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Pixel 4 and 4 XL rumors: Release date, leak details, design, specs and more

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By Lynn La, CNET

Earlier this month during its annual developers conference, Google unveiled the Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL. The new phones are more affordable versions of its current flagship handsets, the Pixel 3  and 3 XL. But the true successors of the phones, expected to be called the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, are still months away. Those phones will continue to serve as Google's ultimate take on its mobile operating system Android, which is the most popular OS in the world, and will likely feature the finalized version of Android Q out of the box.


The success of the Pixel 4 would be crucial for Google. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL aren't selling very well despite their exceptional cameras and critical acclaim. This could be because the phones are exclusive to Verizon (though they work on other US carriers), plus the fact that people in general aren't buying phones as much as they used to. There's also been reported issues with the Pixel 3's performance (but we at CNET haven't experienced them personally) and the company just settled a class-action lawsuit that will pay out owners of the first Pixel phone $500 each. For Google, the company would need to address all these issues with the Pixel 4 if it wants to increase sales and edge out its Apple and Samsung rivals.

In the mean time, read on to see what has been speculated so far and check back as we update this piece with interesting rumors as they arise.

Originally published March 8, 2019

Update, May 26: Adds info about Pixel class-action lawsuit.


Rumor: Pixel 4 XL could have 2 back cameras, hole-punch screen

While previous Pixel XLs launched with just a single camera on the back, leaked photos posted on SlashLeaks indicate that the Pixel 4 XL may have two rear cameras. Google has typically relied on its camera software to do things (like taking portrait photos) that other phones require multiple cameras to accomplish. 

The same leaked photos also show that the yet-to-be announced phone may have a hole-punch display solution for its two selfie cameras, similar to the Galaxy S10 Plus


Rumor: Pixel 4 might have improved dual-SIM capabilities

The Pixel 4 may have a feature that would allow a user to switch between two functioning phone lines. This is an update from the previous Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 (and their larger counterparts the Pixel 2 XL and 3 XL). Those phones have a standard SIM card slot and an eSIM. While you could have two numbers provisioned for the device, you could only talk, text or use data on one line, while the other remained inactive. In other words, only one SIM could be activated at a time.

But the Pixel 4 would be able to have two active SIMs. If either is being used to make a call or text, however, the other line won't be able to take calls or text for the time being. This is similar to how the new iPhones and other Android phones operate.


Rumor: Pixel 4 will likely run Android Q

Like with past Pixel phones, the Pixel 4 line will be one of the first -- if not the first -- phones to run Android's latest OS. Because Google OS names are alphabetical, the upcoming update is temporarily known as Android Q before its official name launches. Although it's not out yet, Android Q will reportedly have a system-wide dark mode, new permissions features, improved facial recognition and enhanced security.


Rumor: We'll probably see it in October

This isn't based on any specific rumor, but since the first Pixel launch in 2016 Google has released its flagship in October. After its developer conference in May, this October event is usually held to highlight Google's hardware developments. In addition to the PIxel 4 we may hear about Google's smart home endeavors.

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