Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of hardware at Google, let slip this week that a second Google PIXEL phone is in the works and will be released later this year. Speaking in Barcelona during MWC 2017, Osterloh announced that the current Google Pixel device range will receive a sequel and that the new devices will continue to be priced as premium products, unsurprising considering the popularity and critical success of the Pixel range released at the latter end of 2016.

According to the SVP, 'there is an annual rhythm in the industry. So you can count on us to follow it'.

It's no real surprise that the company is aiming to release a new smartphone in 2017; however it is the decision to stick to high-end products that has confirmed suspicions held by many experts that Google is taking a new direction in its smartphone business.

Pixel and Pixel XL

The Pixel and the larger Pixel XL, both released in 2016, were the first phones made almost entirely by Google. Previous Google branded smartphones, such as the Nexus range, were made in partnership with other smartphone makers and were not always reviewed positively by experts. By going it alone, Google has been able to put all their skill and expertise behind a top level device, thus able to showcase the best hardware and software the company has in its locker.

The Pixel devices were targeted squarely at the high-end iPhone user market and were also priced accordingly. The company further benefitted from the much publicised Samsung Note 7 fiasco, leaving the Pixel and the Pixel XL as the only high-end Android devices competing with the Cupertino organisation's iPhone 7.

Future expectations

The 2016 Pixel range was highly regarded by experts and users alike and has been described as the best Android phone in the world. Google will aim to develop the range and release further upgrades in 2017 that would match, or even supplant, the iPhone as the high-end device of choice in the crowded smartphone market.

Furthermore, the decision to remain in the premium end of the market has shown that Google is not looking to split its focus by additionally manufacturing mid- or low-end devices, burgeoning expectations whilst at the same piling on the pressure to ensure the new devices are truly game changing products, worthy of the Pixel brand.

The Pixel 2 (should that be its title) is expected to be released in and around October 2017, in line with past release dates of existing Google smartphones. Whilst there is little detail on the new phone's potential specs, Google will likely release further information over the coming months.