Earlier this year, a report from India suggested that Made by Google was working on a mid-range Pixel for emerging markets. This obviously didn’t come to fruition at the 10/9 event, but supporting evidence throughout the year has pointed to the existence of such a device. Today, this phone reemerged, along with a brand new codename for another possible Google device.
The rumor of a “budget” Pixel originated early last year when 9to5Google first reported about such a device being prototyped. Google’s hardware division of course experiments with all types of form factors and explores new markets, so the existence of such a phone internally should not be surprising.
Our original report noted that it was “aimed at different markets,” and would bring what Made by Google is doing to emerging markets. Such a device did not launch last year, but in April 2018, the Economic Times of India mentioned a mid-range smartphone for the country as an expansion of the Pixel lineup.
Simultaneously, Roland Quandt of WinFuture has been tweeting about a Google-made device featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor. Codenamed “Bonito,” it lines up with the company’s fishy naming conventions, with the mid-range processor also matching a mid-range, more affordable device for overseas. Just last month, the Bonito device emerged in GFXBench, again confirming the processor.
Today, a teardown of ARCore 1.5 by Android Police spotted that Bonito was added to the list of devices that support Google’s platform for mobile augmented reality. This addition makes sense given how the camera and related experiences would be a focus on any device Google releases going forward. ARCore is frequently updated with new features and a list of devices that support AR, given the inclusion and might suggest a launch is coming sooner rather than later.
More interesting was the addition of a second codename. The providence of this “Sargo” device being Google’s is not clear, but notable for being another fish, per the company’s naming scheme. A two-device lineup would match the smaller/larger configuration of the Pixel and Pixel XL.
Google has just announced its 2018 lineup and emphasized at the event that it is working to launch in more places around the world. Introducing a new device so soon would be surprising and break the mold of an annual event. Of course, a regional launch event is possible given what this new device and Google is trying to achieve.