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Google's Pixel 2 To Feature Improved Camera, CPU and Higher Price, Says Report (9to5google.com) 105

Google's Pixel smartphone was released in October last year, but we're already starting to hear about the "Pixel 2" successor. The "reliable" source told 9to5Google that the next Google flagship will feature an improved camera, faster CPU and higher price tag. Interestingly, the source notes a "budget" Pixel is in the works. 9to5Google reports: We're also now being told, however, that Google is once again focusing intensely on the camera with Pixel 2, that the device is currently being tested with improved chipsets from two different manufacturers, and that it will bring a higher price. Finally, the same source says Google has lately been testing lower-end Pixel devices which would bring lesser specs and a much lower price tag. As for waterproofing, this is a slight change in tone today from this same source that before told us the feature would "definitely" be coming with the next Pixel. Now we're told that the feature is "still on the table," which would suggest a less firm position from Google on the feature. More interestingly, we're now told that -- just like with last year's model -- the Pixel 2's camera will be a major focus for the Mountain View company. Our source says that, specifically, Google is aiming to master low light photography with the next-generation device. We're further told that the phone's camera will "not have large MP size," but will rather "compensate in extra features." Our source says that multiple Pixel 2 models are being tested now with improved chipsets: "some with Snapdragon 83X chips, others with Intel chips." We're also told that MediaTek was at one point collaborating with Google on the Pixel 2, but isn't any longer. Finally, our source has indicated to us that Google is internally testing a "few" prototypes of a device they referred to as "Pixel 2B" which would purportedly be released either "alongside or shortly after Pixel 2." This phone would bring with it a lower-price point and less powerful hardware, and would be "aimed at different markets," our source says. As for the price of the next Pixel, we're told that -- as of the time of this writing at least -- Google is expecting that there will be "eat least" a $50 USD increase in price.
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Google's Pixel 2 To Feature Improved Camera, CPU and Higher Price, Says Report

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  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @08:51PM (#53745957)
    I can understanding wanting a better camera and an improved CPU, but why do we want a higher price?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      to pay for the privilege of not having a microSD card!

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @09:02PM (#53746025) Homepage Journal

      Well, with respect, you're a nerd, you're not really in touch with what ordinary people want. I'm more with it, and I've been saying for a long time that I'd like to spend more than $600 on a phone. Despite this very few manufacturers are willing to sell phones costing more than that.

      Now, to be fair, most have at least started to add the features I want in a higher end phone - minus, alas, the higher price. I was glad to see Apple eliminate the headphone jack. Samsung's doing sterling work removing SD card slots, and soldering in the battery.

      ...but, I still feel, even these devices have battery lives that are just too high, their apps still too powerful, and they just don't cost enough.

      Does that make sense to you? I mean, would your rather pay $60 for a phone with lots of RAM, lots of storage, an SD card slot, and a couple of SIM card slots, with a battery that lasts all day when you could pay $800 for something that doesn't have all of those unnecessary features that'd just be confusing and are what nerds want anyway?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Hopefully when the new model comes out the old one will get a lot cheaper. I'd really like to own a Pixel, but not at £1000 for an XL with good amount of storage.

  • Ignoring Customers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @08:54PM (#53745979)

    So the number one complaint about the pixel was the cost but ignore it for the next generation? I guess its hard to hear people with your head firmly planted in your anus.

    Anecdotally most people I know used to use Google devices, now after two expensive generations no one does.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @09:28PM (#53746147)

      This. I use to exclusively buy Nexus devices. In my house we still have two Nexus 7 (2012s), which I replaced with three Nexus 7 (2013s, three becauae we added one for my son). All my cell phones have been Nexus devices. I think my Nexus 5X will be my last. For my wifes rreplacement phone we are looking at OnePlus devices since Google clearly forgot what made their devices popular in the first place. They just want to be the next Apple. So my next reasonably priced device will be a OnePlus or Hauwei.

      • I don't want a cheap device for the sake of having a cheap device - I'm prepared to pay a bit more for the right set of features. It needs to be the right size, it needs to have a good battery life, it needs a headphone jack...

        But when you can get very capable handsets like the OnePlus 3 at a reasonable price, there is no point in paying twice as much for a Pixel or an iPhone - regardless of what features they add.

