Android toolkit for Pixel and Pixel XL
Could Google follow Apple's suit and ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack for its next flagship smartphone? Google

An alleged internal leak from within Google has sparked rumours that its next flagship Android smartphone is likely to be missing a headphone jack, instead favouring wireless audio technology. The follow-up to 2016's Pixel and Pixel XL would become the latest major smartphone to ditch the traditional port and follows similar moves from Apple and HTC.

The leak originates from a 9to5Google report, with the site claiming that an "internal Google document... presents the removal of the jack as a matter of fact." While the site notes that it has not been able to verify the rumour, the potential loss of the headphone jack on the "Google Pixel 2" would not be too surprising considering the similar moves from other smartphone giants.

While Google happily took a few cheeky jabs at Apple's expense after the initial backlash against the lack of a 3.5mm jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus – referring to its inclusion on the Pixel as "satisfyingly not new" in a series of adverts – the furore has since died down.

With Apple showing "courage" and biting the bullet first (although technically the 2016 model of the Moto Z did the same months prior) and ushering in an age of wireless headphones, Google is perhaps hoping that it can avoid a similarly volatile reaction in a similar way to HTC with the recently-released U Ultra smartphone.

Although the next-gen Pixel is almost certainly still in the early stages of development, several unconfirmed leaks have hinted at the phone's likely processor and camera module. We do know for sure though that the next Pixel handset is on its way in 2017.

Google's senior vice president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, confirmed that the Mountain View company is fully embracing the "annual rhythm in the industry" and will look to update its Android-powered mobile hardware each year. Osterloh also denied that a heavily-rumoured budget Pixel model is in the works.