Flimsy Leaks Hint at “Ultra Pixel” Smartphone, but Color us Extremely Skeptical
Google is scheduled to host their 2017 hardware launch event next week on October 4th. The company has already started to advertise that date with cryptic marketing banners around the world and it aligns with what they did last year as well. For the better part of the year, details about Google’s upcoming Pixel smartphones have been leaked but now, less than a week before the event takes place, a new rumor is making headlines by hinting at a device called the “Ultra pixel”.
So first of all, this rumor came from an anonymous tip that was sent in to a YouTube channel called Mrwhosetheboss. Said channel is hosted by Arun Maini, a 21 year old economics student, and he uses it to review smartphones, gadgets, and life hacks. The tip that was sent in consists of a photo of an internal slide which is claiming to be for an upcoming smartphone called the “Ultra pixel, Phone by Google”, as well as a short video. For starters, it seems odd that Google wouldn’t capitalize the word “pixel” in the proper name of an alleged Pixel device, and our questions don’t end there.
Who knows, let’s say we give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s say it’s an early internal slide that was thrown together at the last minute. The video’s main way of communicating the validity or trustworthiness of the supposed insider source is pointing to a Google wallpaper, in what’s implied to be a computer at Google’s offices. We don’t think this is sufficient proof, though, and the video doesn’t go out of its way to raise our trust by qualifying the source as trustworthy or reliable in any other way. Along with this photo, Mr. Maini was sent an extremely blurry video (that briefly goes into focs) in which we can see another slide that says “The Future of Android is Fluid“. The slide also shows three different phones next to each other, which are likely to be the same phone and the one the rumor claims is the Ultra pixel (just at different angles).
The resolution of the shown still is low, but we can see the smartphones have very slim left and right bezels, with top and bottom bezels that look like what we’ve seen from the LG G6 and the LG V30. Then there’s a close up photo of one of these phones without any bottom navigation keys, and the host starts to speculate that Google will be getting rid of the software navigation bar opting for gestures in place of the Home, Back and Overview buttons.
Now that we got what has been presented out of the way, let’s get serious here: we’ve been hearing rumors about the upcoming Pixel 2 smartphones for months now. As secretive as Google can be with certain products and services, it’s hard to keep everyone quiet on such ambitious projects, and the “Ultra pixel” looks to be even more ambitious than their main Pixel releases. So, if this were a third Pixel smartphone that is going to be released at the hardware event next week, then we would have heard about it from reputable leakers, or we would have seen the device show up in FCC or other certification documents. Moreover, the designs shown in the leak don’t look very professional, and their main image seemingly reuses a wallpaper already used in the original Google Pixel.
These blurry and baseless rumors are a dime a dozen and get published by technology blogs all the time. We generally tend to stay away from such rumors and we found this one quite unsubstantiated. There are a number of reputable sources out there that leak this type of information, so if there’s an “Ultra pixel”, we most likely would have heard something about it by now. I like to think that there are surprises left to unveil with each smartphone release, but in this case we are very skeptical about the whole thing.
Besides that, the timing is suspicious, especially given the leak would have Google’s release strategy mirror that of Apple. The idea that Google wants to ditch software navigation keys and switch to a gesture based system (just like Apple did with the iPhone X and its hardware button) seems incredibly suspicious too. If I were you, I wouldn’t expect an “Ultra pixel” release next week, not even in a “one more thing” surprise unveiling. Such a device would likely be even harder to keep under wraps than the “regular” Pixel sequels, and there’s nothing in these leaks that instill confidence. The YouTube channel hosting the leak doesn’t have a track record of correct or precise leaks, and we’ve been given no indication that the source is reputable or trustworthy either. Because of all this, color us skeptical.