What we know about Google's new Pixel phones - and why you should care

By Hayley Tsukayama

Images of Google's Pixel phone was leaked by retailer Carphone Warehouse. Photo / Screenshot
Images of Google's Pixel phone was leaked by retailer Carphone Warehouse. Photo / Screenshot

Google is expected to announce two new phones Tuesday, but information seemingly posted early by a British retailer may have given us all a sneak peek at what's to come.

All unofficial leaks, no matter where they come from, should be taken with a grain of salt. With that in mind, however, the leak from retailer Carphone Warehouse does back up a few things already suspected about the phones, according to 9 to 5 Google. (Not only that, the pages that revealed the leaks appear to have been taken down - often a sign that someone jumped the gun.)

The Carphone Warehouse leak, for example, supports what we've heard about the new phone's name. For several years, Google has released phones under the "'Nexus" brand name. Rumor has it, however, that Google is ditching the Nexus name in favor of "Pixel" - a name it already uses in its Chromebook lineup for its highest-end device.

According to the leak, the phones will come in two sizes. One will have a 5-inch screen (larger than the standard iPhone7), while the other will have a 5.5-inch screen (the same same size as the iPhone 7 Plus).

Both are supposed to have fast-charging technology, with language on the removed site boasting that they will be able to get 7 hours of battery life out of a 15-minute charge. If true, that's certainly not too shabby.

They will also reportedly have AMOLED screens, like their predecessors.

That promises screens with vibrant colors and deep blacks, which also meet the specifications of Google's virtual reality project, Daydream.

Both Pixel models shown on the removed site had a metal body similar to the iPhone, with two speakers that appeared to be rear-facing.

Google's options come at a time when the holiday offerings for smartphones aren't looking too exciting. Between the widely criticized headphone-jack-free iPhone and the bad press around the recall of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, consumers may be looking for another option.

These Pixel smartphones may not seem like anything much more extraordinary, but they will serve as the first real vessels for Google's fledgling personal assistant. In this space, Google has plenty of competition from Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana. But Google's (which is just called Assistant) also has something none of those others do: the extensive suite of services baked into the Android system.

Getting the assistant to work smoothly with the company's many services - Gmail, Calendar, the newly named G Suite (formerly Apps for Work), Maps, etc. - will be key to the success of Google's efforts in this area overall.

And if the Pixel phones can convince the hardcore Google fans that the company's assistant should become a key part of their lives, that paves the way for others to follow in their footsteps - and gives Google a leg up in the battle to design an artificial assistant that will become everyone's constant companion.

- Washington Post

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