The Google Pixel and Pixel XL launched last year are among the hottest smartphones on the market, but anticipation is already building up for the next-generation Pixel 2 lineup.
Google is already working on the new generation of Pixel smartphones and it accidentally revealed their code names recently, fueling speculation about what to expect.
To recap, Google hardware boss Rick Osterloh confirmed at the Mobile World Congress 2017 earlier this year that a Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are in tow for a 2017 release. Osterloh noted that both upcoming Pixel 2 handsets would hit the premium segment of the smartphone market.
Google Pixel 2 Smartphones And Code Names
More recently, news surfaced that the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are code-named "Walleye" and "Muskie," while a separate report also hinted at a potential third Google smartphone that may or may not be part of the 2017 Pixel lineup. This third Google smartphone is purportedly code-named "Taimen."
Android Police spotted the "Muskie," "Walleye" and "Taimen" code names on the Android Open Source Project gerrit thanks to Google's Treehugger automated update bot, further indicating that three smartphones are in the works for the Google Pixel 2 lineup.
Google's Fishy Device Code Names
While there's little else to go on at this point, these code names do offer some clues as to what to expect. For some reason Google has a strange inclination toward fishy code names - just like Android iterations are named after sweets, Nexus and now Pixel iterations are code-named after fish.
As a reminder, the 4.7-inch Nexus 4 from 2012 was code-named Mako, the 5-inch Nexus 5 from 2013 was Hammerhead, the 6-inch Nexus 6 from 2014 was Shamu, in 2015 the 5.2-inch Nexus 5X was Bullhead, and the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P was Angler, while in 2016 we had the 5.1-inch Google Pixel as Sailfish and the 5.5-inch Pixel XL as Marlin.
The sizes of the fish referenced in the code names offered clues regarding the size of the devices, and going by that logic, we can get an idea of what to expect from the upcoming Pixel 2 family of smartphones.
A walleye typically weighs about 241 pounds, a muskie is roughly 38 pounds, while a taimen tips the scales at 220 pounds. With this in mind, the walleye Pixel 2 could be the smallest of the bunch, the muskie Pixel 2 XL could be slightly larger, while the taimen model could be the largest one, perhaps launching as a tablet rather than a smartphone. On that note, "Taimen" could be referring to a new Nexus 7/Pixel tablet.
Google Pixel 2 OEM
Google signed a two-year agreement with HTC for Pixel smartphones. HTC already delivered the Google Pixel and Pixel XL in 2016, and should provide the new Pixel 2 handsets this year.
Recent rumors also indicated that Google is already looking ahead toward the 2018 lineup and a number of manufacturers, including HTC, LG and others, are racing for the chance to make the Pixel 3. Until then, however, the 2017 Pixel 2 smartphones will come from HTC.
Google Pixel 2 Rumored Specs
Lastly, there's a great deal of interest for the specs the Pixel 2 lineup might bring to the table. While not many details are available at this point, the Pixel 2 series is expected to boast notable improvements over the previous generation and that should translate to some beastly offerings.
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL already launched as powerful flagships with a slew of neat specs and features, albeit their conventional design was deemed rather boring and uninspiring. The Pixel 2 could sport a more attractive design, especially since the sleek Galaxy S8 series smartphones have raised the bar with their bezel-free displays and premium overall design.
Some rumors also indicated that Google might switch to OLED for the Pixel 2, opting for a large display that would cover most of the front panel. Since the Pixels don't have physical home buttons anyway, a large, OLED and bezel-free display for the Pixel 2 would make sense.
The upcoming Pixel 2 smartphones are also expected to be water-resistant for extra durability. The current Pixel and Pixel XL don't come with water and dust resistance, but their successors should make up for it.
Other rumored specs for the Pixel 2 series include 128 GB and 256 GB native storage configurations, 6 GB of RAM, 10nm Snapdragon 835 processors, and Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.
The purported specs are still in the rumor state at this point and a lot could change until the smartphones are ready to hit the market, but one thing's for sure: The Google Pixel 2 devices will be premium all around and will compete at the high end of the smartphone market.