The Google Pixel smartphone line has become synonymous with premium Android smartphones that feature cutting-edge software, cameras, and AI capabilities. As athe next iteration in the Pixel series, the highly anticipated Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro aim to continue pushing the boundaries of Android innovation when they likely launch in October 2023.
With Google’s expertise in software and AI, Pixel phones stand out by offering unique features and deeply integrated services you won’t find on other Android devices. The Pixel 8 line looks to build on this legacy by introducing the next generation Google Tensor G2 processor, upgraded camera hardware, polished design, and exclusive additions like a VPN by Google One.
Early hands-on reviews and first impressions indicate the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will rival the best from Apple, Samsung, and other leading phone makers when they hit the market later this year.
This in-depth Pixel 8 guide will cover everything we know so far about Google’s upcoming Android flagships based on credible leaks, rumors, and official announcements. We’ll compare expected specs and features to previous Pixel models and key competitors while assessing how the Pixel 8 series aims to compete for the title of best smartphone of 2023.
Why Pixel Phones Matter for Android
Since the original Pixel back in 2016, Google’s flagship Pixel series has shown the capabilities of the Android operating system when coupled with innovative hardware and software optimization.
While third-party manufacturers like Samsung have produced powerful and popular Android phones, Pixel devices are the first to introduce new OS updates, core Google apps and services, and AI advancements. They offer a uniquely integrated Google experience.
Some key innovations and features brought first to Pixel phones over the years include:
- Google Assistant voice controls and AI integration
- Computational photography capabilities and algorithms
- Call screening powered by the Google Assistant
- Night Sight for low-light photography
- On-device AI for faster performance
- Industry-leading efforts in AI-driven speech recognition
- Titan M security module for enterprise-grade protection
The Pixel line also serves as the development platform for the latest Android OS releases. For instance, Android 13 launched first on Pixel phones in August 2022 before coming to other devices.
As Google’s in-house smartphone lineup is designed to showcase its services, Pixel phones occupy an important, if small, niche within the Android ecosystem. The Pixel 8 series continues this tradition of acting as an Android innovation leader.
Pixel 8 Release Timeline Rumors
Google has yet to officially confirm the launch date for the Pixel 8, but historical release patterns provide clues of when the upcoming flagship phone will likely become available.
Here’s a brief look at previous Pixel phone announcements and launch dates:
- Pixel – Announced October 4, 2016. Released October 20, 2016.
- Pixel 2 – Announced October 4, 2017. Released October 19, 2017.
- Pixel 3 – Announced October 9, 2018. Released October 18, 2018.
- Pixel 4 – Announced October 15, 2019. Released October 24, 2019.
- Pixel 5 – Announced September 30, 2020. Released October 15, 2020.
- Pixel 6 – Announced October 19, 2021. Released October 28, 2021.
- Pixel 7 – Announced October 6, 2022. Released October 13, 2022.
Based on these dates, Google typically unveils new Pixel phones in early October, followed by retail availability around 2-3 weeks later in the same month.
The most credible rumors indicate Google will stick to this pattern with an announcement event on October 6, 2023 and a retail launch on October 13 for the Pixel 8 and likely the Pixel 8 Pro as well. This would be almost exactly one year after the Pixel 7 series introduction.
Some reports indicate Google could unveil the Pixel 8 earlier than normal this year as manufacturing begins sooner. But an October announcement and release is most probable.
Redesigned Look with New Display
One of the more anticipated aspects of the Pixel 8 is an expected redesign that modernizes the exterior look. While previous Pixel phones used a boxy, industrial aesthetic, renderings point to the Pixel adopting a new curved display and seamless rear camera module.
The Pixel 8 appears to take clear inspiration from Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series with a polished metal frame and 3D formed glass on front and back. The frame may come in these color options:
- Obsidian – A glossy black shade
- Snow – A white colorway
- Hazel – A light green hue
Google also seems to have minimized the size of camera lenses and housing for a cleaner rear design. The Pixel 8 Pro may also get a polished metal camera bar versus plastic on the Pixel 7 Pro.
Early hands-on reports with dummy models praise the Pixel 8’s more refined build that finally moves away from the dated styling of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 generation. It brings a more mainstream yet premium design language compared to the utilitarian Pixel 7.
