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Exclusive: Here’s Google’s entire 2023-2025 roadmap for Pixel phones
Updated, September 13, 2023 (01:00 PM ET): With the Google Pixel 8 series coming soon, we’ve updated this article to reflect on the accuracy of this source’s Google Pixel roadmap.
Original article, December 22, 2022 (01:09 PM ET): Google’s Pixel smartphones have seen a massive boost over the past year. First, the Pixel 6 series brought a boost in critical and commercial success, something the company desperately needed after the relative commercial failures of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4. Then, the Pixel 7 series saw even more critical acclaim and, from what we can tell, a continuation of the sales success of the Pixel 6 line.
The question now is, what can we expect from Google in 2023 and beyond? Thanks to an anonymous but trustworthy source, Android Authority can exclusively reveal the major shifts Google will likely take with the Pixel series in 2023, 2024, and 2025.
Although we have vetted this information thoroughly, please note that this roadmap is not set in stone. Our source said certain aspects of the plan are definite, but others are up in the air. We will acknowledge the likelihood of each detail as we walk you through the Google Pixel roadmap.
The Google Pixel series in 2023
Our source leaked this information in 2022, months before the biggest leaks started landing for the Pixel series. The source confirmed that two Pixel phones — codenamed “lynx” and “felix” — would launch during or around Google I/O. These two phones have since become official, with “lynx” referring to the Pixel 7a and “felix” to the Pixel Fold. As expected, both phones landed on May 10, 2023, during the Google I/O event.
The big Google news in 2023 is the launch of the first foldable Pixel.
Our source said that Google would keep the same pricing for the Pixel 7a, which would have meant a US retail price of $449 to match the Pixel 6a. However, our source was incorrect on this detail, as the Pixel 7a’s confirmed price is $499. Do note that the pricing of devices is the easiest thing a company can change at the last minute.
Meanwhile, we were told the Pixel Fold would land at a price of $1,799. This turned out to be 100% accurate, as that is the starting price for the 256GB model of the Google-branded foldable.
Upcoming Pixel 8 series
In October, Google will launch two new phones in its mainline series: the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. At the time of this leak in December 2022, our source confirmed that Google would stick to the general guidelines of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 when it comes to specs and design. Now that we’ve seen official images of both phones, we know this was true.
Interestingly, our source told us in December that Google was planning on shrinking the Pixel 8 (codenamed “shiba”). They claimed it would have a smaller display and overall smaller form factor. On the flip side, “husky” — aka the Pixel 8 Pro — would have the same display and general measurements as the Pixel 7 Pro. Today, official info from Google supports these claims, with the Pixel 8 being smaller than the Pixel 7 and a Pixel 8 Pro with the same general dimensions as the Pixel 7 Pro.
However, one detail our source did not tell us is that the Pixel 8 Pro has a flat display, a first for a Pro-level Pixel. It’s possible the source did not know this information or Google made the change sometime after December 2022.
Finally, the codename for the silicon debuting with the Pixel 8 series is “zuma.” Google will almost certainly market this as Tensor G3.
The Pixel series in 2024: More Pro, less A?
Aside from the launch of the Pixel Fold and an earlier launch for the Pixel 7a, 2023 doesn’t look too different from 2022. 2024, though, will see some significant changes in Google’s Pixel roadmap.
Google Pixel 8a
First, there is a plan for a Pixel 8a, which is codenamed “akita.” However, the plan could be scrapped based on sales of the Pixel 7a. Our source says that Google is thinking about moving away from annual launches of A series phones and instead going for a biennial launch (every two years). This would bring the A series more in line with Apple’s iPhone SE series, which sees launches every few years and stays active on store shelves that whole time. Even with the launch of the iPhone 15 series, Apple has not replaced the 2022 iPhone SE.
Depending on the commercial success of the Pixel 7a (or not), Google could move to a biennial A series launch.
