The Google Pixel 4’s existence has already been confirmed in a series of a leaks unlikely to surprise those who followed the launch of the Google Pixel 3 series, which was leaked heavily before its unveiling in October 2018. And again, though the Pixel 3 series is less than six months old, details about its successor have already begun coming to light.
As you may recall, last year Pixel fans were gifted with pretty much every major detail about the 3 and 3 XL ahead of launch; and this year is no different (at least so far). Google has inadvertently confirmed details next handset on multiple occasions, though many details still remain unknown.
Google has made a name for its smartphones by providing automatic, artificial intelligence-powered image editing to enable some industry-leading picture quality. With the Pixel 4, Google looks like it will continue making strides toward improving the Pixel’s bezels, while also highlighting a similar eye-popping display we saw last year by ditching the iPhone-like notch.
This time around, the Pixel 4 is expected to lean into these design changes. But whether the lesser-known Pixels can be propelled to smartphone stardom remains to be seen.
Here’s everything we know about the Pixel
Google Pixel 4: Release Date
Since the 2016 launch of the first Pixel phone, Google has always unveiled its new handset models in October and there’s no evidence to suggest this year will be different. Looking back at the precise dates of previous Pixel announcement dates and it’s even possible to get a pretty precise estimate when the Pixel 4 might drop.
- Google Pixel was announced October 4, 2016.
- Google Pixel 2 was announced October 4, 2017.
- Google Pixel 3 was announced October 9, 2018.
Based on company history, Google’s upcoming smartphone will be introduced to the public the first or second week of October and hit shelves a week or two later.
Google Pixel 4: Price
Since the Pixel 3 and 3 XL have only been available for just over four months, there hasn’t been much in the way of leaks about how much their successors might cost. But peering back at the past could offer insights as to what kind of price tag might be tacked to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
- Google Pixel & XL: $649 / $769
- Google Pixel 2 & 2 XL: $649 / $849
- Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL: $799 / $899
The cheapest a Pixel has ever started for was $649, but in 2018 Google notably raised the price of its baseline model by $150. It’s possible that the cost of the Pixel 4 will remain at $799. But seeing as the company has upped the cost of the XL model every year, we could see a 4 XL that will start at more than $900.
Google Pixel 4: Confirmed by Google
Some employees at Google appear to have inadvertently confirmed that the Pixel 4 has entered prototype testing. On April 8, company software engineers mentioned the Pixel 4 and the expected Pixel 3a budget model on the Android Gerrit source code management website.
The employees referred to the two unreleased phones by name alongside the Pixel 2 and 3, confirming that the tech company is developing both models. They mentioned changes that needed to be made to the “Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine,” or ANGLE, which allows graphical code to work across multiple Google devices seamlessly. The comment reads:
“ANGLE requires that driver preloading is disabled. This has been done for Pixel 2 and 3 and needs to be done for 3a and 4 also.”
Days later, Andrey Konovalov, another Google software engineer, referenced the Pixel 4 by name in an Android Open Source Project. The comment spotted by 9to5Google also suggested that the phone might even be past the development phase and could be in the process of being prototype tested.
“The plan was to first deploy this on Pixel 3 and make sure that everything actually works. Then move on to Pixel 4 and so on,” wrote Konovalov.
Google Pixel 4: Rumored AT&T Partnership
In a tip received by PhoneArena, it looks like the Pixel may finally be heading to an AT&T carrier near you.
The tip in question is an alleged internal AT&T email with the subject line “Google Pixel 4 Seed Devices” that tells AT&T stores to select one employee to receive and become familiar with the phone, supposedly so they can better sell it to their customers.
While AT&T users have been previously able to use unlocked Pixel phones on the network, this would be the first time the carrier itself would sell the phones in-store.
The partnership between Google and AT&T had previously been rumored and anticipated with the launch of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, but at the time Google snubbed AT&T in favor of adding Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular instead.
If it’s true, this could be a big step for Google in terms of attracting a larger audience for its phone and competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple, as AT&T is the U.S.’s largest wireless carrier with 159.7 million users.
Google Pixel 4: Display
Back in January, a Pixel 4 patent emerged suggesting that the hone could come with no bezels. That would be revolutionary but months later in April, Leak aggregation site, SlashLeaks posted what it alleges is a blueprint for the 4 XL’s redesign, with a slightly more realistic design choice: a punch-hole display, just like Samsung’s Galaxy S10 phones.
The Pixel 3 came with a top and bottom bezel, while the 3 XL opted for an iPhone X-inspired notch cutout. This year’s duo might completely pull from Samsung’s design choices to make the Pixel 4 and 4 XL sleeker than ever.
Renders based on the SlashLeaks blueprints make the phones look more stunning than any previous model by vastly improving their screen-to-body ratio. These blueprints and subsequent renders also provide an answer as to where the the phones’ front-facing cameras would go, which the previous patent did not.
The only suspicious thing about the SlashLeaks blueprint is that the Pixel’s signature fingerprint reader on its back has disappeared. It’s possible that Google will take yet another design choice from Samsung and roll with an under-display fingerprint sensor.
Google Pixel 4: Camera
The Pixel 3 and 3 XL were the only premium smartphones that opted for a single rear-camera last year, but that might change for good this time around.
While the January patent suggests Google upcoming phones will stick with one camera, the SlashLeaks blueprint allegest the 4 XL will come with two rear cameras.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 both came with a 12.2-megapixel rear camera even though they came out a year apart. This might seem like stagnation, but improvements still came about thanks to tweaks that happened under the hood. Instead of leveraging multiple sensors like Apple, Samsung, or LG, Google improves its camera tech using machine learning.
Relying on software to improve image quality has resulted in glowing reviews the Pixel 2 and 3 camera features. It also serves to differentiate the phones in a market where most of the competition looks like the multi-eyed purple dude from Monsters Inc.
Adding a secondary camera on the back of its most expensive model could take the quality of its images to new heights, cementing itself as the smartphone photographer’s choice of phones.
Google Pixel 4: Tech Specs
Finally, the Pixel 4’s technical specifications should be in line with what you’d expect to see from any 2019 smartphone unless Google pulls something stunning out of its sleeve.
Pixel phones traditionally run on Qualcomm chips and this year the Snapdragon 855 will be the processor you should expect to see in any high-end smartphone. This will be an incremental upgrade from last year’s Pixel 3, that came with the last-generation Snapdragon 845.
Both the Pixel 3 and 3 XL came with 4GB or RAM and a choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage capacity, with no microSD expansion options. Some of 2018’s phones had as much as 8GB of RAM, so a boost in this department is expected. However, since Google offered Google Drive storage space bundles with the initial release of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, the built-in storage options might stay the same.
Last but not least, minor battery improvements are also expected. The 3 and 3 XL come with 2,915 mAh and 3,430 mAh batteries respectively. Some of last year’s smartphones ran laps around those battery stats, clocking in with as much as 4,200 mAh. So chances are Google will up its performance when it comes to power cells.