The long wait for the Pixel 4 seems to finally be reaching its expected end. On Monday, Google invited the media to an event in New York City on Oct. 15 to “come see a few new things Made by Google.”
The invite itself doesn’t reveal too much, but Google has traditionally used its October events to roll out new Pixels, Nest and Home smart devices and updated Chrome laptops and tablets. The “Made by Google” brand is what Google uses for its branded devices products built in house.
While the Pixel 4 isn’t specifically mentioned on the invite, Google has taken the unusual step of releasing small details about the new phone over the last few months. For example, the company has tweeted pictures of the phone’s camera, as well as teased new radar tech that will be used for gesture controls. Details of the phone have also leaked from outside sources.
The Pixel 4 launch is a big test for Google. Earlier this year, CFO Ruth Porat said on an earnings call that Pixel sales had dropped because of “recent pressures in the premium smartphone market.” The search giant unveiled the budget Pixel 3A in May, partly in response to the slump in sales.
The move seems to have helped. In June, CEO Sundar Pichai said Pixel sales doubled in the second quarter, with the help of the mid-tier Pixel 3A. Pichai also credited the bump in sales to an expanded distribution network for the entire Pixel line. In addition to Verizon and the Google store, Pixel phones are now available at T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Spectrum Mobile and other sellers, Pichai said.
Google unveiled the original Pixel phone, its first branded smartphone, in 2016. Before the Pixel, Google had worked with handset makers including HTC and LG to manufacture a line of Nexus phones that ran a “stock” version of Android that was free of bloatware, a derisive term for software that carriers and device makers force onto the phones.
To spur the operation, Google two years ago shelled out $1 billion in a deal with HTC to hire thousands of its engineers to work on Pixel and other Google hardware devices.