Pixel phones could run a brand new version of Android – and another OS too

Nexus 6P

Some digging into Android Nougat source code by XDA-Developers has revealed that there are likely to be two partitions in the Pixel and Pixel XL, the two new phones coming from Google to replace the Nexus range.

From Google's perspective this is to allow for the seamless Android updates we've been promised, but it's been theorized that rooted users running custom Android ROMs could also receive seamless updates, and, more excitingly, that it could even be possible to dual-boot the phones into a second operating system.

It's unlikely that Google will ever officially support dual-booting, but if the tools are there then developers are bound to find a way.

A new Android

In other Pixel news, a new Geekbench listing for the Pixel XL has been spotted by WCCFTech, revealing the expected 4GB of RAM and a quad-core Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.59GHz. It's not clear whether this is the Snapdragon 820 or Snapdragon 821, and both have been rumored in the past. These are both flagship chips, but the 821 is newer and marginally more powerful.

Pixel XL benchmark

Arguably the most interesting aspect of the benchmark though is the mention of Android 7.1, which is set to be the first major update to Android Nougat and may include new features, such as support for Google Daydream VR.

There's previously been speculation that the 7.1 update might arrive on the Pixel phones, but this adds credibility to that claim.

The Pixel and Pixel XL announcement is set for October 4, so we should know the truth behind all these rumors soon.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.