Somewhere inside a deep, dark lab in Mountain View, a fully assembled Pixel 2 is being put through its paces. With a launch likely less than five months away, Google has all but wrapped up development of its next flagship phone, and very little about it is going to change between now and when it lands this fall.
But unlike last year, when the Pixel was a pleasant and somewhat unexpected surprise, there’s a whole mountain of expectations on this year’s model. The original Pixel was sort of given a pass on some of the premium features we normally expect from a $700 phone, mainly because the overall experience was so good. But as 2017 phones like the LG G6 and Galaxy S8 pack on the features and make the Pixel seem more and more outdated, there are some things this year’s model absolutely needs to do to keep pace.