The leaked Google Pixel roadmap details the next few years of hardware changesThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The smartphone industry is in a strange place these days. Throughout 2022, we saw bad news for manufacturers. Even like some great android phones came to market, shipments continued to decline amid economic turmoil and consumers holding on to older devices for longer. These turbulent waters are sure to shake up plans for future devices like we did recently seen with the Samsung plan to emulate Apple’s success in the high end. However, it seems that Samsung is not alone in this race to beat the iPhone. A leaked potential roadmap for Pixels through 2025 suggests that Google has some big ideas for its future phones.
People from Android Authority published a leaked version of Google’s plans for the next three years in terms of hardware, starting with two new devices for early spring and ending in the fall of 2025. As with any leak — especially one as far-fetched as this one — it’s important to take all this with a huge dose of salt. This roadmap shows that the company wants to dramatically expand its Pixel lineup while reducing its focus on lower-end, more affordable models. It’s certainly a gamble for Google, but if this report is true, we could be looking at a complete reinvention of its smartphones.
2023: Pixel 7a, Pixel Fold and the Pixel 8 series
But let’s start with 2023, which contains only a few surprises. Android Authority’s report kicks off Google I/O for the Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold. This is in line with recent rumors about the company’s first generation of foldables, while fitting the usual timeframe for the A-series. Both phones have seen significant leaks in recent months, with The Pixel 7a sounds like a great replacement for its predecessor. Despite rumors of adding wireless charging and a 90Hz display, expect the 7a to stay at its $449 price for another year.
As for the Fold, it looks like those $1,800 price reports are indeed true. Expect to shell out money for Google’s futuristic foldable — especially if you want to see further refinements along the way.
The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will hit the market next fall, and while we don’t know many details, it sounds like another generation of small changes for Google’s flagship series. Perhaps the only surprising element is the smaller form factor for the Pixel 8; we’ve already seen it Pixel 7 slimmed down from its predecessor, and this will be another step in that small leading direction. The Pixel 8 Pro will retain its larger size.
2024: Pixel 8a and the Pixel 9 series
Are you still with us? Great, because in 2024, things start to get complicated—and, in this writer’s opinion, a little unclear. First, Google isn’t sure if it plans to release the Pixel 8a (codenamed “akita”) or if it will move the lineup to a two-year release schedule. This is our first sign that the company is trying to replicate Apple’s strategy with the iPhone SE, and frankly, it’s a terrible plan.
By all accounts, the A-series has been a huge success for Google – in fact, it was the Pixel 3a that really got the ball rolling for the company. Pulling back from this series to focus on more expensive flagships is sure to disappoint the dedicated fan base of A-series buyers. The Pixel 8a launch is reportedly tied to how the Pixel 7a sells, but if it does arrive in 2024, be prepared for a price jump. While this roadmap doesn’t detail anything about the phone’s specs, the price will go up to $500.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 9 series will expand. In addition to the regular Pixel 9 (no codename) and Pixel 9 Pro (“komodo”), Google wants to release a small version of the Pixel 9 Pro. At 6.3″, this model (codenamed “caiman”) would effectively be the size of the current Pixel 7, but with all the goodies that often make users opt for the larger model. It’s another move inspired by Apple, as Google looks to chase the success of phones like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
Oh, and as for a potential successor to the Fold? Google has a second-generation model in the works – that’s no surprise – but depending on how the Pixel Fold performs in 2023, it could be scrapped altogether. Considering how rough the company’s first-gen hardware usually arrives and price tag of $1,800, it’s hard to see how the Pixel Fold will be a sales success, but you never know. It’s a matter of when the hardware finally lands on store shelves.
2025: The clamshell Pixel Fold and the Pixel 10 series
Finally, a peek at what 2025 might look like. Of all the items in this report, it’s important to approach this lineup with the most skepticism. It’s been almost three years and offers two different paths for the company to take, meaning anything is possible.
In both scenarios, Google wants to launch four flagship phones, but what the lineup will look like depends on another foldable phone. This time it’s the Galaxy Z Flip-style Pixel Fold, which will launch in fall 2025. That’s almost six years after Samsung’s original clamshell device, giving one of Google’s rivals a chance to replicate the concept of seven generations to date it arrives.
It’s also in the air. If Google releases its Pixel Flip (for lack of a better codename), it will arrive backed by a standard Pixel 10 and two Pixel 10 Pros, available in larger and smaller sizes. If the clamshell device is scrapped, it will be replaced by a larger standard Pixel 10 – think iPhone 14 Plus. It’s an odd move, given the recent hype surrounding how poorly the Apple Mini replacement has been selling. It’s rare to see anyone online clamoring for a Pixel 7 Pro-sized model without a telephoto lens and other Pro-exclusive features, but perhaps its position in the Android market could lead to a different result.
2025 could also see another successor to the Pixel Fold, but again, that depends on how well the first-gen device performs.
Personally, I think that focusing on competing directly with Apple using your rival’s strategy will be a confusing move. Google ranks far behind Apple and Samsung in sales — a recent report suggests the company has sold less than 30 million Pixels since the original launched in 2016. It’s hard to see how flooding the market with more (and more expensive) devices will boost the numbers, albeit with less competition on Android, everything is possible.
At the end of the day, the phone industry can change on a dime. We are still in an economic downturn, many analysts expect it to develop into a full recession next year. The focus on releasing more high-end phones can be risky — especially as consumers continue to hold onto their devices for longer periods of time. Ultimately, only time will tell how much of this report is accurate, but one thing is certain. Either way, Google has big plans for the Pixel series; don’t expect to see him in the graveyard anytime soon.
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