Google Pixel 9: Rumors, specs, and what we want to see

Google Pixel 9 mockup with name
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

As we look forward to the Google Pixel 9, it's getting harder and harder to come up with meaningful things that Google can improve or add. The company went all-in on AI with the Google Pixel 8, introducing features like Audio Magic Eraser, Magic Editor, Best Take, Zoom Enhance, and so many more. So, what could Google possibly do for the next iteration of the phone?

First off, Google looks to be completely revamping the hardware, and recent iconic Pixel hardware looks like the camera bar, replacing them with what looks mighty similar to Apple's Dynamic Island, but on the back.

In addition to that, several rumored Pixel 8 features never got announced, so it's entirely possible that Google is still tweaking them and could wait until next year to unveil them. We've got every rumor and leak for the Google Pixel 9 right here for you to see, so scroll down and dig in!

Google Pixel 9: Price and availability

Made by Google logo with the Pixel 8, Pixel Buds, Pixel Watch 2, and other Google products below it

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

With the Pixel 8, Google increased the price of each Pixel model by $100 when compared to previous generations. That's the first time Google has raised the price on the mainline Pixel series in a while, but it didn't come without benefits. Pixel phones are now guaranteed seven years of software updates, making them a better value than other phones at the same price.

With that said, there's little likelihood that Google will raise the price again next year. Given that the Pixel 8 Pro is the most expensive Pixel since the Pixel 3 XL, there's no reason to expect Google to push that price tag any higher.

We also expect that Google will once again release its Pixel 9 series in October 2024. Mainline Pixels have been released in October for several years now, and it's unlikely Google will change the date much.

Google Pixel 9: Design and displays

An alternate look at the leaked renders for the Pixel 9.

(Image credit: 91Mobiles)

With the Pixel 8, Google directly addressed two items we were hoping for: better build quality and 120Hz displays for both models. As I noted in my Google Pixel 8 hands-on, the improvements to the build quality are palpable, particularly that matte glass back on the Pixel 8 Pro.

Two leaks show that Google is keeping the matte glass but changing nearly everything else about Pixel design. This Pixel 9 Pro leak shows that the display is shrinking down to 6.5 inches, a 0.2-inch reduction when compared to the Pixel 8 Pro. It's also said that the display bezels have been reduced "on all sides" which is a bit surprising considering how small the bezels were on the Pixel 8 Pro.

Further backing up this radical redesign is a Pixel 9 leak that shows the same flat side rails and buttons that look like they were ripped straight from an iPhone 15. The raised camera bar also seems to have been turned into an island, erasing one of our favorite design features of modern Pixel phones.

The smaller Pixel 9 is said to be rocking a smaller 6.03-inch display with dimensions of 152.8 x 71.9 x 8.5mm, including a 12mm camera island bump. That's slightly larger than the Pixel 8, which measures 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm.

Even more interesting is the rumor that Google will launch a new Pixel 9 Pro XL to replace the existing Pro model. Meanwhile, the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro will offer customers the option of choosing their preferred hardware extras — like a telephoto camera and more RAM — without having to have a giant phone.

Rumor has it that the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro will remain small, while a Pixel 9 Pro XL will give users the choice of a larger screen.

Fittingly, the FDA-approved temperature sensor from the Pixel 8 Pro looks to be making an appearance on the Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 Pro XL, according to these renders. That would make it one of the few times Google's experimental hardware features lasted more than one generation. The last time we saw something experimental like this was on the Pixel 4 with Soli, which was never included on another future Pixel phone.

The Pixel 8 also debuted a newly rebranded display Google custom-engineered with Samsung called the Actua Display. It was the brightest display on any smartphone when it launched, and it would be no surprise to see Google push this further with its ninth-generation phone. It's not yet known if Google will use an AMOLED display with a higher PWM rate than Samsung, which is included with the Galaxy S24 series.

It's also said that Google will likely include a new adaptive touch feature to the Pixel 9. This allows the phone to dynamically alter the touch sensitivity rate based on the screen protector used and possibly allows the phone to be used when wet. The OnePlus 12 debuted a similar feature called Aqua Touch, which makes the screen usable even when it's wet.

Google Pixel 9: Cameras

Hands-on with the Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

With the Pixel 8, Google gave us exactly what we were hoping for: even better cameras. Specifically, the company massively upgraded the ultrawide camera with a new 48MP lens, so it's probably unlikely we'll see a big enhancement for the Pixel 9.

Likewise, the main and telephoto sensors also got upgraded, but only the Pixel 8 Pro received most of the camera upgrades. It would be nice to see Google bring at least the better selfie camera over to the smaller Pixel 9 next year.

An early Pixel 9 leak suggested that it will receive a third rear camera for the first time, ensuring that all users can enjoy a quality telephoto camera no matter which size Pixel 9 they prefer. However, with the news of a third Pixel model, new leaks suggest that only the Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 Pro XL will have all three rear cameras, so we'll need to wait for more confirmation.

