We’re still a fair way off seeing the next generation of Pixel phones, as Google has only recently launched the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. But, rumours are already beginning to appear about what we might see when the series 8 models arrive.
Here’s what we know so far, as well as a wish-list for what we’d like in the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.
When will the Google Pixel 8 be released?
There’s no confirmation of the official release date for the Pixel 8 models at the moment, but every single Pixel flagship so far has been released in October, like clockwork, so it feels pretty safe to say we expect the Pixel 8 series to make its debut in October 2023.
That’s also roughly what’s suggested by a Pixel product roadmap obtained by Android Authority, which claims that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will launch “later in 2023.”
Before then, it’s expected that the Pixel 7a will arrive – possibly in May at Google I/O – alongside the much anticipated Pixel Fold. Google might also give us a sneak peak of the Pixel 8 phones at the developer conference.
How much will the Google Pixel 8 cost?
Again, there’s no word yet from Google about the potential price tags that will accompany the series-8 devices. Of course, we can use the last few models as a guide to how much you’ll need to save up. Here’s how they lined up:
This shows that Google has been quite set in its ways when it comes to pricing. If that continues in 2023, and we think there’s a good chance it will, then the Pixel 8 should be $599/£599 and the Pixel 8 Pro $899/£849.
What about the Pixel 8’s specs and features?
Obviously, with the Pixel 8 release date so far in the distance, there’s not much to go on in regards to new components or features. There are some rumours though, with the main one focussed on the chipsets that will be used in the upcoming models.
The most recent and detailed leak so far comes from OnLeaks (via Smartprix) which has an exclusive look at the Pixel 8 Pro design from all angles showing off a similar but tweaked design compared to its predecessor. The headline change is the move from a curved to a flat disIt’s aplay which will supposedly be 6.52in – smaller than the 7 Pro’s 6.7in display.
The site also reports that the phone will measure a similar 162.6×76.5×8.7mm (12mm with the camera bar) and it’s noticeable that the camera module now has a single oval for all the cameras, whereas the 7 Pro has a separate section for the telephoto lens.
The new addition below the flash is currently unknown and could be a fourth camera such as a macro lens or could equally just be where the auto focus and other minor sensors will live.
OnLeaks / Smartprix
It’s a similar story with the regular Pixel 8 with OnLeaks teaming up with MySmartPrice this time. The phone has fewer changes than the Pro model, with an almost identical looking design to the Pixel 7.
The handset will be smaller at 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm but the bigger news – or should we say smaller – is that the display will drop from 6.3- to 5.8in.
OnLeaks / MySmartPrice
Dutch site GalaxyClub has reported that work on the third generation of Google’s Tensor chipset is already well into development, meaning it should accompany the Pixel 8 launch. According to the site, Samsung will be the manufacturer again, with a chip bearing the code S5P9865 already appearing on test boards. This follows the naming sequence used with the previous Tensor 1 and 2 processors, which were respectively numbered S5P9845 and S5P9855.
With the Tensor 2 that features in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro already proving more energy efficient and powerful than the previous generation, there’s hopes that the third iteration will push things even further when it arrives.
WinFuture has found more concrete info about the two phones after a dive into what it calls “publicly available code sources.” The site found code names for two phones: ‘Shiba’ and ‘Husky’. Google has used animal names before for Pixel flagships – Cheetah and Panther for the Pixel 7 series – so it seems likely this refers to the Pixel 8 handsets.
According to the code both phones will run a chipset named ‘Zuma’ which uses the same modem as the Tensor 2 – another clue that we’re looking at the next Pixels. Both phones also run on Android 14, which is no surprise.
Surprisingly both handsets feature 12GB of RAM, and display resolution is also high: 2268×1080 for Shiba and 2822×1344 for Husky, suggesting this latter phone is the Pro model.
Those two codenames also appear in the Pixel product roadmap mentioned above, but interestingly with the extra note that while the Pro (Husky) will stay about the same size, apparently the regular 8 (Shiba) will have a “smaller display and overall smaller form factor” – likely a welcome change for many who’ve missed the more compact Pixel phones of old.
We’re so far away from launch that these specs are unlikely to be finalised, and it’s equally possible that these two devices are designed for internal testing and don’t reflect final Pixel 8 specs at all – but at least they give us a hint of what to expect.
Given the Pixel’s cameras have always been so good, there’s a juicy rumour about the Pixel 8’s cameras unearthed by developer Kuba Wojciechowski. They posted source code from the Pixel camera app that suggests the next phone might use something called staggered HDR:
Currently, Pixel phones do not use staggered HDR, which is a feature that can capture different exposures at the same time but use the same pixels.
“This allows achieving the same effect as regular HDR but without the increased capture time or chance at the photos being blurry because of misalignment of frames caused by movement,” Wojciechowski said in their Twitter thread.
Anything that will improve the already excellent Pixel camera is good in our book.
There’s also a chance that Google will follow Samsung and some Chinese rivals and incorporate an under-display camera. As far back as 2021 LetsGoDigital spotted a Google patent for a novel solution to the tech, which uses a moving mirror under the display, capable of pointing either at a camera lens or at a second display. So when you need the camera, light is reflected into the lens, and when you don’t need the camera light is reflected from the auxiliary display to fill the gap.
More recently, Google has filed a second patent (also spotted by LetsGoDigital) for under-display cameras using different (and likely more cost-efficient) tech to achieve the same result. This version relies on a multi-layered transparent display, which is more similar to implementations we’ve seen elsewhere.
Interestingly, the patent mentions by name one Sangmoo Choi – a former Samsung display engineer who’s now been at Google for over three years, but presumably had experience with Samsung’s early efforts at under-display camera tech.
There’s no concrete reason to believe that either patent is for the Pixel 8 series, but there’s at least hope that it’s being readied for a flagship soon.
Wishlist of what we’d like to see in the Google Pixel 8
The class of 2022 has impressed, but here’s what we’d like Google to refine in its next iterations.
120Hz refresh rate on all models
This is a pretty straightforward one these days. With so many mid-range Android phones boasting 120Hz refresh rates to make scrolling smoother, it makes sense for both the Pro and standard Pixel 8 to have this capability. It’s already present in the Pixel Pro 7 and Pixel Pro 6, but we’d like to see the 90Hz rate on the Pixel 7 make the step up when its replacement arrives.
Faster charging speeds
In both our Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro reviews, the main gripe was slow recharge times. In an age where phones can go from 0% to 100% in around half an hour, the Pixels seem doddery in comparison. So, we think it’s important that Google addresses this in the Pixel 8 devices.
Improved facial recognition
While the Pixel 7 Pro impressed us with its new facial recognition unlock feature, the Pixel 7 still needs more time in the oven. Hopefully, the year between releases will mean the Pixel 8 has a better showing.
Lose the weight!
Ok. We’re not fat shaming the Pixel 7 Pro, but at 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm and 212g it could be described as big-boned. We don’t know, maybe it’s a thyroid issue, but for the Pixel 8 Pro we’d love to see a more slimline chassis. It’s true that most powerhouse phones are quite chunky these days, but for the sake of our wrists we can only pray for lighter and tighter designs in 2023.
To see what phones the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will have to see off, check out our best smartphone and best smartphones coming in 2023 roundups.