        • Oneplus proved that a cheap or affordable device can come with flagship level hardware and features. We're living in a kind of a smartphone bubble where a typical iPhone costs well under 300USD to manufacture, and yet retails for 650USD plus. I don't know why the Android flagship phones need to be just as expensive. Perhaps the Android phone manufacturers have bought into the myth that in order to be taken seriously, their phone must cost as much as the iPhone.

          • Heck, the Nexus 4 and 5 proved that.

            The Pixel proved that my wife and I aren't loyal enough customers (read suckers) not to immediately jump to OnePlus and ZTE (Axon 7).

            Sam

      • It would be bad business for Google to compete with independent vendors for market share. What Google wants to do instead is define the high end with high-res AMOLED, quality build, etc. So the high price is supposed to make you want it but discourage you from buying it. Far better for Google's bottom line to encourage Samsung and the rest to build similar quality devices for a better price. Google sells ads and makes 20 times as much from ads as it does from peddling phones. Knocking Android vendors in the

      • So my next reasonably priced device will be a OnePlus or Hauwei.

        That's exactly my thought too. This seems like the trend now among the refugees from the Nexusland. I have had already very good experience with Oneplus One. This thing was built like a tank. It just refuses to die after being dropped and developing dents on its body. It is still surprisingly fast ans responsive smartphone with great battery, and with good community support.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So the number one complaint about the pixel was the cost but ignore it for the next generation?

      That's the number one complaint from the small number of people who previously bought Nexus devices because they were cheap. On the other hand, a much larger number of people bought the Pixel phones than bought any previous Google phone, because of the quality.

      Google isn't ignoring complaints, Google is switching market segments. You happen to be part of the old one but not part of the new one. That's too bad for you, but not for Google, since the new one is larger -- and more profitable (which isn't hard

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        Interesting claims given Google has not announced sales numbers or claimed that it has outsold previous generations.
        • That's probably because no one can find it to buy, except at Verizon stores-- where service is mandatory. Google's online store has gotten them in over the months, but their notification system hasn't been notifying people on the wait list (like me, been on since November, 0 notifications, despite there being stock coming and going), and they're apparently getting in about 3/4 of a phone each time, because the shipments sell out in a matter of minutes. They appear to be sending over 99% of the shipments to
    • So the number one complaint about the pixel was the cost but ignore it for the next generation?

      They can follow the Apple model. Have three tiers of phones at different price levels. The middle tier is basically last year's design, the low tier the design from two years ago.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@worf.nCOUGARet minus cat> on Friday January 27, 2017 @03:03AM (#53747025)

        They can follow the Apple model. Have three tiers of phones at different price levels. The middle tier is basically last year's design, the low tier the design from two years ago.

        They are following the Apple model. In every way except software support. A Pixel gets 24 months of software updates, followed by 12 months after that of pure security updates.

        Granted, 3 years of support is extraordinary for Android (Nexus gets 18 months from end of sale), but compared to iPhones, it's starting to be a bit... short. Apple's software support is somewhat legendary even though in later versions you really just get security updates and it does get bloated down, but Apple seems to provide a good 5 years.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Friday January 27, 2017 @05:45AM (#53747281) Homepage Journal

          A Pixel gets 24 months of software updates, followed by 12 months after that of pure security updates.

          That's the minimum. Since the Pixel has only been out since October, you don't know how much support it will continue to get. Based on support for older Nexus devices, it looks likely that they will get feature updates for more than 24 months.

          We need a better way of evaluating Apple's updates too. Sure, technically you can update that old iPhone 5S, but it's going to be so unusably slow they might as well have remote bricked it for you. Not upgrading means no security updates at all, unlike Google who continue to support everything back to 4.0 via Play patches to mitigate issues.

          • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Friday January 27, 2017 @10:11AM (#53747983)

            That's the minimum. Since the Pixel has only been out since October, you don't know how much support it will continue to get.

            People said the same thing every time a new Nexus came out. Even the Nexus 5, which Google still occasionally uses in promotional material, had its support dropped as soon as the minimum passed.

