First Look at the Pixel 2 XL Suggests Google is falling into the Copycat Trap

Google Pixel 2 XL

It’s almost a year since Google Pixel and Pixel XL were released and as expected, talk of the next-gen Pixel phones is now beginning to take shape. In fact, it’s no longer about empty talk, but we have what is our first look at the upcoming Google Pixel 2 XL, the successor to the 5.5-inch Pixel XL from 2016.

Over the past few weeks, we have had a lot of talk about the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Whether it’s about the expected design, the specs under the hood or even the pricing strategy, but thanks to the ever-illustrious folks at Android Police, we have the first images of the larger XL.

The publication is quick to note that this Google Pixel 2 XL name is not the confirmed moniker for the phone just yet. But since last year’s models were dubbed Pixel and Pixel XL, it makes sense to assume that this year’s model will be called Pixel 2 XL.

From the images, we can see quite a lot of the phone’s design from the front and rear panels. There’s also some details regarding the edges, but this is not the final product. Nonetheless, the images give us a clear view of what the phone will look like when it finally hits the shelves later in October and honestly, it appears that the tech giant is falling into the now pronounced copycat trap as far as smartphone designs are concerned.

Since hardware specs for flagship phones are always the same (Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB/6GB RAM, and 64GB storage are the most common this year), what many fans would really like to see are innovative designs that set apart each company’s smartphone, but this is becoming increasingly rare. Samsung, LG and HTC kicked off the year with some amazing phones in the shape of Galaxy S8, LG G6 and HTC U11. The first two phones debuted a new display design with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 and 18:9, respectively, while the U11 came in with a novel idea that allows users to squeeze the edges to interact with the phone in various ways.

Samsung and LG achieved the new design change by drastically reducing the size of bezels on the top and bottom ends. On its way to introducing an Infinity Display, Samsung even took this design to the next level by completely eliminating the side bezels, just like with the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge. For sure, the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are real beauties and any smartphone enthusiast wouldn’t mind having one of these as their day-to-day toy.

Given the plaudits Samsung and LG have been receiving for their beautiful design choices on the Galaxy S8 and G6, many competing OEMs have decided to take this same path. Lots of rumors regarding the Apple iPhone 8 suggest that the design will be similar to the S8. With the latest Google Pixel 2 XL images, we see a design that is also very synonymous with the S8 and G6.

The bezels are smaller than last year’s Pixels and the aspect ratio is at 2:1, with the screen size expected to be a massive 6-inch panel. Like the S8 and G6, the corners of the display are rounded, which should give the phone a beautiful look when compared to its predecessor. While this design might put the Google Pixel 2 XL in the same class as the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, it keeps illustrating how smartphone OEMs are increasingly getting poor when it comes to innovative designs.

Google Pixel 2 XL

It gets even worse given AP notes that the Pixel 2 XL will feature the HTC U11-like squeezable edges, which is another blatant copycat move. Apparently, the touch-sensitive edges will allow users to interact with the Google Assistant and other apps in various ways, just like what Edge Sense does on the U11. Even if Google’s implementation ends up being better than HTC’s, it doesn’t take away the fact that it won’t be an original idea from the former.

Turning to the rear panel, the Pixel 2 XL image shows off an almost unchanged design compared to the previous models. The back is curved, but the corners are a little sharper. The fingerprint scanner keeps its position, but it no longer lives in the glass section as with the original Pixels, instead, it appears right below it.

The camera hole looks bigger than last year’s model, which could mean superior performance in low-light conditions as it would allow more light to enter the lens. It’s also possible that this huge size could result in the introduction of OIS to go along with EIS thus resulting in much better photography. The front-facing camera is housed by the top bezel, which is also home to a very wide speaker grille.

If AP and other previous reports are to be believed, the Google Pixel 2 XL will be manufactured by LG.

While Google might be at fault for copying the designs of its competitors, the new XL phone isn’t bad-looking, at least compared to the original model. As noted, it will push the phone towards being an equal competitor to the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, HTC U11 and even the upcoming iPhone 8.

Do you think this supposed Pixel 2 XL design is an indicator that Google and other OEMs are lacking in terms of innovative designs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


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