Google launched its own-branded Pixel and Pixel XL Android 7.0 Nougat flagships this past fall to generally favorable reviews. More recently, however, Google has sought input from users on how to make future Pixel devices even better.
This week, Google SVP of Hardware Rick Osterloh confirmed that the second-generation Pixel flagships will arrive this year, likely carrying the flag for "Android O". “There is an annual rhythm in the industry. So, you can count on us to follow it,” said Osterloh. Even though he didn’t give a specific date, he added, “You can count on a successor this year, even if you don’t hear a date from me now.”
For reference, the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X were announced on September 29th, 2015 while the Pixel and Pixel XL were announced on October 4th, 2016. We can say with some high degree of confidence that the next “Pixel 2” will arrive around the same timeframe this year.
One of the points brought up in the customer feedback provided on the first-generation Pixel smartphones was the issue of pricing. Some lamented the fact that the smartphones weren’t value-priced and instead were priced too similarly to flagship smartphones from Apple and Samsung, bucking previous trends. However, there’s no indication that things will change this year, as Osterloh confirmed that “Pixel stays premium”.
There are plenty of OEMs that are producing budget-priced Android smartphones, so Google doesn’t exactly need to race to the bottom with pricing. Just take a look at Motorola’s new Moto G5 Plus with its meaty specs and bargain $229 price tag. By retaining its premium positioning, we should expect to see the Pixel 2 emerge as a more competent competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the upcoming Apple iPhone 8 (which should arrive around the same time this fall).
Some items on the wish list of current Pixel and Pixel XL owners for the upcoming Pixel 2 include smaller bezels, front-facing speakers, optical image stabilization for the main camera, and a more daring exterior design.