The Pixel 3 smartphones are still months away, so we don’t know much about them. Despite this, I have a few ideas on what the flagships could bring to the table to outsell their predecessors and rival the phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro.
A lower price tag
I long for the days of Google’s old Nexus devices, which offered fantastic performance for their price. I don’t think they’ll come back, but I hope Google lowers the price of the upcoming Pixel 3 smartphones by at least $100.
The Pixel 2 XL is more expensive than the Galaxy S9 Plus.
The Pixel 2 series is expensive. The XL model starts at $850 — $10 more than the Galaxy S9 Plus, which has a larger screen, a newer chipset, and loads of fancy features like AR Emoji and a dual aperture camera. The Pixel 2 is more affordable at $650, but that’s still a high price tag for a device with a 5-inch display and thick bezels that don’t belong on flagships anymore. Bringing the price down could have a positive effect on sales, which haven’t been great so far.
Although Google’s Pixel series is often talked about, it isn’t nearly as popular as Samsung’s Galaxy S line. Sure, its sales have doubled in 2017 to 3.9 million units, but that pales in comparison with the Galaxy S8 duo that sold 20 million units in the first five months alone.
A new, notch-less design
I hope Google won’t follow the latest trends and stick a notch on the Pixel 3 series. This design feature kills the symmetry of a smartphone and generally hasn’t been well received. I’d much rather see a slightly thicker bezel on top with enough space for a large, loud speaker — just like on the Pixel 2 XL.
Read next: Can you learn to love the notch?
While I’m fine with the size of Pixel 2 XL’s bezels, I can’t say the same for its smaller brother. The Pixel 2’s huge bezels above and below the screen make it look dated. Slimming them down would not only make the Pixel 3 more modern, it would also allow Google to increase the display size without increasing the overall footprint of the device (more on this later).
I also want to see a few changes on the back of the devices. The back of the Pixel 2 series is made of metal, with the addition of the glass window that sits on top. It’s minimalistic and modern, but it doesn’t impress. It also looks similar to the first Pixel series.
Google should take more risks in the design department to bring a “wow” factor to the Pixel 3 devices. I want a complete redesign, not just a refinement of the current look. A few new lively color options would also be a nice addition.
I hope Google will expand the Pixel 3 devices’ availability. Its smartphones aren’t sold in many smaller countries, especially those in Europe. What’s more, you can only get them through Google’s online store in many places because the tech giant hasn’t partnered with local carriers.
Inking deals with carriers should be a priority for Google.
Inking deals with carriers in as many markets as possible should be a priority for Google if it wants to increase sales. After all, most smartphones are still sold through carriers, which often offer discounts and affordable monthly payment plans. At the very least, selling the devices online in more regions couldn’t hurt.
Part of Samsung’s success is that is has a vast distribution network. The company’s smartphones are sold by most carriers around the globe, as well as electronics retailers. That’s exactly what Google needs to have any chance of becoming a dominant player in the smartphone space.
Remappable Active Edge feature
The squeezable Active Edge feature of the Pixel 2 is great but limited, as it can only open Assistant. HTC’s Edge Sense, on the other hand, lets you open an app of choice, turn on the flashlight, or take a screenshot, among other things.
Read more: HTC U11 Edge Sense: what can it do?
I hope Google will take a page out of HTC’s playbook this year and allow users to remap the Active Edge feature. It sounded gimmicky at first, but Active Edge works surprisingly well. It’s one of the main selling points of the device if you use Assistant regularly. Otherwise, the feature doesn’t add any value whatsoever.
Sure, there are apps available that let you customize the Pixel 2’s squeezable feature. Edge Sense Plus is one of them, but it requires root access and charges a fee for premium functions, so it’s far from ideal. Remapping Active Edge within the device’s settings would be a much better option.
Better (and larger) display
One of the biggest problems with the Pixel 2 XL was its display. Some users said encountered issues with muted or undersaturated colors. Others reported seeing a blue tint on the screen. The display also suffered from burn-in issues, which typically affect OLED screens as they age, very quickly.
Hopefully, Google won’t make the same mistake this year. The display of the Pixel 2 XL shouldn’t have any issues, as is expected from a flagship that costs a small fortune.
In addition to a better display on the larger model, I’d also like to see a larger screen on the Pixel 3. The display of its predecessor only measures 5 inches, making it quite small for a flagship. Bumping it up to at least 5.5 inches would be good. If the handset comes with thinner bezels, its overall footprint might end up being the same or only slightly bigger than that of its predecessor, too.
These are the top five things I want to see on the Pixel 3 series, but a few others come to mind. A headphone jack would be nice, although the chances of that happening are slim to none. I’d also like to see an in-display fingerprint scanner like on the Vivo X20 Plus UD and a 3D facial recognition feature, but those probably won’t happen either.
What do you think of my list? Would you add or remove anything? Let me know in the comments!