Our source said that if a Pixel 8a does launch, it would get a price increase to $499. Obviously, this proved inaccurate as the Pixel 7a already has a $499 price.
Pixel 9 series
In the fall of 2024, Google will launch the Pixel 9 series. However, this series will, for the first time, have three devices, according to our source.
The first will be the vanilla Google Pixel 9, which would likely be the same size and general format as the Pixel 8 (which, remember, is slightly smaller than the Pixel 7). There would also be the expected Pixel 9 Pro — codenamed “komodo” — with a screen size in the 6.7-inch realm. Then, there would be a second Pro-level model that is codenamed “caiman.” This phone would have all the Pro-level features of the 6.7-inch model but cram it down into a 6.3-inch design.
The Pixel 9 series could have a third phone: a smaller Pro-level model.
Our source likened this strategy to Apple’s iPhone launches. The Pixel 9 would be like an iPhone 15, while the 6.3-inch “caiman” would be akin to an iPhone 15 Pro. The 6.7-inch “komodo” would be more in line with an iPhone 15 Pro Max.
When we inquired as to how likely this is, our source emphatically stated that this is definitely happening. Google wants to mimic Apple’s successful sizing strategy, which means it needs a Pro-level phone that isn’t as large as the Pixel 7 Pro. Pricing, naming, and availability are all up in the air, but the goal of three phones is set in stone.
All three of these phones should see the debut of Tensor G4, which we have learned is codenamed “redondo.”
Finally, there is a plan for a follow-up foldable in 2024. However, not much is known about this at the moment. It’s likely Google is waiting to see the consumer response to its first foldable before getting too specific about the follow-up plans.
The Pixel series in 2025: Two potential strategies
Pushing into 2025, our source says Google is looking at several choices for its Pixel roadmap, which will be heavily influenced by the success or failure of its 2023 and 2024 plans.
First, Google is toying with the idea of having a flip-style foldable phone to compete with the Galaxy Z Flip series. If it goes this route, the fall 2025 launch of the main Pixel series would include the flip-style foldable, a non-folding vanilla model (we presume it’ll be the base Pixel 10), and then two Pro-level iterations with one being smaller and the other being larger.
Google is considering a clamshell foldable for 2025, but it has an alternate strategy in place too.
However, if Google abandons the flip-style device, it would move ahead with four non-folding phones. That would be a vanilla model in small and large sizes and a pro model in small and large sizes. Once again, this would directly line up with Apple’s current strategy for iPhones.
Finally, the fate of any Pixel Fold successors in 2025 is still dependent on its market reception in 2023.
Google Pixel roadmap leak: Our thoughts
The information we received from this source makes a lot of sense to us. Pretty much every company is chasing Apple’s non-foldable smartphone success and strategy and Samsung’s foldable success. To find out that Google is using both companies as templates for its own future products is anything but surprising.
The question we have, though, is whether Google will be too late to the party. The Pixel Fold launching in 2023 is a good move given the lack of any competition in the US foldable segment, but the first shot at a flip-style phone not landing until 2024 seems too slow. Remember that Samsung sells more Galaxy Z Flip phones than Galaxy Z Fold phones at a ratio of 3:1. Google should be going after the flip market sooner rather than later.
Likewise, Google’s attempt to match Apple’s approach of having more palm-friendly pro-level phones should be happening in 2023, not 2024. By then, Apple’s strategy may have changed. After all, the “Mini” iPhone series wasn’t a big success, and industry scuttlebutt suggests the possibility that the iPhone 15 Plus will probably be the weakest seller. If Google wants to chase Apple, it needs to be faster than this.
Regardless, we are very excited about this news. A more compact Pixel 9 Pro sounds perfect to us, and the Pixel Fold seems like a hit so far. Moving the A series to a biennial schedule also makes a lot of sense.
For now, we’ll just need to wait and see how Google’s final Pixel roadmap pans out compared to the information we have.