Speaking to a source familiar with the company's plans, we've learned that Google intends to launch two new Pixel smartphones on Verizon in early spring 2019 - the Pixel 3 and 3 XL "Lite." An exact announcement date and pricing are not yet known. A Pixel 3 Lite prototype was leaked on a Russian tech blog last month, fueling rampant speculation about where the phone would be sold and how it would be positioned in Google's larger smartphone lineup. Later, renders of the 3 Lite and a larger XL variant were released by OnLeaks.

These "Lite" Pixels will be the first phones in the mid-range Google has released since the Nexus 5X, which launched at $379 in the US in 2015. While we don't know much about them for certain, leaks so far have suggested a fairly consistent set of specifications: a Snapdragon 670 or 710 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, headphone jack, and 12MP rear and 8MP front cameras. The smaller phone will allegedly have a 5.5" screen, while the larger XL will have a 6" display.

Why launch mid-range Pixel phones in the US at all? Your guess is as good as mine - it really doesn't make much sense on its face. These phones are all but assured to have inferior cameras, inferior performance (both in terms of CPU/GPU and modem), and far more limited storage. A 32GB smartphone in 2018 is a tough sell, even at the prices these are likely to sit at. And with OnePlus continuing to expand its presence in America (and adding Verizon support), the XL version could be a particularly bad value if Google isn't positioning these phones with very aggressive MSRPs. For now, we just don't know, but given how the "regular" Pixels are priced, I would not be surprised in the least if the "Lite" variants sit in the $400-500 range.

We'll update you if and when we learn more about the Pixel 3 and 3 XL Lite, and just when you can expect them.