Google Pixel 9 — all the rumors so far

Pixel 9 leaked image
(Image credit: @OnLeaks)
Google Pixel 9 latest news

Updated May 20
• These are the rumored Pixel 9 colors
• Google released its first phone of the year, the Pixel 8a, clearing the way for the Pixel 9.
Early Pixel 9 Pro cases seem to confirm the existence of  third Pixel 9 model.
• Code reveals enhanced on-device AI capabilities with Pixel 9 phones.

It may seem like the Google Pixel 8 just got here, but top phone makers never stop thinking about their next flagship. In Google's case, that would be the Pixel 9, and it won't be long before that new model sweeps in and replace the current Pixel with new features and enhancements.

How can we be so sure? Because Pixel 9 information is already starting to leak out — a sure a sign as any that work is moving forward on the next smartphone release.

It's still early in the Pixel 9 development cycle, with many months ahead of us before we finally get to see the newest Google flagship in person. (To put the Pixel 9 launch timing in perspective, Google just launched the Pixel 8a, so much of the rumor focus has been on that phone.) But there's no time like the present to stay on top of all the latest Pixel 9 news and rumors as they surface.

Here's what we know so far about Google's Pixel 9 plans ahead of the phone's likely launch in the fall of 2024.

Google Pixel 9 at a glance

  • A fall launch is expected, most likely in October.
  • Rumors point to three models —  a standard Pixel 9, a smaller Pixel 9 Pro and a Pixel 9 Pro XL with a 6.7-inch screen.
  • Each of these should get a choice of four colors — black, white, green and pink 
  • The Tensor G4 should power all Pixel 9 models.
  • The standard Pixel 9 could feature a smaller screen than the Pixel 8.
  • The phone will debut with Android 15.

Google Pixel 9 rumored release date and price

Google event 2023

(Image credit: Google)

It may be early days in the Google Pixel 9 rumor cycle, but we can make a pretty good guess as to when the flagship phone is going to arrive, and that's all thanks to Google's fairly predictable release history.

Since the release of the first Pixel in 2016, every model but one has been announced in October. The one exception — 2020's Pixel 5 — was announced on September 30 and released at the end of October. For that reason, it's not really going out on a limb to guess that the Pixel 9 is likely to appear in October 2024.

That said, Google I/O 2024 has been scheduled for May 14. With the Pixel 8a now revealed, it seems like there will be little focus on hardware at that show. Still, it's not outside the realm of possibility that Google tips us off about any Pixel 9 plans. After all, we got a sneak preview of the Pixel 7 during Google I/O 2022.

Pixel 9 pricing remains uncertain at this point. The Pixel 8 costs $699 and the Pixel 8 Pro has a starting price of $999. Both of those prices represent $100 hikes from what their predecessors cost. Google is hardly the only phone maker to raise prices recently — both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra saw $100 increases of their own. Our hope is that Google at least manages to keep current prices in place for the Pixel 9 launch if it can't find a way to roll back the Pixel 8 increases.

Expect to hear more concrete Pixel 9 pricing info as we get closer to the expected fall launch date for the phone.

Google Pixel 9: How many models

Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro shown side by side

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Normally, determining the number of Pixels coming out in the fall would be a pretty easy task based on Google's release record. With the exception of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5, Google has always released two models with different screen sizes. Currently, the larger of the two flagships is known as the Pixel Pro and it differs from the standard Pixel with a larger display, bigger battery and telephoto lens.

A December 2022 leak laid out an alleged roadmap for future Pixel phones that forecast three Pixel 9 models. According to this report, Google would offer two versions of the Pro so that there'd be a smaller screen option that also included a telephoto lens. Normally, we'd dismiss a rumor that surfaced more than a year ago — even if that's what Google was discussing at the time, a lot can change in a year — but the Pixel roadmap rumor did get a lot of details right about the Pixels that came out in 2023. So who knows?

Thinborne Pixel 9 Pro cases posted by Android Central

(Image credit: Android Central)

Subsequent reports continue to tout the possibility of a third Pixel model joining the mix. Leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (also known by his posting name of OnLeaks) shared Pixel 9 images while claiming that Google's plans for the fall include the Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 Pro XL. Those latter two phones would feature a three camera array on their back and come with different-sized screens.

Android Central has chimed in with photos of Pixel 9 cases from Thinborne that also feature a Pixel 9 Pro XL alongside a Pixel 9 Pro. The cases also indicate flat sides and rounded corners, similar to some of the design rumors we've heard. Which brings us to...

Google Pixel 9 design and display rumors

Leaked Pixel 9 Pro renders via MySmartPrice

(Image credit: MySmartPrice/@OnLeaks)

The Pixel 8 features a 6.2-inch screen while the Pixel 8 Pro ups the display size to 6.7 inches. At least one source expects the Pixel 9 panels to grow in size, though the presence of a third Pixel 9 model may scramble early forecasts.

Just after the Pixel 8 launch last fall, Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants forecast increases in screen size or the entire Pixel 9 lineup. Earlier entry-level Pixel models featured larger displays than the Pixel 8 so increasing the size of that particular model wouldn't be out of step with what Google's done in the past.

