Pixel 8: What we know about Google’s flagship phone

The Pixel 8 Pro, briefly shown on the Google store website (Google)
The Pixel 8 Pro, briefly shown on the Google store website (Google)

The two big remaining smartphone releases for the year have now been scheduled. Apple has confirmed that its next event — almost certainly the unveiling of the iPhone 15 — is scheduled for September 12, and now Google has announced its next Pixel event will fall less than a month later.

When will the Pixel 8 be released?

Invites have gone out to the next ‘Made by Google’ event, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4. While the Pixel 8 isn’t directly mentioned, Google says it intends to “introduce the latest additions to our Pixel portfolio of devices”.

Pixel 8 design

More conclusively, Google briefly published a picture of the Pixel 8 Pro on its storefront. It was quickly removed, but not before eagle-eyed Twitter users reposted it.

At a glance, it looks remarkably similar to the Pixel 7 Pro, but the camera lenses are shaped differently. If that weren’t a big enough giveaway, the accessibility-friendly alt text simply read: “A person takes a call on a Pixel 8 Pro phone in Porcelain.”

The phone made a second appearance in an advert for the Made by Google event, in which Google poked fun at Apple for finally switching to a USB-C connector for the iPhone 15 range.

Pixel 8 features

Alongside the introduction of the Tensor 3 chipset for the usual gains in speed and power efficiency, Google is said to be considerably improving the camera performance for the Pixel 8 handsets.

Both phones will reportedly receive an improved Samsung GN2 sensor for better light capture, and the Pro model will also get a 64MP ultrawide lens — quite an improvement on the 12MP sensor on the Pixel 7 Pro.

Speaking of the Pro model, an earlier leaked video showed the introduction of an infrared heat sensor, seemingly for medical temperature readings as widely used by venues for access in the Covid era.

Made by Google: Other products to expect at the event

Elsewhere, we’re also expecting to see a second-generation Pixel Watch with a substantial performance upgrade. While the original wearable used the six-year-old Exynos 9110 processor, the new model is tipped to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5, which only came out last year.

That should make it more responsive in use, but crucially also address the watch’s Achilles heel: its weak battery life, which struggled to last a day.

It’s possible we’ll also see other additions to the Nest family of smart home devices at the same time, given Google’s ownership, but the Pixels will likely be the main event.

With Google making both the hardware and software — Android and Wear OS — they tend to be excellent products, even if this is yet to translate to market share. Back in May, Statista estimated that just 3.2 per cent of UK users used a Pixel as their primary smartphone.