Just like the Pixel 3 and 3 XL before them, the upcoming, less expensive, and so-called “lite” Pixel phones from Google have been thoroughly leaked over the last few months. We know what they look like, what the hardware specs are, and have even seen some camera samples. Who wouldn’t be excited about getting the Pixel 3’s best-on-the-market camera in a more affordable device? But a release date (and price) for these phones still remains a mystery: Google had nothing to announce at this week’s Mobile World Congress, so we might be looking at a spring launch time frame or maybe even later. Android Police has reported that they’ll be available from Verizon sometime this spring.
Several recent FCC filings are the latest example that things are moving along and we’re getting closer to a release. They don’t contain many details, but the confidential filings are almost certainly the Pixel 3 and 3 XL Lite. (There’s been no indication that’s actually what they’ll be called, for the record.) There are eight in all, but if you consider the different colors, storage capacities, and sizes that Google will offer, it makes sense that we’re still ultimately talking about just two products. Tellingly, their model numbers align with previous Pixel phones, and one of the filings reveals that they’ll be running Android 9 Pie.
Google has asked that the filings remain confidential through August 24th, 2019, which falls well ahead of the company’s usual fall hardware event in October. So yes, it’s likely these devices will ship sometime in the next few months instead of alongside a future Pixel 4.
The Pixel 3 and 3 XL Lite will feature a plastic casing similar in overall design to Google’s current two flagships, and they’ll be powered by less powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. They also ditch the dual-selfie-camera system and dual front-facing speakers. But they regain the headphone jack for the first time since the Pixel 2’s release and should offer a camera that delivers images near or at the level of the standard 3 and 3 XL. We’ve seen a lot of the Pixel 3 Lite, but not so much the XL variant: renders have suggested it won’t have a notch.
Google has been discounting the 3 and 3 XL in recent months; they’re currently $200 off at the company’s own store. So it’ll be interesting to see exactly where Google ends up pricing these phones. $600? $700? Less? Hopefully we’ll hear much more about them fairly soon.