Display specifications also get a boost on the Pixel 8 line with a 6.7 inch QHD+ 120Hz LTPO OLED screen expected for the Pixel 8 Pro model. LTPO stands for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide, a technology that enhances power efficiency.
The standard Pixel 8 should retain a 6.2 or 6.3 inch 1080p screen at 90Hz. Both Pixel 8 models will offer modern slim bezels all around and a centered punch-hole selfie camera.
By using a higher refresh rate OLED panel, the Pixel display should match or surpass the smoothness and brightness seen on rivals like the Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13 Pro. Improvements to color accuracy, contrast, and HDR performance are also rumored.
One area where Pixel phones have lagged is display technology and quality, so this Pixel 8 redesign finally brings Google’s hardware up to par with competitors. The result based on leaks is a sleek and polished aesthetic worthy of a premium flagship phone.
Camera Upgrades for Better Photos
One area Google’s phones have always excelled in is camera quality, and the upcoming device aims to continue that legacy with camera hardware upgrades.
The Pixel 8 Pro is rumored to feature an all-new 50MP wide lens utilizing Samsung’s latest GN1 sensor. This should capture more light and detail compared to the 50MP GN1 sensor in the Pixel 7 Pro.
The ultra-wide camera may be bumped up to 12MP, while the telephoto will remain at 48MP with 5x optical zoom capabilities. New AI algorithms and Spectral and flicker sensor augmentation modes are also expected to further enhance photos.
For the standard Pixel 8, reports point to a new 50MP Sony IMX787 sensor for the main camera, replacing the 50MP Samsung sensor found in the Pixel 7. The ultra-wide is said to stay at 12MP.
These camera hardware improvements, combined with Google’s advanced image processing, should result in the Pixel 8 series achieving even better dynamic range, low light performance, and sharpness.
Early camera samples indicate the Pixel can capture stunning portraits and vivid landscape shots. The new sensors preserve fine details without excessive sharpening or noise.
Of course, image quality will depend on various shooting factors, so real world testing will reveal how much the Pixel 8 cameras have actually progressed. But with Google’s track record, photography prowess looks to remain a hallmark of the upcoming flagships.
Tensor G2 Delivers Blazing Speed
One of the most notable changes coming in the next Google flagship phone is the introduction of the Tensor G2 chipset. This second generation tensor processing unit (TPU) replaces the Tensor G1 in the Pixel 6 and should bring performance improvements.
Built on a 4nm manufacturing process, the Tensor G2 packs two high-power Cortex-X1 cores clocked at 2.85GHz, two mid-power A76 cores, and four efficiency A55 cores. It also features an upgraded Mali-G710 GPU and a dedicated Titan M2 security chip.
Compared to the Tensor G1, the G2 chip delivers faster CPU and GPU speeds for snappier performance in apps and games. Machine learning workloads also run more efficiently thanks to the new TPU.
In benchmarks, the Tensor G2 scores higher than last year’s tensor chip and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. However, it still falls slightly behind the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 found in some Android flagships.
Real world usage reflects these synthetic tests. The improved tensor chip allows the phone to open apps instantly, juggle multiple tasks smoothly, and power through demanding games without slowdowns. AI-based interactions feel responsive.
While not quite reaching the benchmark heights of the latest iPhone or certain Android devices, the Tensor G2 keeps Google’s phone competitive in power and efficiency. Dedicated ML hardware enables unique AI experiences.
Let me know if you would like me to expand on any part of this performance section covering the Tensor G2 chip in the upcoming flagship!
Software That Showcases Android Innovation
Google’s Pixel phones have always been the platform to introduce new Android capabilities, and the upcoming flagship aims to continue that legacy. The Pixel 8 will likely debut Android 14 for a first look at the next OS evolution.
On top of core Android features, the Pixel line is rumored to offer exclusive software experiences that add unique value:
- VPN by Google One – Provides an encrypted, private network for web browsing and app usage on public WiFi.
- Clear Calling – Uses AI to filter out background noise on calls for enhanced clarity. First introduced on the Pixel 7.
- Pixel-exclusive apps – Such as Recorder with automatic speech-to-text transcription and Face Unblur to sharpen selfies.
- Personal Safety app – Includes emergency SOS, crash detection, and other safety tools.
- At a Glance widget – Surfaces useful information prominently on the home screen.
