Google is ushering in a new era of Google phones with its not Nexus but new Pixel phones. The Pixel X and Pixel XL will launch next week as an example of the best Android can bring to the table. We offer everything there is to know about the new Google phones, including the Pixel X and Pixel XL UK release date, UK price, new feature and specification rumours. Plus: How to watch Pixel X/XL live stream. New Google phones live blog.Also see: Nexus 5X review and Nexus 6P review.
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Pixel X, Pixel XL release date: 4 October 2016 (launch), 20 October (onsale, TBC)
Google surprised us all this year when it decided to mix up things with its new Android and hardware launches. What usually happens is the Developer Preview of the latest Android OS is announced and made available at Google I/O, which is usually held in late-May/early-June, then the final version is announced in late-September/early-October on new great-value Nexus phones.
Instead it announced the Android N Developer Preview ahead of Google I/O, and made available the final release of Android Nougat on 22 August ahead of its 4 October product launch. It said the LG V20 would be the first phone to run N out of the box. Also see: When will my phone get Android Nougat?
Now we're hearing rumours that the October event won't bring new Nexus devices (save for a potential upgrade to the much-loved Nexus 7 tablet), but instead two Pixel-branded phones as the 5in Pixel X and 5.5in Pixel XL.
So, what does this mean? Perhaps that Google is beginning to place less importance on the software, which is by all accounts now pretty darn good, and more importance on the hardware. The phones rumoured to launch on 4 October have the tagline 'Made by Google'. They're not - they're made by HTC - but they will have Google's official stamp. It's like Google is going beyond the software now to make a statement that this is how a Google phone should look and behave.
So, we could be in line for some excellent new Androids next week, which will attract shoppers not because they are cheap as in previous years, but because they are the best of what Android phones can bring to the table.
It's worth pointing out that 4 October is the date of the Pixel X and Pixel XL launch event. The phones are unlikely to immediately go onsale, though Australian mobile operator Telstra is rumoured to begin shipping the new Google phones on 20 October, around two weeks after the launch.
Google event live stream: How to watch Pixel XL live stream
Google will be holding a live stream of its Pixel X and Pixel XL launch, which we will host at the top of this page. We will also be hosting a live blog on this page, offering real-time expert analysis and commentary on the announcements.
The event will be held on 4 October at 9am PDT, which is 5pm in the UK.
New Google phones live blog: Real-time coverage of Pixel X, Pixel XL launch
New Google phones: Pixel X, Pixel XL price - how much will the new Google phones cost?
As we mentioned above, Google is moving away from its budget-friendly Nexus brand and will instead be unveiling two new Pixel phones. It's unlikely that these will offer the same extraordinary value as Nexus devices have in the past - Google wants you to buy them because they are excellent Android phones, not because they are cheap. Also see: Best phones 2016 and Best Android phones 2016.
So it comes as no surprise that the Pixel X and Pixel XL are expected to be Google's most expensive phones yet. While the Nexus 5X now costs from £299 and the Nexus 6P from £449, the Nexus Blog reports that the 32GB version of Pixel XL will be priced at $599 while the same storage option for the Pixel X will be priced at $449. If true, that's an extra $70 over the 5X, and $100 over the 6P.
Police managing editor David Ruddock thinks they'll be priced even higher than this, though, and has tweeted that the Pixel XL will cost $649 (it's not clear whether he is talking about a 32- or 128GB version).
This one is more hearsay: price point being thrown around for Pixel XL is $649. Not clear if that's 32GB or 128GB.— David Ruddock (@RDR0b11) September 11, 2016
We're now all but certain that HTC will be making the Pixel X and Pixel XL, although another name thrown into the mix a while back was Huawei. It's now become clear that Huawei is behind the rumoured update to the Nexus 7 tablet.
If you're wondering about the tagline 'Made by Google', know that CEO Sundar Pichai has already confirmed that Google will not be building the new phones itself, but that it will be more opinionated in the design.
Rumours that HTC was working on two new Google phones went into overdrive at the end of April 2016 following a tip from serial leaker @evleaks on Twitter.
HTC is building a pair of Android N devices for Google internally dubbed M1 and S1 #nexus— Evan Blass (@evleaks) April 27, 2016
Huawei then allegedly confirmed that it was responsible for at least one of the new Nexus devices for 2016 (which could very well be a new Nexus 7 rather than a new phone). Huawei general manager for consumer business in South Africa said: "We’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way."
Huawei was already tipped to be making the updated Nexus 6P by Chinese electronics industry analyst Pan Jiutang, via Weibo.com, yet others have claimed HTC is responsible for both.
Huawei's PR have since been in touch with PC Advisor with the company's official comment on the subject: “We don’t comment on future products, as a matter of policy. Huawei is committed to creating the world’s most compelling and innovative devices, offering an exceptional performance and outstanding user experience.
"We are proud to have worked with Google, which is strong in innovation, on the Nexus 6P and will continue to collaborate in the future, such as our support for Daydream, the recently-announced platform for high performance mobile VR.”
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