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Article updated September 21st; article originally posted September 20th.

With the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro launching in a little less than two weeks' time , many of the secrets of Google’s next family of smartphones have been revealed . The latest leaks reveal Google’s decision to show some more of the magic hiding in the Android software.

Update: September 20th: That doesn’t mean the surprises are over with the hardware. Today saw the first look at what comes after the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, namely the mid-range stalwart ‘A’ class with leaked images from consistent commentator Abhishek Yadav .

Thanks to the iconic Camera Bar, the design of the smartphone seen in the leaked images certainly feels like a Pixel handset, and the color shade matches one of the colors seen in the Pixel 7a. Yet the curved corners and edges echo what we are expecting from the upcoming Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

There’s enough lineage of the old and new to feel confident that this is a potential Pixel 8a design.

Yet it’s worth noting that this would be one of the earliest leaks of a Pixel smartphone, assuming that the Pixel 8a would follow the pattern of the Pixel 7a and Pixel 6a and be launched in the summer after the launch of the main line of Pixel phones. In the case of the Pixel 8a, this is expected to be late in Q2 2024, although previous reports have suggested that a Pixel 8a would be dependent on sales of the Pixel 7a and it may be too early to have a definitive answer on that.

What we do know is that the Pixel hardware, whether it is the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro, or the presumptive Pixel 8a, will act as a strong platform to showcase Android 14.

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will be the first smartphones to launch with Android 14 out of the box. It was expected that some manufacturers might push to have their own builds of Android 14 ahead of the “Made By Google” event on October 14th Still, the recent delay of the Android Open Source Project leaving beta and moving to a full release will have made that much harder.

Given the Pixel brand is, in part, Google’s demonstration of what it believes an Android smartphone should strive for, how the Pixel 8 family works with Android 14 will be regarded as the default for the rest of 2023 and into 2024. Android 14 lies at the heart of the software and is the constant that drives the platform, but it’s in the individual apps where consumers will see the difference. This makes Google’s work integrating its core Android apps an essential part of the Pixel platform.

The team behind the Google News Telegram channel details how Google Photos , following the path of Google Chrome, will integrate one of the new Android 14 features, a global system share sheet that allows first- and third-party app developers to embed shortcuts into the share sheet.

When you go to share a photo, a preview of the image will be on display as well as four shortcuts that Google Photos have selected; expected to be 'create link', 'send in Photos', 'add to album', and 'create album'.

The flexibility of these shortcut buttons will be available to developers across Android 14. Why is this important? For many developers, the inflexibility of the current share menu means they have decided to code their own, creating a fragmentation of the UI. With a customisable share sheet, they should be able to tailor the built-in system to their needs, and consumers get a consistent experience across multiple apps.

There’s now a subtle question on when the additions to Google Photos will roll out across the entire platform, but the new app should debut on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro next month.

Given the extra software features coming to photos and videos, including a magic audio eraser for video editing, using Google Photos to demonstrate the new techniques is one more way the Pixel family can push the Android ecosystem forward.

Now see three features that will help the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro stand out in the market...