News

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

India

Nokia 6.1 Plus is here to spice up the midrange segment

The first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch

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2018 is undoubtedly the year of midrange phones. While we’ve seen some amazing innovation coming in this year like the in-display fingerprint scanner and moving camera module, they have been limited to the top-tier for now.

The actual innovation has been happening in the midrange segment where we’ve seen companies launch new phones every few months, and for the first time, there have been no compromises. Right from the design to the processor, everything is becoming near perfect. Thanks to initiatives like the Android One program, we are also assured that these phones will last you at least two years.

Joining the bandwagon, we now have HMD Global’s Nokia 6.1 Plus. The phone was launched a few months back in China and is also called the Nokia X6. For the global markets, HMD Global already has a streamlined product lineup that includes the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 5.1.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 15,999 (US$ 230). It will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart and Nokia Online Store starting August 30.

It has a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display and is the first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. Storage is expandable via a microSD card and it supports a hybrid SIM setup.

On the rear, the Nokia 6.1 Plus houses a 16- and 5-megapixel dual-camera arrangement that supports AI-powered portrait mode and automatic scene recognition. The front has a 16-megapixel snapper that is Face Unlock-compatible. The back of the phone also has a fingerprint scanner for authentication and 3060mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Continuing HMD Global’s strategy, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also a part of the Android One program and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, without any bloatware.

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India

OPPO India launches the F9 Pro with a unique notch

Redefining the trend

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OPPO has been increasing its focus on the Indian market in the last few quarters and has already brought its flagship Find X to the country. In a bid to establish itself as a long-term player, the brand has also started a new sub-brand called Realme to capture the budget segment.

The company today announced the launch of the OPPO F9 Pro in India; the device will be succeeding the F7 that was launched in March. To avoid any confusion, OPPO has also launched this phone in other markets like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam where it’s called the F9.

The design on this phone is further refined and has glass backing that creates a color gradient along with different patterns that vary according to the configuration. The notch on this phone is a lot smaller than what we’re currently seeing in the industry and is similar to a tiny “water-drop.”

This is also the first time OPPO’s F-series phone will have a rear dual-camera setup. The phone has a 16- and 2-megapixel setup that has AI-backed features like beautification and portrait mode. The front camera is a massive 25-megapixel shooter that has advanced AI-powered face enhancement and auto scene recognition features.

It’s controlled by a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Another highlight of the phone is its battery, rated at 3500mAh, which supports VOOC Flash Charge that can get you two hours of usage with just five minutes of charging.

The phone runs on ColorOS 5.2 that is OPPO’s skin based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and is available in Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, and Starry Purple. It’s priced at INR 23,990 (US$ 345) and will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart.

A cheaper non-Pro F9 is available as well for INR 19,990 (US$ 285). It comes with less memory at 4GB and a lower-resolution 16-megapixel front camera.

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Gaming

God of War’s New Game Plus mode is here

It’s time for another play through, boy!

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A New Game Plus (NG+) mode for PlayStation 4’s God of War is here. This means whatever weapons, items, and armor you amassed during your first go round, you can take with you if you wish to go on another adventure with Kratos and Atreus.

The NG+ mode also lets you pick a different difficulty setting from the one you first played with. So whether you feel like taking on a tougher challenge or just breezing through the story mode, you can do so. The choice is yours.

Other new content include a new shield skin when you start a NG+ as well as new types of armor you can forge for the father and son duo. The additions also include new challenges like Realm Tears while on a time limit and a variety of new attack patterns for draugrs, witches, and other foes you’ll meet along the way.

Updates not just for God of War NG+ mode

If you’re still in the middle of your first run, don’t worry, the creators of God of War didn’t forget about us. There’s now a button that easily lets you transfer enchantments making it easier to go from one armor to another. There are also some bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements like keeping Kratos safe at all times during parry attacks and improved consistency with how enemy attacks can be parried.

If you’ve completed the game at least once, the update also lets you skip cinematic scenes whether you’re on NG+ or not.

God of War for the PS4 first came out in April 2018 and received glowing reviews from various media outlets. Many of whom even said it’s an early candidate for Game of the Year. It takes the franchise’s main character Kratos into Norse mythology years after he tore through the Greek gods.

SEE MORE: God of War: A must-play for 2018

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