However, leaked renders of the Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 paint a different picture. Starting with the Pixel 9 Pro renders put together by @OnLeaks and published at MySmartPrice, we see a phone with a 6.5-inch display. Now this could be the new rumored Pro model with a smaller screen that some have tipped to join the lineup, or it could be that Google really does plan to go with a smaller panel. In either case, this seemingly contradicts reports of a larger screen in this fall's Pro model.

Similarly, Pixel 9 renders also from @OnLeaks show off a phone with a 6.1-inch screen — again that would be smaller than the Pixel 8. 

Pixel 9 renders posted by OnLeaks at 91Mobiles

(Image credit: 91Mobiles/OnLeaks)

The March 2024 renders posted by OnLeaks at 91Mobiles have another take on the size of the three potential Pixel 9 models. The standard phone is tipped to feature a 6.03-inch display, while the Pixel 9 Pro will be available with 6.1- and 6.7-inch panels, respectively.

There's another potential change in these renders. Rather than stretching across the length of the back panel as it has since its introduction with the Pixel 6, the horizontal camera bar now has rounded ends that stop short of going edge to edge. The renders also indicate a move to flatter sides for Google instead of the rounded edges favored by recent Pixels.

While we're on the subject of displays, another rumor talks about the possibility of an Adaptive Touch feature. Spotted in an Android 14 beta, Adaptive Touch would adjust the sensitivity of the display based on "your environment, activities and screen protector." Presumably, this would make the screen easier to interactive with.

Leaked Pixel 9 photos seem to confirm another design change with the new phone offering more rounded corners than before.

Meanwhile leaked wallpapers for the Pixel 9 series have shown us what we may get in terms of color options. Black and white could be returning, along with Jade and Peony green and pink.

Google Pixel 9 camera rumors

Pixel 09 renders from OnLeaks and 91Mobiles

(Image credit: @OnLeaks / 91Mobiles)

When initial Pixel 9 renders appeared showing a third camera lens, there was momentary speculation that Google was adding a telephoto camera to its entry-level flagship. Now that rumors of multiple Pixel 9 Pro models has taken hold, it seems pretty clear that any renders showing a telephoto lens feature either Pixel 9 Pro model — be it the smaller version or the rumored XL offering.

Additional rumors about actual Pixel 9 camera specs haven't yet materialized. Currently, the Pixel 8 uses a 50MP sensor for its main camera with a 12MP ultrawide lens completing the setup. That same 50MP sensor leads the Pixel 8 Pro's cameras, but it uses 48MP sensors for its ultrawide and telephoto lenses. 

Google Pixel 9 performance and software rumors

Tensor G3

(Image credit: Google)

Another easy prediction for the Pixel 9 lineup is that it will likely run on a new Tensor chipset — the Tensor G4, should Google stick with current naming conventions. Google bases its chips on Exynos silicon, though there's talk that the Tensor G5 chipset would be one that's completely designed by Google. That wouldn't appear until the Pixel 10 in 2025, though.

Fortunately, it seems that the Tensor G4 chip could benefit from Samsung's latest silicon developments, hopefully meaning it's more powerful and more efficient than the current-gen Tensor chip.

The Pixel 8 series' Tensor G3 chips lag behind the performance of the silicon powering other top Android devices, a gap that only figures to widen now that Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon is starting to appear in phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12. While the point of Tensor isn't necessarily to deliver blazing speeds, we do hope the Tensor G4 brings some speed improvements particularly for graphics rendering.

The true advantage of Tensor lies in the AI-powered features it can offer, such as the call screening and photo editing capabilities built into current Pixels. Samsung's Galaxy AI features introduced as part of the Galaxy S24 launch match some of those capabilities while adding a few unique ones. Then again, a software update brought capabilities like Circle to Share to current Pixels.

At any rate, we'd expect the Tensor G4 to get a neural engine update that fuels new features that we'll find out more about between now and the Pixel 9's launch. Code uncovered from the latest versions of Google's AI Core app and the Google Messages beta reveal more on-device AI capabilities for the Pixel 9, which would minimize the need to offload data for cloud-based services to process. Meaning, it could be possible for text to image conversions to happen locally on the phone.

The Pixel 9 is all but certain to debut with Android 15 running the show. In fact, it's likely that the Pixel 9 models will be the first to ship with the Android 15 update pre-installed. Google already has a public beta of Android 15 available to run on current Pixel phones. Expect to hear more about that software update during Google I/O in May.

Google Pixel 9 outlook

There's plenty of time ahead of the Pixel 9's likely launch for more details about the phone to emerge. And that's something we're eagerly waiting to hear about, as the release of the Galaxy S24 means that more AI-centric devices have joined the current Pixels. Given the other improvements to Samsung's flagships, you can imagine the pressure Google likely feels to step up its Pixel game this year.

Ultimately, we'd expect Google to once again make unique AI features a focus on the Pixel 9. But based on early rumors about the display, cameras and potential new models, we wouldn't be surprised to see the phone maker pull out all the stops to make the Pixel 9 stand out.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.