            Google uses the word minimum to fool you into your line of thinking. "No, this time, it'll be different, with this phone".... right.

    • The number one complaint was from people who thought they were the target market but aren't, and your surprised that Google didn't listen?

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I still have a Nexus 4 as a backup phone and it's still a beautiful little phone. It might not have been the best feature phone in its day (nor was it meant to be), but it was comparatively affordable and did its job really well.

      I really don't know what Google are going with the Pixel but it seems pretty self-defeating to price a device so high and offer so little in terms of features (except for some extra software) to justify that price. Honestly, the specs of the OnePlus 3T aren't far off the Pixel and

    • Yes. There's a difference between having a "flagship" product and having a "luxury" product, and I think they're losing their sight of the difference.

  • What the nut? It was already outrageously priced, and they're going UP with it?

    • by jonyen ( 2633919 )
      There is that line that says, "Interestingly, the source notes a 'budget' Pixel is in the works." The higher-end version is probably higher priority as you can take out premium features with relative ease and sell the cheaper version after people have gotten past the initial hype.
  • We're further told that the phone's camera will "not have large MP size," but will rather "compensate in extra features.

    So long as it's still in the mega-Pixel range I don't mind a drop in the raw resolution. Megapixels are the ocular equivalent of the old megahertz myth, that more is always better. I doubt an ordinary person can tell the difference between a 20 MP and a 12 MP image or even a 5 MP photo posted on their Twitter page.

    • Agreed. I rarely use my phone's camera for taking real photographs. I'd rather use my DSLR with decent glass, better performance at higher ISOs, and more control over aperture and shutter speed. The DSLR even does better video than a phone.

      The phone's camera is handy for times when a real camera is not available and you have to have some kind of shot.
      • Under poor lighting conditions, a 5 MP photo taken by a DSLR looks better than a 20 MP photo taken by a smartphone. Of course image processing algorithms might make a smartphone "better" at taking headshots for FBookers who prefer fiction to real life.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The Pixel camera gives amateurs who just point and shoot a better chance of getting something good, or at least showing what they want to see. The always-on but still instant HDR is a pretty big improvement and I'm sure everyone else will be copying it soon.

        I have a DSLR but don't carry it most of the time. Often I don't even really want to stop and fiddle with settings, and sometimes you can't take multiple shots until you get it right with your limited smartphone sensor. If it wasn't so damned expensive I

    • Software trickery (like Google) doesn't always save the day while more megapixels can be done well.

      HTC relied too much on Google's path and ended up with a lower overall quality camera.
      Sony uses some of their high-end, high pixel sensors and ends up not doing too badly with it - better than Google's "software tricks".

  • The Pixel has been a dog because it's wicked over-prices (and, you get to give them all your data, too!)
    So, it seems to me, this announcement is about how they're going to perform a Solomnic cutting of the baby into two equally incomplete devices, and charge more money for each!

    What could go wrong with That Idea???

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @09:56PM (#53746239)

    no deal.

    • by ukoda ( 537183 )
      Agreed, I brought every Nexus phone offered up to the Nexus 6. I refused to downgrade to Nexus 6P or Pixel. If the Pixel 2 is also missing wireless charging the its a deal breaker, no sale. I have yet to see a single new feature on recent phones that would make abandon my wireless device that never needs plugged in for one that needs plugged often.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Remember before Samsung shipped wireless charging as standard they would at least have contacts inside the back case for it, so you could just get a 0.1mm thicker replacement back to enable it? Come on Google, at least give us the option.

      If OnePlus offered it in their phones they would be damn near perfect. Unfortunately no-one offering a pure Android experience also offers wireless charging.

    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday January 27, 2017 @09:22AM (#53747789) Homepage Journal

      no deal.

      Wireless charging is incompatible with metal bodies, and metal bodies are all but necessary for high-end CPU/GPU performance.

      The problem is that when they're working hard fast CPUs and GPUs pump out a lot of heat, and when they got hot they throttle down and performance nosedives. Good performance in occasional bursts is good for some usage patterns, but it's bad for games, bad for heavy camera usage, and bad for benchmarks.

