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Pixel or Nexus? Everything we know about Google’s rumored phones so far [Updated]

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A week before a major product’s unveiling, we normally have a good idea of what to expect from the day of launch. Things are a little different now, with Google keeping its highly anticipated smartphones closely guarded until their official reveal on October 4. Still, this isn’t stopping everyone from following all the rumors and leaks. Here’s what we know so far.

There might be two phones named Pixel and Pixel XL

While Google hasn’t plain said they’re letting go of the long-running Nexus series, tons of rumors are pointing to the company scrapping the name in favor of the Pixel branding. As of now, there are only two Pixel devices under Google, and those are the Android-powered Pixel C tablet and Chrome OS-equipped Chromebook Pixel laptop.

How this unifies Google’s hardware lineups is still a mystery, but this could mean that the Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones are the last of their kind. In their place, we expect a 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL to take over as the search giant’s flagship offerings.

They’re going to be rectangular and made by HTC

google-pixel-leak

Although the line “Made by Google” has been attached to the Pixel handsets, HTC has been tagged to be the manufacturer of both phones. This isn’t the company’s first involvement, however; HTC made the very first Nexus smartphone called the Nexus One, and Google’s latest Nexus tablet, the Nexus 9, was also developed by the Taiwan-based brand.

Google has barely shown us anything so far, but if the leaked photos courtesy of Android Police have anything to say, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in terms of design. We’re looking at an all-metal body with a fingerprint scanner and single camera lens at the back.

Somehow, one of the phones also made its way into a commercial by Nest Netherlands. It matches quite well to the photos above, so there seems to be some legitimacy in the sources. Whether it was accidental or on purpose is the question, but that applies to practically every leak we’ve ever encountered.

Update: We now have what looks like finalized renders of the Pixel and Pixel XL, thanks to leakster Evan Blass. They once again match earlier leaked images, and prove that a new version of Android is coming along. The two phones look exactly the same, though.

Update #2: OnLeaks uncovered a clear 3D render video of the Pixel XL. Additionally, the source claims that the dimensions are 154.7 x 75.7 x 7.3mm (bottom) and 8.5mm (top). This means the camera hump adds a little more bulk to the frame.

Specs are what you’d expect

We’re nearing the end of the calendar year, and that means flagship phones will more or less have the same chipsets by now. We’ll most likely see Qualcomm’s top processor, the Snapdragon 821, inside both handsets, along with 4GB of memory, Full to Quad HD resolutions for the displays, and USB Type-C ports with fast charging capabilities. The IP rating, which is the gadget’s resistance to dust and water, is still unclear.

The bigger news is the possibility of Android 7.1 being on board. It hasn’t been too long since the original Android 7.0 Nougat version came out, but bug fixes and minor tweaks are always welcome. So far, the only upgrade version 7.1 is noted to have is the option to restart your phone directly from the “Power off” menu. It may sound really basic, but no stock Android phone has had it since the OS was conceived.

google-pixel-launcher

In addition, it looks like there’ll be a new launcher to accompany Google’s new phones. Aptly named Pixel Launcher, it’s just like the interface you’re accustomed to in other stock Android handsets, but there’s some much-needed design changes: The app drawer button is gone, the Google search bar has been replaced by a search tab and calendar widget, and the navigation buttons might be redone. You can actually install it now and see some of the features for yourself.

They’ll be priced like rival flagships

The Nexus brand has always been positioned as Google’s way of showing manufacturers how to do Android devices right. With Google having a close eye on the development process of its partners, the hardware maximizes the full potential of the software, and vice versa. To the joy of customers, some Nexus devices were even priced below its competitors despite having flagship-level parts.

Sadly, this might change with the arrival of the Pixel brand. Reports say that the smaller handset’s price will start at $649, and the bigger one at around $750. This would put the duo in direct competition against Samsung and Apple’s best. This rumor seems highly likely, since the two Pixel devices we mentioned earlier, the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel, have eye-popping prices themselves. We don’t like where this is going.

Image credit: Android Police

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Essential Phone is down to only $250, making it a steal of a deal

Cheaper than most midrange phones

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When we first reviewed the Essential Phone, it cost US$ 700. When we reviewed it again, it retailed for US$ 500. Now, it’s down to a mouthwatering US$ 250 on Amazon’s Prime Day sale!

