Google Pixel 3 release date, specs and price rumours: Software spotted in Android files confirms the handset’s name


We may have been given our first, albeit accidental, glimpse at some of the features coming to the Google Pixel 3, and Android P, after XDA-Developers spotted clues in the pages of the Android Open Source Project.

XDA-Developers spotted a piece of software, known as HAL, that connects Android to hardware, that will only run on the Google Pixel 3. “This change added the config because the HAL V_1_2 only supports Pixel 3, and the new Auto Selection Network UI is based on HAL V_1_2. So we set the flag to decide which Auto Selection Network UI should be used based in the device type.”

It’s not entirely clear what this means for the hardware and software. XDA-Developers has speculated the HAL update would let the Google Pixel 3 continously scan for mobile networks – not the most exciting insight. 

What is a little more interesting is that the discovery has confirmed the Google Pixel 3 will be called just that. There’s still no official word on a release date and Google is not commenting on this latest find.  

Similarly, there’s no official word on an Android P release date, but we can guess when it will be unveiled by looking at the timeframes of previous releases. If Android Oreo was anything to go by, Android P should get a developer release date in March before being released in full to the public in August. And it’s likely to be the pre-installed software for Google’s next range of smartphones, including the Google Pixel 3.  

The Google Pixel 2 arrived last year, and we were certainly impressed. To date, the flagship has one of the best cameras we’ve ever tested on a smartphone, with a speedy processor to boot. It did, however, leave some things to be desired, falling short of the iPhone-esque revolution we’d been praying for.

This has been amplified further recently following the release of a myriad handsets from Google’s rivals at MWC 2018. Sony went big on design with the XZ2, for Samsung it was all about the camera on the Galaxy S9 and Nokia provided flagship specs without the £800+ flagship price. Not to mention arguably one of the Google Pixel 3’s biggest competitors, the OnePlus 6, nearing release.

Hope is not lost, particularly with the release of the Google Pixel 3 around the corner. If Google wants the Pixel 3 to topple any of these rivals, or even the iPhone 9/iPhone 11 it’ll need to fix a few things with the Pixel 2. 

With that in mind, here are the extra features, fixes and specs we’d like to see Google bring to the Pixel 3.

1. A cheaper price

Many moons ago, Google made excellent, affordable smartphones. Take the Nexus series, whose solid build, good quality and great value made such handsets an attractive choice.

The Pixel deviated from this considerably, with Google plugging the high-end at the expense of its more affordable, albeit less impressive, counterpart. Right now the Pixel 2 can be picked up SIM-free for £629 for the 64GB model, and £729 for the 128GB model. If Google wants to disrupt Apple and Samsung’s smartphone designs, it’ll need to reduce the cost of the Pixel 3 when it comes to market, which would well and truly put it in OnePlus’ territory. 

2. Wireless charging

Android phones paved the way for wireless charging, with Google’s Nexus range leading the way until the all-metal Nexus 6P. Since Apple added wireless charging to the iPhone 8 range, opening the technology (and wireless chargers) to millions more people, popularity has risen. There is, therefore, a chance Google could bring it back with the Pixel 3. 

READ NEXT: What is wireless charging?

3. Bring back the jack

Google were quick to slam Apple’s controversial removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, but regrettably followed suit with the Google Pixel 2. Users now need to make use of a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter, or invest in some Bluetooth headphones. It’s not exactly an enticing prospect. For Google to get the edge over Apple, it needs to revive the headphone jack for the Pixel 3.

4. Cutting-edge specifications

The Pixel 2 ended up installed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, at the expense of getting the 836 chipset. That’s not a terrible thing – the 835 powers most of the best smartphones released this year – but if Google wants to stand out from the crowd, it would be helpful if it was bettering its rivals, rather than just matching them.

5. Better battery life

With the screen calibrated to 170cd/m² brightness and Flight mode switched on, the Pixel 2 lasted 14hrs 17mins in our battery test. Sure that’s four hours longer than the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, but it’s slightly behind last year’s Pixel. Battery life is a hugely important factor nowadays, and the Pixel 3’s should at least be the same as the Pixel 2’s.

6. A more interesting design

The Pixel 2 is sleek, yes. But there’s nothing particularly revolutionary nor even memorable about it. Rivals such as the Samsung S8, which sports an incredible bezel-less display, or the iPhone 8, which at least looks stunning, are leagues ahead of the Google Pixel 2, which is comparatively nondescript. It’ll be good to see an introduce a bold design language – like they did with the Pixel 2 XL (although hopefully without its terrible screen).

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