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Exclusive: Here’s Google’s entire 2023-2025 roadmap for Pixel phones
Google’s Pixel smartphones have seen a huge 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 is going to 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
Next year is going to see some slight changes to the Pixel lineup. Our source confirmed that two Pixel phones — codenamed “lynx” and “felix” — will launch around Google I/O in April or May. These two phones have already leaked, with “lynx” referring to the Pixel 7a and “felix” to the Pixel Fold (which has also been referred to as the Pixel Notepad, although Pixel Fold is likely going to be marketed name).
Our source confirmed that Google will keep the same pricing for the Pixel 7a, which would mean a US retail price of $449 to match the Pixel 6a. Previous leaks said the 7a would feature several upgrades over its predecessor, including wireless charging and a 90Hz refresh rate. However, our source did not confirm these features.
The big Google news in 2023 will be the launch of the first foldable Pixel.
Meanwhile, the foldable phone would land at the previously leaked price of $1,799, putting it into direct competition with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold series.
Later in 2023, Google will launch two new phones in its mainline series: the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Our source confirmed that there won’t be too many significant changes for these phones compared to the Pixel 7 series. However, one notable shift is the shrinking of the Pixel 8 (codenamed “shiba”), meaning it will have a smaller display and overall smaller form factor. However, “husky” — aka the Pixel 8 Pro — will have the same display and general measurements as the Pixel 7 Pro.
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 this year. 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.
Depending on the commercial success of the Pixel 7a (or not), Google could move to a biennial A series launch.
Of course, if the company moves away from yearly launches, we think the name of the phone could (and should) change. However, our source did not mention a name change and only used codenames.
If a Pixel 8a — or whatever it’s called — does launch, it would get a price increase to $499. However, this phone’s fate remains entirely dependent on the Pixel 7a’s performance in the market.
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 14, while the 6.3-inch “caiman” would be akin to an iPhone 14 Pro. The 6.7-inch “komodo” would be more in line with an iPhone 14 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 — aka “felix” — 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 2022 is a good move given the lack of any international competition in the 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 it looks like the iPhone 14 Plus will see a similar fate. 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 it’s going to be pretty cool. 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.