in the recent Pixel 3 leaks.

We’ll know more about the Google Pixel 3 range on October 9, 2018.