Here's Everything We Know About 'Pixel': The First Smartphone Built By Google

Google Pixel XL smartphoneImage: Supplied

In two weeks from now we will likely have official confirmation of brand new smartphones from Google, the first to be designed by the company itself.

The web giant has teased an unveiling set for 2am AEST October 5, and unless it's planning to reveal a completely unexpected product that just happens to have the rounded oblong dimensions of a smartphone, it seems like the long-held rumours of a Google phone will come to pass. Here's everything we know so far.

A new Google microsite shows a familiar rectangle — which has been the centrepoint of the company's search empire for almost two decades — slowly morphing upward into the shape of a phone, which fills with a variety of standard lifestyle images. Aside from the graphic, the page features the text "5 Oct." and the Google favicon used across its products, as well as a field for people to enter an email address and be "notified".

The web address of the teaser — — makes it clear that this product will be promoted as built and designed in-house, unlike the Nexus devices which carry the brand and design hallmarks of the manufacturers that make them.

In recent years Google has increased the number of hardware products that carry only its own branding, including Chromecasts and the acclaimed Pixel C tablet. Despite having developed the open source Android operating system for more than a decade, the company has never built its own phone.

Recent leaks had shown HTC to be building a new pair of Nexus phones, but Android Central reported last month that the devices would be dropping the moniker.

More recently, Android Police cited an "exceptionally reliable" source as claiming Google would rename the devices Pixel and Pixel XL. Another source told the website that Google would claim the devices were "the first phones built by Google" — a claim that's now been given weight by the company's teaser — although Android Police believes the phones will be designed by Google and manufactured by HTC.

Google set the stage for its new phones earlier this month when it killed its experimental modular phone initiative, Project Ara.

Also of note is the company's recent complaint that phone manufacturers using Android weren't doing enough to release updates in a timely fashion. The delay has led to unflattering comparisons between Google's Android system and Apple's iOS.

Since Apple controls both the hardware and software, it can ensure that security and feature updates will work with all devices and push them out instantaneously, while Google relies on manufacturers and service providers to tweak and approve changes to Android before they can be rolled out. With a phone it has designed and controls itself, Google would have a device that would compare much more favourably to the iPhone in this regard, and could serve as an example for other manufacturers.

This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald's home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.


    If this is the first Google phone what were the Nexus phones?

      this product will be promoted as built and designed in-house, unlike the Nexus devices which carry the brand and design hallmarks of the manufacturers that make them.

      Nexus devices are built by and branded as the manufacturers product (i.e. Huawei Nexus 6P, LG Nexus 5x)

      Pixel devices will be designed by google, and have the google branding (i.e. Google Pixel XL)

    These phones aren't made by Google, they are manufactured by HTC. Just like EVERY OTHER NEXUS, they are 'designed by Google' but BUILT by a partner OEM, except these are called Pixel and will feature non stock Android software. Calling it the first smartphone built by Google in the headline is a bit of a misnomer, and is almost clickbait.

      Apparently they didn't have as much say in the hardware design as people thought with Nexus phones (why the 6P and 5X look so different). HTC are just acting as an assembly plant for these ones, much the same as Foxconn build most other phones on the market.

    So... basically we don't know a whole lot about the phones themselves?

    Only gonna be good if they're cheap. Sick of this thousand dollar flagship nonsense.

    I hope Google release a decent thousand dollar flagship.

    My Xperia Z5 has easily been the worse phone in terms of updates, here we are at the end of September and it's sill on Lollipop. But then telstra have been very lazy in getting that update out, 6 months they have sat on it.

    If it's got a decent (and I mean very good camera), I'll take one when they eventually get an Australian release.
    I can only see audio and camera as differentiators between smartphones these days. Some of the manufacturers (LG and Huawei spring to mind) are starting to cater for that. Hope Google does too.
    I was gonna be all over Ara. Still a little disappointed that's not gonna happen.

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