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Opinion: A refreshed Pixel 2 may be the perfect rival to take on the iPhone SE 2020

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Apple announced a new iPhone SE last week and it sort of broke the internet. Practically everyone was talking about it and you may have come across a number of tweets saying “I am getting this” or something along that line.

It is not unusual for a new iPhone to trend but the iPhone SE 2020 is an extraordinary device. It is practically the iPhone 8 with an improved camera, the same chipset inside the iPhone 11 series, and more RAM. There is also wireless charging. However, rather than a price tag of $699 as the iPhone 8 when it launched in 2017, the new iPhone SE starts at $399!!! With a price tag like that, this phone is going to sell millions of units.

So is the key to winning – relaunching an old phone with modern specs? Maybe.

One of the main advantages of relaunching a phone is that the production cost is reduced since you do not have to redesign the phone from scratch. You also get to make use of old components that you either have in stock or the component’s manufacturer is willing to sell at a lower price. In the case of the new iPhone SE, the only additions are a new RAM, the A13 Bionic chipset, and the wireless charging coil.

This got me thinking as to how Android (read Google) can launch a phone that rivals the iPhone SE 2020 and we arrived at the Pixel 2….or better still a Pixel 2 (2020).

Google Pixel 2

Why the Pixel 2?

The Pixel 2 is the perfect choice for the following reasons. First, it launched the same year as the iPhone 8 which the new iPhone SE is based on. It also has that small form f actor that practically all manufacturers have abandoned. The Pixel 2 also reinforced the “Pixel Camera is the best” when it launched, so you will be getting a phone with a very capable camera.

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Another important point is the Pixel’s long software support which rivals that of several other manufacturers. The Pixel 2 launched with Android Oreo out of the box and still has one more OS upgrade in the pipeline. So a new Pixel 2 should get software support for at least 3 years.

Last but not least is the Pixel brand itself. While there are other phones we could have come up with, a few are even mentioned at the end of this post, the Pixel is still the best option. Unlike other Android manufacturers that churn out several phones every year, there are only very few Pixel phones each year (three last year, two the year before) which helps the phones stay “relevant”, for lack of a better word.

EDITOR’S PICK: Google Pixel 4A protective casing appears, showcasing the entire design

Specifications of the Pixel 2 (2020)

The original Pixel 2 has a 5.0-inch FHD AMOLED screen with huge bezels and stereo front-facing speakers. It also has Gorilla Glass protection on both sides and a 3000mAh battery capacity. All these remain unchanged.

So what are the new additions? First, a newer and more powerful processor. For the SoC, we are throwing it open by making it a poll. So please, take the poll below and let us know which chipset should power the Pixel 2 (2020).

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Personally, the Snapdragon 855+ is my chipset of choice. It is a flagship chipset and should handle anything you throw at it and has a great ISP. A phone featuring a chipset with a 5G modem will require a battery bigger than the 2700mAh battery inside the Pixel 2. However, support for 18W fast charging needs to be added as the 10.5W charging of the original won’t cut it in 2020.

The RAM and storage will also remain unchanged, so you get 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. The rear camera also stays the same at 12.2MP but the aperture can go from f/1.8 to f/1.7 just like that of the Pixel 4. The phone will benefit from the new camera software features Google has come up with after the launch of the 2017 Pixel 2 and the more powerful image signal processor of the Snapdragon 855+.

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The new Pixel 2 (2020) should also use the same 8MP selfie camera as the original and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner too. The original Pixel 2 has an IP67 rating and also dual SIM support (nano-SIM + eSIM), it makes sense for these features to remain on the 2020 version. Of course, we want it to run Android 10 out of the box and get OS upgrades for 3 years.

Price

To take on the iPhone SE 2020, the Google Pixel 2 (2020) will have to go for $399 for the base model while the 128GB version will have to sell for $449 and should ship with an 18W charger in the box, unlike the iPhone SE 2020 that has a 5W charger. Colors can be Kinda Blue, Just Black, and maybe add something like bright like a Happy Yellow.

Conclusion

While the chances of Google relaunching the Pixel 2 with more recent specifications are pretty low, the above device with such a price tag will surely be a hit amongst buyers looking for a small but powerful phone with great software support.

Nevertheless, if Google is not jumping on the train, there are other manufacturers that have great phones that I believe should jump on this. A few examples are the Xiaomi Mi 5 and the OnePlus X. These two phones were really popular back when they launched and nostalgia coupled with modern specs and a pretty affordable price tag can help them succeed if and when they are reborn.

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