Something fishy is going on at Google, though not in a bad way. During a discussion at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Google's Rich Osterloh confirmed that there would be a successor to the company's Pixel smartphone in 2017. He stopped well short of offering up any sort of details, but if you go fishing for information like we did, you'll discover three potential Pixel 2 handsets, each one codenamed after a large fish.
In digging through the code for Google's latest AOSP (Android Open Source Project), German-language website WinFuture found references to "Walleye," "Muskie," and "Taimen," each of which are large species of fish. They are all listed in conjunction with Qualcomm's powerhouse Snapdragon 835 SoC, its newest flagship processor that is found in just a few devices, including Samsung's recently released Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones.
The next generation of Pixel phones could see three different SKUs.
It is assumed that the fishy codenames are in reference to new Pixel phone, as the current generation Pixel devices were codenamed Sailfish and Marlin prior to their release. Google has a history of sticking with themes, especially with Android, which has been named after a new desert in alphabetical order with each major release starting with Android 1.5 Cupcake.
While nothing is yet official, the codenames and Qualcomm entry give us some room to speculate. The biggest thing we can take away from this is that Google is unlikely to release a lower power Pixel for the entry-level audience. Even the mid-range sector might be left behind. That is based on all three phones running Qualcomm's top-end mobile chip, which is only used in high-end devices.
It also also possible that one of these devices is a tablet. Walleyes and muskies can be up to 24 pounds and 38 pounds, respectively, but taimen are much larger—up to 220 pounds. Depending on how invested Google is with its theme, the codenames could point to two different size Pixel 2 phones (Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL) and a tablet. Or we might be reading too much into things. After all, the 6-inch Nexus 6 released in 2014 was codenamed Shamu after the 2,000-pound killer whale (orca) that appeared in shows at SeaWorld Sand Diego.