A prototype device with an ultrasonic scanner is currently in testing
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have only been available on store shelves for a couple of weeks now, but it’s safe to call them a success. A couple of early bugs aside, it’s clear that this year’s launch is off to considerably smoother sailing than what we saw with the Pixel 6. It’s no secret that Google is working on a whole slate of future devices, including the Pixel Fold and — yes , seriously — a potential “Pixel Ultra.” In addition, it seems like a prototype device might hint at a long-awaited feature coming to next year’s phones.
The folks at 91Mobiles teamed up with developer Kuba Wojciechowski for what might be our earliest glimpse of the Pixel 8 Pro. Wojciechowski is no stranger to reporting on upcoming Pixel devices — those recent Pixel Ultra rumors came from his work in digging through the Pixel 7’s kernel source code, after all. Today, he’s spotted a device codenamed G10, or, potentially, “gepard,” the German word for Cheetah. Cheetah was the Pixel 7 Pro’s codename well before its official unveiling in May, an important fact to keep in mind when considering the G10.
Effectively, the G10 likely represents some early testing for the Pixel 8 series. Google’s no stranger to building this sort of prototype — “Ravenclaw” was a combination of Pixel 6 hardware and Pixel 7 internals, and “Whitefin” was a Pixel 5 built using the first-gen Tensor chipset. Obviously, neither of these saw the light of day in a commercial sense, though they both helped Google develop its future phones.
So, what exactly is this phone? Unlike the Lynx — otherwise known as L10, the device that, by all accounts, seems to be some kind of third Pixel 7 phone — the G10 appears as though it’s a prototype phone, not something that will ever see the light of day. Based on its 1440p display and dimensions, it’s identical to a Pixel 7 Pro to the untrained eye, with no external changes. Instead, the G10 makes one major change to its internal specs, swapping out the optical in-display fingerprint sensor for an ultrasonic variant.
That’s big news for anyone who’s spent the last year begging for a Pixel device with an ultra-fast fingerprint scanner. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are leaps and bounds better than the sluggish and unreliable sensor used on their respective predecessors, but they can’t compete with what Samsung offers on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. With an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, the Pixel 8 Pro could compete with other similarly-priced flagships. It’s unclear whether this feature would also arrive in the smaller, cheaper Pixel 8.
As it stands, the Pixel 7 series remains two of the best Android phones you can buy today. Whether Google adds a third high-performance tier — or simply keeps working towards next year’s successors — it’s clear that the company’s hardware division is on the right track.