Based on the timing of last year’s Pixel 2 launch, we’re still a solid two months away from confirming whatever Google has planned for 2018. But that isn’t going to stop internet sleuths from trying to dig up any info they can. Over the weekend, two leaks popped up that could have some interesting consequences for what Google eventually announces later this year.
The first piece of news comes from a post on the XDA Developers forum (Imgur mirror here) showing what appears to be leaked photos of the upcoming Pixel 3. While the first shot of the phone’s back doesn’t seem all that intriguing, aside from the lack of the two-toned design seen on previous Pixels and the absence of dual rear cameras, the front of the phone looks to be much more divisive.
I mean, just look at it. That notch is huge. I’ve argued before that there’s no sense in getting worked up about notches, as they are often a practical solution to giving consumers a little extra screen. But the notch on this alleged Pixel 3 is a bit different. The sheer size of that sensor cluster looks like it will dwarf everything else on the market, while also protruding into the screen quite significantly. It’s a bold look for sure, but this might be an example of the whole notch trend taken a bit too far.
The other piece of Pixel news comes in the form of some code discovered by 9to5Google hidden within the latest version of the Google app, which sports a mention of a trusted dock and a string that says:
<string name=”trusted_dock_message”>Your Assistant can use your personal info to make suggestions, answer questions, and take actions for you when your phone is locked and on your Pixel Stand</string>
While this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Google potentially making a dock intended for use with Pixel phones, the latest snippet of code paints a much better picture of what that device might actually be. On top of apparently being a standard wireless charger, which suggests the next Pixel will support wireless charging for the first time, it seems this “Pixel Stand” could also turn your phone into smart speaker of sorts that would use the phone’s screen to display info when appropriate.
Considering the recent launch of Google and Lenovo’s first Smart Display, the Pixel Stand could help Google build out its quickly growing smart home lineup, while also helping to bridge the gap between the $130 Google Home, the $50 Home Mini, and the Smart Display, which starts at $200.
It’s still a bit too early to take any of these leaks as fact. However, if the Pixel 3 does end up sporting a humongous notch, it’s possible that Google’s most interesting product this fall will end up being the Pixel’s new accessories rather than the phone itself.