Before 2016, Google used to partner with different OEMs for its smartphones. The company had worked with the biggies like Samsung, Huawei, HTC and Huawei for this. However, it dropped its brand name Nexus in favor of Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.
The search engine giant continued this trend by launching the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL last year. While the third generation Pixel devices are not expected to launch before fall, the rumor mill has already started churning out details about the smartphones. Google will reportedly unveil not two but three Pixel devices this year.
According to a Chinese blog Qooah, there will be two high-end smartphones called Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and another mid-range device. The blog claims that the mid-range device carries the codename 'Desire' and it is the part of Google's Android Go program. This means, the 'Desire' smartphone will run on Android Oreo (Go Edition) operating system.
A separate report by XDA Developers suggest that Google has accidentally confirmed the name of its upcoming flagship smartphone. Folks at the website has spotted a commit message on the Android Open Source Project.
The commit, titled "Cherrypick," reads "This change added the config because the HAL V_1_2 only supports Pixel 3, and the new Auto Selection Network UI is based on HAL V_1_2. So we set the flag to decide which Auto Selection Network UI should be used based in the device type."
"HAL" here probably stands for something called a "Hardware Abstraction Layer." In simple words, it is a software that connects a device's hardware to the Android operating system. This specific HAL affects the cellular connectivity. This means, the Pixel 3 could pack new radio features.
Last year, we came across a report suggesting Google will launch three smartphones in 2018 codenamed as Crosshatch, Albacore, and Blueline. The report further claimed, instead of calling the Pixel phones by their codenames, the company will refer to them as A, B and C for privacy.
Whatever the case is, it is too early to draw a conclusion. Just like last year, Google may eventually launch only two smartphones by canceling the third one.