There will be a surprise third Google Pixel 9 this year

And it will be a direct competitor for the iPhone 16 Pro

Google Pixel 9 Pro leaked renders
(Image credit: OnLeaks / MySmartPrice)
Quick summary

Google is said to be releasing a surprise third Pixel 9 phone, a smaller Pixel 9 Pro, alongside the regular Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro XL. 

This will give Pixel fans more phone size options.

The Google Pixel 9 is expected to launch October 2024 and there's going to be a surprise for Pixel fans: a new smaller Pro phone. Instead of the normal pair of Pixels, Google is said to be expanding to three devices, giving customers more choice when choosing their next Google phone.

The details come from 91mobiles working with OnLeaks. Together, the pairing has a solid track record with leaks so there's good reason to believe this latest revelation. According to the site, the Pixel 9 renders it originally leaked in January were actually the new smaller Pixel 9 Pro. We remarked at the time that the Pixel 9 was getting three cameras, but that's not the case.

Instead, the smaller Pixel 9 Pro will launch alongside a Pixel 9 Pro XL, giving two sizes for the Pro device loaded with Google's cameras, and mirroring Apple's positioning with the iPhone Pro models. The normal Pixel 9 will have the same design, but stick to offering two cameras, so will remain the entry-level device of the trio. This isn't the first we've heard of this rumour either: a previous codename leak had suggested this was going to happen.

Google's Pixel phones have made a name for themselves for offering a clean Android user interface, sprinkled with some of Google's best features, with a camera system that blows many rivals out of the water thanks to computational photography - enhanced more recently by the addition of Magic Editor, which brings generative AI into the mix for a complete photo package.

The problem that Google is looking to tackle is one of choice: if you chose a smaller phone, you miss out on the telephoto camera. That could be a thing of the past, with Google moving to plug that gap. Exactly how the new devices will be priced remains to be seen - but there's a chance the Pixel 9 Pro XL will be more expensive, creating a gap beneath it for the more compact Pixel 9 Pro.

What do we know about the Pixel 9 phones?

Google hasn't confirmed any details about the Pixel 9 models, although there's a  chance we'll get a sneak peek at Google I/O 2024, which has been scheduled for 14 May.

According to rumours, the Pixel 9 will feature a 6.03-inch display, while the Pixel 9 Pro will have a 6.1-inch display and the Pixel 9 Pro XL a 6.7-inch display.

It's likely that all three devices will run on the Tensor G4 hardware. It's said there will be support for Qi2 charging - an evolution of the wireless charging standard to be more like Apple's MagSafe - while the main difference will be in the cameras.

Exactly whether Google will be making changes to the camera hardware remains to be seen, but it could be that both Pro models get a 50-megapixel main camera, 48-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 48-megapixel telephoto. The Pixel 9 will likely have the first two cameras and miss out on the third.

I'd expect the software experience to be much the same across all devices, but if there was one change I'd want, it would be a larger battery on the Pixel 9 Pro: that's the biggest downside of the Pixel 8 Pro - it only has a 5050mAh battery and the performance could be better.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.