      So in practice, phone performance is all about heat management, and the most effective way to ensure that the chips stay cool is to provide a large heat sink with a large exterior surface area to spread and radiate that heat. Spreading out the heated surface is important or you get hot spots -- potentially very painful hot spots. The Nexus 5X was terrible that way, since basically the only place it could effectively radiate was through the metal ring around the fingerprint scanner, which becomes unpleasantly hot during heavy usage.

      You can't radiate heat through the front of the phone, because it's all glass. The edges can work, and have the advantage that there's often a hand touching them during heavy usage, and the skin on that hand does a good job of carrying away excess heat (skin is liquid cooled, as long as temps don't get too high), but they're small. What works best is an all-metal body, which provides a large heat sink with excellent conduction characteristics and is exposed to air and frequently touched (unless you wrap the body in a big insulating case, of course... but even if you do that it's still a large heat sink).

      And you can't charge wirelessly through a metal body.

      I like wireless charging, but I honestly don't miss it on my Pixel XL. The reason is a combination of three things: good battery life, fast charging and USB C. Good battery life and fast charging mean that I no longer bother to charge my phone at night. I really only charge it in my car, where there's really no place for a wireless charging pad anyway. Fast charging means that if I'm in the car for 40 minutes or so per day, that's all my phone needs to stay charged. USB C's reversible connector also makes a surprising amount of difference. Mini and micro USB connectors, like type A, almost always require at least two attempts to insert correctly. USB C slides right in first time, every time because it's reversible and also somewhat more forgiving of insertion angle.

      Anyway, I don't think you're going to get wireless charging in any high-end phone for at least the next few years.

      • Anyway, I don't think you're going to get wireless charging in any high-end phone for at least the next few years.

        The Nexus 6 made it work. Samsung is still making it work.

        • Anyway, I don't think you're going to get wireless charging in any high-end phone for at least the next few years.

          The Nexus 6 made it work. Samsung is still making it work.

          I should have qualified my whole post with "Using current-generation Qualcomm SoCs". Nexus 6 used an older, slower SoC that runs cooler. Samsung uses their Exynos SoCs. This is an example of how Qualcomm's dominance is hurting the ecosystem (See https://hardware.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org]).

    • Get this [amazon.com] and put it under the case you'll already need to get rid of the camera hump.
  • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @10:23PM (#53746305)

    The smartphone gossip at the beginning of each year has become very mundane and boring. Despite being promised a "game changer", We know that every new flagship phone will come with an identical latest gen snapdragon SoC, it will have a large high resolution display, plenty of RAM and storage, and they all will look the same.

    • by afidel ( 530433 )

      it will have a large high resolution display, plenty of RAM and storage

      The number of flagships that have shipped with >4GB of ram and support for the Verizon network has been pretty close to zero which is why I'm still rocking my 3GB Note 4, not worth upgrading for one more GB of ram. I'm waiting on an 835 based phone with 8GB, preferably with an ~5.2" screen, replaceable battery, SD card support, and a promise to match the Pixel for software support (ie for the 2 years that Qualcomm will provide drivers

  • I loved my Nexus 4, I liked my Nexus 5. I couldn't figure out why to upgrade to a 5X. I will never buy a Pixel while an iPhone SE is $400 (that is, approximately as much as a Nexus 4 or 5).
    • There were reasons to upgrade to 5X. Great and accurate display. Better camera. Larger capacity battery. Its stock OS is Nougat that's updated every month. On the other hand, those improvements couldn't justify the hefty price increase for the phone with very limited storage and only 2GB on RAM. The Nexus 5X wasn't well received originally, but when I saw some online retailers selling 32GB model for under 250USD, I couldn't resist and got one for myself.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @11:55PM (#53746547)

    What I want is seemingly what a lot of people want:

    1) Smaller phone: nope
    2) SD storage: nope
    3) Wireless charging: nope
    4) SD card: nope
    5) Larger battery instead of thinner phone: nope
    6) Lower price: nope
    7) Nexus with no bloatware or lockdown: nope
    8) Removable battery: nope

    Will the Pixel 2 fix any of that?

    But what generally keeps coming out is just larger yet thinner, resolutions ever increasing past what any human can ever see, cameras with more and more resolution that isn't really needed, less serviceable, never enough battery life, never enough storage, more locked down than ever stuff with features added many don't want or care about, but removing features that are useful.... with a huge price tag to boot.

