Update, June 4: Roland Quandt revealed one new detail about the 2019 mid-range Pixel. The device is apparently codenamed “bonito”, which makes sense considering that Google tends to name its hardware projects after sea life. According to Wikipedia, bonitos are “a tribe of medium-sized, ray-finned predatory fish in the family Scombridae – a family it shares with the mackerel, tuna, and Spanish mackerel”.
If the “bonito” codename is real, we expect to see references of it in the source code of Android and other Google projects over the next months.
Original post, June 2: Google looks set to add some mid-range phones to the Pixel family.
Following rumors from earlier this year about a mid-range Pixel targeting India, a tweet from serial leaker Roland Quandt gives us a little insight into what to expect for next year.
According to Quandt, who has many verified leaks under his belt, Google is working on a “mobile” device that runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chip.
Off to Taiwan for @computex_taipei today, but here’s a tidbit for ya: Google is working on a “mobile” device based on the Snapdragon 710 currently scheduled for launch in the 1st half of 2019. Sounds like this might be the (or one of them) upcoming mid-range Pixel phone.— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) June 2, 2018
The device would be released in the first half of next year, and Google has just started work on it.
While Quandt speculates that this device could be a Pixel phone, he doesn’t claim to have any specific info on what this device is, other than to say it’s “mobile”. That said, it seems unlikely that Google would put out a tablet, given it just (unceremoniously) yanked the tablet section from its Android website.
Presuming the device Roland Quandt heard about is indeed a new Pixel, it could be the second generation of the mid-range Pixel. The first generation could reportedly arrive in July or August of this year, specifically targeting India and other developing markets.
This early in the development cycle, everything is still in flux, so even if this rumor is spot on, the project could still change or even shut down in the future.
Snapdragon 710 is Qualcomm’s new chip for “upper mid-range” devices. It aims to offer high performance and a rich feature set to phones that sell in the $400-$500 range. The Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is the first phone that launched with Snapdragon 710 on board.
Compared to the Snapdragon 660, the 710 will bring significant performance improvements, a 30 percent decrease in battery consumption, and support for advanced machine learning and other AI features.
Previous Pixel phones have all been high-end, with some variants of the Pixel 2 XL testing the $1000 limit. A Pixel device that sells for half of that could greatly expand Google’s hardware reach, at the cost of stacking up pressure on Android manufacturers.
Read next: Would a mid-range Pixel make sense?
What do you make of this rumor? Would you be interested in a mid-range Pixel?