A few years ago, Google gave up on keeping its Pixel smartphones under wraps in the months ahead of release. Now, it spills the beans early, as it did during the recent Google I/O event when it unveiled the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. This phone won’t launch until late 2022, but the hardware is already in the wild. We know this because the Pixel 7 appeared for sale on eBay over the weekend, and it gets better. The listing photos were captured with a Pixel 7 Pro.
This is not the first time an unreleased Google phone popped up for sale before release. Back in the Pixel 3 era, a significant number of pre-release devices showed up online, offered mostly by Russian sellers. It was the following year when Google decided to stop playing coy with phone releases. It started talking about the Pixel 4 months early, and the same has been true of most of its subsequent releases. Although, announcing the Pixel 7 at I/O was the earliest unveiling yet. We expect this phone will come out in October or November 2022.
The phone in the listing is the black model and looks very close to the device Google showed off in render form on the stage at I/O. There’s a hole-punch display, a shiny glass back, and a prominent camera bar. The design of the bar has changed a touch this year — it’s now all aluminum, whereas it was a combination of glass and plastic in the 2021 Pixels.
Because the back is so reflective (no matte glass option on the 2022 Pixels), you can see what the seller used to snap the pics… and it’s the Pixel 7 Pro. This person has (or had) access to both unreleased devices, which they claim are running Android 13 with in-development apps. The Pixel 7 has 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, paired with an updated version of Google’s Tensor processor. The seller disclaims any responsibility for the function of this phone—it’s common for prototype devices to have a remote kill switch of some sort.
The seller canceled the listing before it could be sold at or above the $450 starting bid. There could be several reasons for that. Someone might have reached out in the hopes of arranging a private sale that did not involve a public eBay listing. Google could also have swooped in, demanding its property back. I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that this is what happened, but the company isn’t about to confirm anything at this point.
Regardless, the hardware looks good for a prototype. It’s hard to believe this phone won’t even go on sale for half a year. With that much lead time, it probably would have sold for far more than $450.