    Pixel? Pass. Nexus 6P? Pass. Nexus 5X? Pass. Nexus 6? Pass. Still clinging to my Nexus 5 and hoping....

    • 7) Nexus with no bloatware or lockdown: nope

      What bloatware comes on the Pixel?
      Everything else on your list is spot-on though.

      • I am told that Verizon still loads bloatware on it

        • I am told that Verizon still loads bloatware on it

          I don't believe that's the case. In any case, don't buy it from Verizon, buy it from Google. Then it won't have bloatware on it, and it will not be locked down. If you need to pay over time, Google will finance it at pretty much exactly the same monthly payment that Verizon will.

          As for the rest of your list:

          1) Smaller phone

          The Pixel (not Pixel XL) is pretty close to the same size as your Nexus 5. It's the same width, and just 6mm taller.

          2) SD storage

          Your Nexus 5 doesn't have it either. I agree it would be nice to have.

          3) Wireless charging

          Wireless chargi

    • The Nexus 6 (64GB) is the only half-way reasonably priced Nexus/Pixel device still somewhat available, $150 - $200 @ EBay, and ~$300 @ Amazon.

      Best use an alternate charger though, Motorola's stock charger SPN5504/a has less than an Amp (~0.8a) of power output @ 5V. The Pixel phones will charge nearly 4 times as fast.

    • A few fellow slashdotters is not a lot of people. There's a much bigger market for people who don't give a crap about those things.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The OnePlus 3 offers all of that except for the wireless charging.

  • We're further told that the phone's camera will "not have large MP size," but will rather "compensate in extra features".

    The last time a manufacturer did that, the camera ended up being worse for those features.

    Then again, Sony keeps on outdoing both HTC and Google on the camera front.

  • Don't release a cheaper phone. Why make a half baked phone? People who want a cheap phone should just buy the older generation model. Having to make a cheaper phone depletes the ability and focus on a good product. Make a good phone for $850. That is affordable by 95% of people. It's only about $70 a month. Who can't afford $70 a month? That's less than two days of work on minimum wage for the ability to communicate with anyone and to watch youtube and post crap on slashdot. It's a good deal. What else does

    • That's less than two days of work on minimum wage

      So if you're on minimum wage, it's about 10% of your income. That seems a little steep to say it's affordable by 95% of people.

  • I don't understand why the Android media has gone head over heels for the Pixel.

    The S7/S7 Edge phones beat the corresponding Pixel/Pixel XL in several areas - bigger battery, SD slot, water resistance and, currently, lower price and arguably they look better. Oh, and they have wireless charging.

    For the consumer, they're better phones. OK, so the Google phones get updates quicker but that's only a consideration for the geek crowd. Assistant is, I dunno, OK I guess but probably not a major consumer selling po

    • Another problem with Samsungs is that they are normally carrier locked and come with carrier bloatware. As a result, a typical Samsung phone has about one hundred more, impossible to delete, apps installed than a typical Oneplus or Nexus or Pixel. Being loaded with carrier bloatware crap also means incredibly slow update process because the updated ROM must be tested by the carrier.

      • by Geeky ( 90998 )

        I'm in the UK where that doesn't happen. I can buy direct from Samsung or from a high street store that sells them unlocked. OK, so there are the Samsung apps and they do preinstall the Microsoft apps, but again, these aren't things that will particularly both the average user.

  • It isn't worth it to me to pay $600+ for a phone that doesn't look or handle any different from my previous phone and simply has slightly better performance. The Pixel line of phones just are not innovative in anything but maybe the software and if that is the case why the hell do we even have a dedicated expensive line of phones? If Google wants to charge this kind of pricing they need to actually innovate at the hardware level. -See xiaomi mi mix for example.
  • I'm done with Google phones, guys
    They have become too expensive, too large and as bloated as other vendors phones, while nothing on them is unique and somehow stands out.
    Improved camera? Who cares, really?
    How about more than a day without recharging instead?
    Removable battery?
    Two SIM cards?
    SD card (at least one, better two)?
    Size that fits into pants front pocket?

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