That’s an unbelievable price for a phone that has flagship-grade specs from last year, along with impeccable build quality thanks to the combination of titanium and ceramic.

This phone receives great software support, too. It’s currently part of the Android P Beta program and it even gets monthly security patches before Google’s own Pixel phones at times.

When we reviewed it as a US$ 500 device, we already called it the best deal you can get at that price point. Bringing it down to US$ 250 is just cheating.

Andy Rubin, Essential’s founder, fully endorses the major discount:

Sure, the Essential Phone isn’t perfect — the cameras are sub-par and it lacks certain essentials — but you really can’t complain for such value. It’s safe to say it’s the best smartphone deal you can snatch today, if you can order fast enough through Amazon, that is.

With no follow-up in sight, it’s a safe bet to go for this without any immediate buyer’s remorse. If anything, you get a premium 2017 flagship for the price of a typical midrange phone.

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Singtel introduces PVP eSports Championship

The telco’s next step in the world of gaming

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Singaporean telco giant Singtel has announced its latest eSports initiative, the PVP eSports Championship. It will be a multi-title regional eSports league from October 5 to 7, 2018 with a prize pool of US$ 300,000. For executives, the tournament is part of their efforts towards gaming within the Asia-Pacific region.

The tournament is done in partnership with industry players Razer, MET, Garena, and Blizzard. It will feature the popular PC game Dota 2 and Garena’s popular mobile game Arena of Valor. The Singapore leg of Blizzard’s global tour will also feature their popular game Hearthstone during the tournament.

Teams from Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines will compete in local qualifiers organized by Singtel. The winning teams will then move on to the Grand Finals in Singapore, where they will compete against professional teams from North America, Europe, and China. The tournament also serves as Singtel’s opportunity to scout for Singapore’s own eSports team, which they wish to sponsor for future competitions.

Singtel hopes that the tournament builds upon current gaming initiatives from telcos like Globe in the Philippines and Telkomsel in Indonesia. Singtel CEO Arthur Lang recognizes the power of mobile gaming within the region, with smartphones being the main gaming device. “Telcos have every right to play in the growing gaming ecosystem,” Lang said in a statement.

To know more about the upcoming tournament and how to get there, you can visit its official website or MET’s official post. Singtel will provide details on streaming services for the tournament in the future.

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Samsung will launch three S10 variants, report says

Will have a feature that Apple doesn’t have yet

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If you’ve followed the tech industry closely, you would have noticed a troubling trend. Someone is always copying someone else. Features are almost always shared between brands. Hence, we have ubiquitous notches, dual cameras, and AI features.

As such, it comes as no surprise that Samsung might copy Apple’s lineup next year.

Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Samsung will adopt Apple’s three-model lineup from this year. (Despite Kuo’s infamy with Apple, he has recently opened his repertoire up to other brands.)

Previously, multiple rumors suggest that Apple’s 2018 lineup consists of three phones for different markets. This includes 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch models. More succinctly, these three models will fit into traditional market classifications: affordable, regular, and premium.

Likewise, Samsung might launch the same structure next year. Already, rumors have speculated on the features that will grace the Galaxy S10 and S10+.

For example, the premium Galaxy S10+ will likely pack in five cameras, including a rear triple-camera system. This year’s premium iPhone offering may also feature Apple’s take on the triple-camera system introduced by Huawei.

Additionally, Kuo reports that Samsung will introduce a more accurate ultrasonic, under-screen fingerprint reader for next year. Amid rumors that Samsung is copying Apple, this is a new feature that has not graced Apple’s phones yet.

Regardless of the new features, the company has traditionally released two models anyway. Arguably, the more surprising part of Kuo’s report is the lower-end Galaxy model. Samsung has usually relegated their midrange and budget models to other lineups.

If Samsung does copy Apple’s three-models strategy, it adds another page to the “Samsung is copying Apple” saga. Regardless, Samsung will announce their new Galaxy lineup early next year at MWC 2019. Prior to that, the company will launch the highly awaited Galaxy Note 9 at this year’s Unpacked event happening in a few weeks’ time.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s least popular phone since the Galaxy S3

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