A leaked view at the sides of the Pixel 9.

(Image credit: 91Mobiles)

As noted before, a few rumored Pixel 8 camera features never got announced at the Made by Google 2023 event, so it's possible we'll see these features make their way to the Pixel 9.

One of the unannounced features is called Video Unblur. As the name implies, this AI trick would let you select a blurry video you took and retroactively improve the focus quality. 

The leaked code also showed the option to add "Overlays" like black and white or Polaroid to your videos, similar to how you can use filters on photos. Google is really pushing the limit with video capture on the Pixel 8 series, so it'll be interesting to see if the company implements new features like this on the Pixel 9.

Google Pixel 9: Specs and performance

Hands-on with the Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Of all the things we hoped for on the Pixel 8, Google delivered the most in this section. The Pixel 8's fingerprint scanner is finally great, and the company even debuted bank-grade face unlock technology alongside it. There are a ton of new AI features, and seven years of software updates are something no other major phone company has done right now.

We also hoped for better performance and efficiency with Tensor G3, and while it's better than Tensor G2 in some respects, Tensor G3 wasn't exactly a revolution. The latest Tensor G4 rumors suggest the Pixel 9 won't receive a major jump in performance, either.

The Tensor G3 that powers the Pixel 8 series bears the codename "Zuma," while the Tensor G4 is said to have a codename of "Zuma Pro." As you might imagine, this means there likely won't be a huge upgrade next year. That's supposedly going to have to wait until the Tensor G5, which will launch inside the Pixel 10.

Google Pixel 9: Wishlist

Hands-on with the porcelain Google Pixel 8 Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

As with any new phone, there are a few things we'd love to see Google improve on the Pixel 9 over existing phones like the Pixel 8.

Further improved Tensor

This year's Google Tensor G3 sports a brand new CPU, GPU, TPU, DSP, ISP, and many more important components that all lead to greater efficiency and faster speeds. However, Google didn't spend a lot of time on stage talking about general performance improvements for a reason. It talked a lot about AI processing improvements.

Google has long focused on AI-powered tasks as a way for its phones to be differentiated from the pack, but it would be nice if Pixel phones played the best Android games as well as other flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Plus, we're pretty tired of seeing Tensor get hot and slow down the experience — or stop it entirely, as is the case with photo backup and some other features.

A real dark mode

Dark mode is a lie on more phones than I'd like. Unfortunately for Pixel owners, the Pixel is one of the worst offenders of this sin. I'd love to see Google give users a proper "lights out" dark mode where the background is completely black instead of this dark grey nonsense Google has been using for years.

It'll both be better for battery life and help with the next request!

Flicker-reduction option

As the nits delivered by displays continue to grow higher and higher each year, more companies are using OLED displays that don't dim in a traditional way. Instead, they use Pulse Width Modulation (or PWM), and people like me are, unfortunately, very sensitive to this kind of display flickering.

While we have some tips and tricks for PWM-sensitive folks, the best solution is for manufacturers to offer a flicker-reduction option. Companies like Motorola employ it on phones like the Motorola Edge Plus (2023) and the Motorola Razr Plus (2023), and we know Google can do it, too.

Add MagSafe via Qi2

This year, phone companies came together in a rare moment and agreed on something: MagSafe is great, and all phones should have it. The Qi2 charging standard was born, but so far, no phones have bothered to employ it. The Pixel 9 really needs to add this feature, as it's incredibly convenient and opens up a whole new world of great MagSafe accessories.

Until then, though, you can always add MagSafe to your existing phone like I did with a Spigen ring. It would just be nice to have it built into the phone, though.

Ditch the 128GB option

In 2023, users need more room than 128GB of storage. Unfortunately, both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro's lowest priced models only pack this much storage in. In 2024, Google needs to upgrade that base storage to 256GB to help meet the needs of users since it doesn't allow microSD card expansion.

Faster charging

We've long been hoping for faster charging in Pixel and Galaxy phones, and while Google provides 30W fast charging on the Pixel 8 series, we'd still like to see them push that number a bit. Phones like the OnePlus 11 offer 100W charging and many phones offer even faster charging.

Even if Google wants to keep that number lower, it would be OK, but something faster than 30W would be great. How about adopting the 68W charging solution Motorola employs for most of its phones these days? It's amazing how fast those phones charge without making me think they might catch fire.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
  • Stanley Kubrick
    Already saw 3 or more CHRISTMAS commercials and it's only October 8th.
    Why not speculate on the Pixel 10 to drum up some anticipation?
    S. M. H. o_O
  • mustang7757
    I haven't even received my pixel 8 pro , the world moves fast
  • lewchenko
    POS website stopped loading the story half way through. Why does this keep happening ? It was already annoying enough having multiple adverts appear in my field of view. Honestly , could you make it any more of a pain to try and read your content ?