Update 3/13/17: Google tells us that the company has not made any revisions to the Google Pixel or Pixel XL hardware, and says that the “Rev. B” seen on the device’s box has nothing to do with the device, but is rather an identifier for the packaging itself. Google says it has, however, made “small improvements” to the manufacturing process to reduce the ‘likelihood of an audio codec failure.”
Google has not made any revisions to the Pixel or Pixel XL hardware. We have made some small improvements to our manufacturing process to further reduce any likelihood of an audio codec failure.
Update 3/12/17: The letter at the end of the SKU relates to color, but it still seems that the “Rev. B” you can see behind the sticker is referring to a hardware revision. We’ll update this article again when we learn more.
The original story follows:
Minor hardware revisions are quite common over the lifetime of a device. For one Google-related example, the Nexus 4 received a slight design change that added nubs to raise the phone on flat surfaces. It now appears that revised Google Pixels are in the wild, likely packing fixes for recent hardware issues…
One problem this supposed revision might fix is the Pixel’s microphone issue, which causes all three of the device’s microphones to fail due to “a hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec.” Resulting in other audio processing issues, the issue may come and go due to temperature changes and even how you hold your phone.
Since late January, Google has taken steps to reinforce the solder connection during manufacturing:
Also, we have been taking additional steps to reinforce the connection at time of manufacture on phones built since January. Phones manufactured in the last month should not have this problem. For phones manufactured before then, the incidence of the problem is <<1%. I know this thread makes it seem much more prevalent, but there is a selection bias at work here.
Be sure to sound off in the comments if you’re a recent Pixel owner that has received this supposed Rev B hardware. Going to ‘About phone’ in Settings only lists the phone’s general model number, so the box is likely the only place to easily see if you have this model.
We’ve reached out to Google for confirmation on whether this hardware revision does address the microphone issues and whether there are any other changes.