In short: The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL went up for pre-order last week, following Google's big hardware event. They were estimated to ship on October 18, which was Google's official release date for the device. It appears now that some Pixel 3 units are beginning to ship out today. That's not a huge surprise, as two-day shipping is pretty common for smartphones. But some are being told by FedEx that it could arrive tomorrow, a full day early. That is always good news for those that are excited to get their hands on a brand new smartphone.
It's also worth noting that according to users in this reddit thread, some that were given later shipping dates (i.e. October 19 to 23) are getting their shipping information today and will begin shipping later today. That is also a good thing, and it is something that Google has been doing over the past few years with its smartphones. Underpromising and over-delivering, which is actually a really good thing for Google. Instead of saying that the phone would ship a month late and then it actually shipping two months later, it's definitely better to be told that the phone will ship a month late, and actually ship a couple of weeks ahead of time. That will always make people happy.
Background: Google has always had trouble with shipping of its smartphones, even back in the Nexus days. Google would open pre-orders for the phone and they would be sold out within seconds. Google finally decided with the Nexus 5, to instead allow users to continue putting in orders, and moving the date back a bit. So that instead of users seeing that their phone will ship on the release date, it'll actually be a bit later. It is still not the best thing for Google, but it helps Google find out how many more phones they need to make, so they can catch up with the demand from its customers. With the Nexus 4, which was Google's first ultra low-cost smartphone, it sold like hotcakes, and it was selling in flash sales. That's something that is popular over in China and India, but here in the US, when someone wants a phone, they want to be able to order it now and have it in a couple of days, and not wait until the next flash sale to even get a chance to buy the phone. Google did better with the Nexus 5 afterwards, though there were still issues, including the Google Store going down from all the traffic.
With the Nexus 6, Google actually opened pre-orders a couple of weeks ahead of the actual launch for the phone. This allowed Google to see how many people were interested in the Nexus 6, so it could have stock ready for launch day. It did the same thing with the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P that launched the following year. When Google moved over to the Pixel brand, it got much better about keeping devices in stock and shipping them pretty quickly. There haven't been many reported issues about the Pixel, Pixel 2 or Pixel 3 having massive backorders, which is a good thing. Of course, having the phone sold at Best Buy and Verizon as well definitely helped Google, as there are now more places to buy the Google Pixel 3. And now with the Pixel 3, Google is actually sending out the device a bit early, which is incredible. It shows that Google has really gone a long way in improving its shipping and delivering of its own smartphones.
Impact: The Google Pixel 3 is a great smartphone to pick up from Google. It sports a 5.5-inch full HD+ OLED display on the smaller Pixel 3 while the larger Pixel 3 XL gets a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED panel. Both of these smartphones sport the Snapdragon 845 chipset, with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. As has been the case since the Nexus S, Google's smartphones also do not sport a micro SD card slot. So you're going to want to pick up the model with more storage if you think you'll need it. On the backside, there is a single 12-megapixel camera, with the front hosting an eight-megapixel main sensor and then a eight-megapixel wide-angle sensor to get those wide-angle sensors. Finally, the Pixel 3 has a 2915mAh capacity battery with the Pixel 3 XL sporting a 3430mAh capacity battery. Both of these support USB-C fast charging, and wireless charging.
Google's Pixel 3 isn't really the best Android smartphone on the market, in a number of areas. It's not a huge upgrade from the Pixel 2 either. But where the Pixel 3 shines is in its Google-experience, and its camera. The Pixel 3 runs on Android 9 Pie, the latest version of Android from Google. And the cameras on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are likely going to be the best cameras on any smartphone this year. To put things in perspective, the Pixel 2 last year beat every smartphone camera in 2017, and in 2018. Even beating the iPhone XS that just launched last month. And the Pixel 3 improves on that camera, by quite a bit actually, with features like Night Sight and Super Res Zoom, doing things that you would typically need a full DSLR to do. With Night Sight, you can get some great low-light images, taking photos at night that look like they were done during the day. And Super Res Zoom offers great zooming photos without needing a zoom lens. This is all done via software and artificial intelligence once again, which just goes to show you much software can really impact the camera.
If you ordered the Pixel 3, and got a shipping date for this week or next week, then you should be getting a shipping email very soon. Depending on where you live, the Google Pixel 3 could arrive tomorrow, or it could arrive on Thursday. So keep an eye out for that email, and also for FedEx so you can get your Pixel 3 and not worry about missing the delivery. As that is the last thing you'd want to happen (especially if yours is being delivered on Friday).