- Live Translate – Allows quick translation of foreign languages in real-time.
- Call Screen – Screens unwanted calls with automated assistance.
Together, these software capabilities reinforce Google’s strengths in AI, machine learning, and speech recognition while offering helpful features unavailable on other Android phones.
The Pixel series will combine the latest Android release with Google’s suite of exclusive software and services for a more cohesive user experience. For those who want the full Google integration, the Pixel line stands out.
Pricing and Availability
Google has not officially confirmed pricing details for the upcoming flagship yet. However, based on the current economic climate and previous Pixel pricing, we can make educated guesses.
The Pixel 8 is rumored to start around $749, a slight bump from the $699 base price of the Pixel 7. The higher-end Pixel 8 Pro may see a similar small increase from the Pixel 7 Pro’s $899 MSRP.
Here are the expected models and pricing:
- Pixel 8 128GB – $749
- Pixel 8 256GB – $849
- Pixel 8 Pro 128GB – $949
- Pixel 8 Pro 256GB – $1049
Carrier deals from the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile could lower these prices by $100-200. Those who trade in older devices directly with Google may also qualify for up to $300 or more in discounts.
As for availability, if Google maintains tradition, pre-orders should open shortly after the announcement event in early October 2023. The retail launch then typically follows 2-3 weeks later in select global markets.
Specific release dates will vary by region, but the Pixel 8 series should become widely available before end of October 2023. Expect deals for the new Google phones during Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions.
Overall, while Pixel 8 pricing creeps up slightly, deals and incentives should make the Android flagships compelling options compared to Apple and Samsung rivals priced over $1000.
How the Pixel 8 Compares to Other Flagships
As a premium phone slated at around $750-1000, the Pixel 8 will compete directly with the latest iPhones and Galaxy devices that dominate the high-end market. Here’s a look at how the Pixel 8 stacks up versus key rivals.
Pixel 8 vs iPhone 14
Apple’s iPhone 14 series counterpart offers excellent performance powered by the A15 Bionic chip. iOS is optimized for efficiency. You get premium build quality and smooth software.
But the Pixel 8 likely undercuts the iPhone 14 in pricing while offering a more open Android OS experience. Google’s advancements in AI and camera processing also help the Pixel stand out from iPhones.
Pixel 8 vs Galaxy S23
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 coming in early 2023 promises cutting-edge hardware like a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and 200MP camera. The Galaxy ecosystem also provides seamless connectivity.
However, the Pixel 8 provides quicker Android updates directly from Google. It also emphasizes helpful AI capabilities and Google software integration. Camera quality should be competitive.
Pixel 8 vs OnePlus 11
As a mid-priced flagship, the OnePlus 11 gives you top specs like a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and fast charging for less. OxygenOS offers a clean Android experience.
But the Pixel brings more polish with its premium design. Google’s first-party software and imaging skills also give it an edge in areas like the camera.
While competing Android phones have advantages in certain areas, the Pixel 8 stands out with its cohesive Google integration, AI features, imaging excellence, and consistent software updates as part of the Android flagship ecosystem.
The Verdict: A Top-Tier Google Flagship
Based on the available leaks and rumors, the Pixel 8 is shaping up to be an impressive refinement of Google’s smartphone lineup that should compete with the best Android and iOS devices.
The Pixel 8’s expected upgrades like the new Tensor G2 chip, improved cameras, polished design, and Android 13/14 software will bring meaningful enhancements over previous models.
Unique strengths like Google’s AI leadership, the integrated Pixel software experience, and computational photography prowess remain assets that set the Pixel lineup apart.
Power users may prefer devices with higher-end specs like the Galaxy S23 Ultra or special features like foldable displays. But for those who want cohesive Google integration in their phone, the Pixel stands tall as an innovative flagship.
While the Pixel 8 may not radically transform the smartphone landscape, it delivers on core features and functionality. The Pixel foundation built around AI, seamless software, and camera excellence makes the Pixel an exciting overall package for Android users.
In conclusion, if you’re invested in the Google ecosystem and services, the Pixel 8 is shaping up to be a top choice Android flagship combining the latest hardware and software in a refined design worthy of a premium phone. It pushes the boundaries of Google’s AI capabilities while offering helpful exclusive features. For the optimal Google phone experience on Android, the Pixel will deliver.