It seemed like a foregone conclusion there would be a phone later this year called the “Pixel 3,” but you never can tell with Google. Today, that seems like an even safer bet. As is tradition, the first hints of Google’s next flagship smartphone have appeared in the Android open source code. Specifically, Google is optimizing code for a device called “Pixel 3.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that. The rest of the details are still murky.
Android is open source, so anyone can hit the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and see what Google is up to. In one recent commit, Google developers are working on an Auto Selection Network UI, and the change references the unreleased phone. “The HAL V_1_2 only supports Pixel 3,” according to the code comment.
This doesn’t tell us anything useful about the device — just that it supports some network features that current Pixels do not. What’s interesting here is that someone called the device by its marketing name very early in the development process. It’s unlikely test hardware for Google’s 2018 smartphones has even made it to the manufacturing sample phase. In addition, Googlers tend to refer to smartphones by code name in AOSP. For example, the second-generation Pixels first popped up as “Walleye” and “Taimen.” Google always uses sea creature code names for its devices.
The fact that Googlers actually called this phone a “Pixel 3” suggests it was truly a slip-up. No one should be making such a clear reference to the phone six months prior to its announcement. Or maybe a Googler is just having a little fun by mentioning an unreleased phone in AOSP where they know people will see it.
If the Pixel 3 launch does anything like the Pixel 2 did, we can expect a pair of phones. The “Pixel 3” reference probably refers to both devices, which will share the same internal specs. The smaller phone will, of course, have a smaller screen. One or both of the phones may also sport a screen notch this time. Google is building notch support into Android P, and that’s the version of the OS Google will ship on the Pixel 3.
The third-generation Pixels should be announced October this year. If you’re looking to pick up a Pixel 2, you probably want to do that soon. Otherwise, it’s best to wait on the third-gen. Even though you can’t get it through most carriers, Google’s Pixel phones have been excellent devices. It might be worth the wait.
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