Since the date for Google I/O 2023 was announced last week, the rumor mill has been churning out leak after supposed leak with anticipation over what the company will tease at the developer conference. We have already seen a purported leak of the Pixel 7a. And now, we’re looking at what are claimed to be renders of the Pixel 8 Pro, which will be coming out later this year. So far, I don’t like what I see.
According to Smartprix, in collaboration with noted leaker OnLeaks (who has been on the mark with hardware leaks in the past), the upcoming Google Pixel 8 Pro is round again. Google notably moved away from the rounded corner approach after the Pixel 5 launch. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 are more angular than their predecessors, which lead us to believe that this was the direction Google was headed in as its competitors—Samsung, OnePlus—stayed rounded themselves. Alas, the renders show otherwise.
The camera bar isn’t going anywhere, despite the rounded edges. The Pixel 8 Pro rendering shows three camera sensors on the back. It also shows a completely flat display rather than the mild waterfall approach on the Pixel 7 Pro. I personally find the Galaxy S23 Ultra to be more useful since Samsung stopped curving the edges on the screen, and I’m happy to see that Google might be headed in a similar direction.
I’m not happy about the increasingly rounded corners, however. As it appears now, the Pixel 8 Pro’s chassis design seems almost regressive—like Google is taking a step back in its design language rather than iterating on what it has going on now. Though it matches Samsung’s direction with the regular Galaxy S23 series, this feels like more of a ploy to attract the iPhone-using crowd. The edges on the renderings put together by Smartprix look like some of the past iPhones. That metal siding looks precisely like the first-generation Apple iPhone 3G/3GS. It also reminds me of some of LG’s older handsets before the brand stopped making smartphones.
Google has made a habit of teasing its next-generation hardware at Google I/O. It’s the perfect time to trot out what’s next, as all the developers on its varying platforms are tuning into it anyway. Last year, it previewed the Pixel 6a before launching it in the summertime, and we’re likely to see notes of the Pixel 7a up on screen during the keynote. It’s also been hinted that Google might reveal the Pixel Fold during the conference. If that folding smartphone is real, it might explain why the Pixel 8 Pro is so rounded—we’ve already heard rumblings that Google’s foldable will be shorter and wider than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s easy to see the Pixel 8 Pro design seen here could be translated into a folding device. But it’s all conjecture at this point. The good news is there’s so much good stuff on the way.