Google Pixel 3 XL iFixit Teardown Reveals Samsung OLED Display

Kelley Robertson
October 20, 2018

Verizon remains the exclusive Pixel 3 carrier in the USA, and that isn't such a great thing this year, as the Pixel 3 phones are locked to Verizon's network. In our analysis of the Made by Google event, we highlighted this as one of the areas that Google is starting to make real inroads. This enterprise-grade security chip is a mobile version of the Titan security chip that is used in Google's data centers, and focuses on mobile security for smartphones.

The Titan M has been integrated into the boot process for the Pixel 3. It prevents hackers from attempting to roll back the operating system to an older, potentially vulnerable version of the OS. Only once a passcode is verified, will it permit decryption.

The Titan M's "secure flash and fully independent computation" harden the phone against attackers seeking to forcibly decrypt data stored on the handheld, we're told.

The chip isn't just for Google though, with the Titan M chip able to "protect third-party apps and secure sensitive transactions" thanks to the new StrongBox KeyStore APIs in Android 9. Assuming no product strategy change takes place in the near term, Google's future devices are also likely to sport their own Top Shot-like gimmicks which will be just as inconsequential as the said functionality. Protected Confirmation is key in protecting P2P payments, e-voting, and more. Last year's Pixels were the other way around as the bigger Pixel had LG's P-OLED display while the smaller one relied on Samsung's AMOLED screens. Google is also open sourcing the firmware so that the security community can audit the Titan M as well.

The Top Shot functionality of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL flagships is severely limited in what it can do compared to how Google presented it last week and isn't the best option for salvaging mistimed photographs that the mobile industry can now offer.

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