Confirming numerous rumors, Google this week announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro a few months before they were expected to be officially unveiled. It’s not without precedent — the company did the same thing for the Pixel 4 in 2019. However, as with the Pixel 4, Google did not share everything it had up its sleeve. Rather, it shared a selection of the most important details while keeping the rest close to its chest. From what we do know, however, Google has a pretty intriguing flagship in its hands.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro aren’t going to be cheap. Google said that it didn’t compete in the premium market with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5. Now, it’s going all-in on that with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, expect the duo to command a high price.
“We’ve definitively not been in the flagship tier for the past couple years, this will be different,” Google’s Rick Osterloh told the Verge that, “it will certainly be a premium-priced product.” While Google didn’t give precise numbers, looking at the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21’s starting prices of $799 gives us an idea of the price floor.
From the Google Store listings, we can expect the Pixel 6 to be sold in the U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan. Google may expand this listing when it launches the Pixel 6 officially at its annual made by Google event, but that is how it stands for now.
Material You will be best on #Pixel6.
The colors, the camera, the form, and what’s on the screen all work together in a single, fluid experience.
— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) August 2, 2021
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro blend a medley of design elements to produce something that’s fairly distinct from other smartphones on the market. The back adopts a camera bar that is more reminiscent of a visor than the square or circular bumps we’re used to in modern cameras. Meanwhile, the front is a bezel-free design with a centered hole punch that gives off a Galaxy Note-esque vibe when combined with the slightly squared-off aesthetic.
When it comes to the display, Google also played it coy here in its public report, but other reports pin the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro as having a 6.4-inch FHD OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 6.7-inch QHD+ OLED with a 120Hz display respectively.
The most interesting of the Pixel 6’s specs will be its processor. Instead of being a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or 870 as most of the other flagship Android phones in 2021 would do, Google is building its own silicon. It’s called the Google Tensor, and the company spent a lot of time talking up its capabilities.
“Tensor was built for how people use their phones today and how people will use them in the future. As more and more features are powered by A.I. and ML it’s not simply about adding more computing resources, it’s about using that ML to unlock specific experiences for our Pixel users,” Google explained. Tensor will be the most interesting part of the Pixel to watch, and rumors have stated that Google plans on updating the Pixel 6 for 5 years as a result of this new chip. Google hints at this longevity, saying: “Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned — phones that keep getting better while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalized experience. And with Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone.”
Other than that, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are also expected to come with Android 12 and showcase the true power of Google’s new operating system.
Google is putting its back into cameras this year. The company had been relying on the same old camera sensor for a while now, and with the Pixel 6, it’s finally trying to take on modern camera phones with more than just fantastic software. Google didn’t share the exact specs of the camera system, but it did say that the new lenses and sensors couldn’t fit into the traditional square that’s so popular with modern smartphone designs. Instead, it resurrected the camera bar that was once found on the Nexus 6P. It makes for a striking design, hopefully, the images and video it produces are that much more striking.
Google will be shipping its first triple camera system with the Pixel 6 Pro, giving a regular wide camera, an ultra-wide camera, and a telephoto one. The regular Pixel 6 will keep just the wide and ultra-wide, a formula that’s reminiscent of the non-Pro iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.
From earlier leaks, the main camera is expected to be a 50MP camera, with the telephoto lens being a 48MP one and the ultra-wide, 12MP. At the front, the Pixel 6 is expected to have an 8MP camera, while the 6Pro is to be 12MP.
Google has teased that a Pixel 5a 5G would be coming to the U.S. and Canada, but the company has yet to announce more concrete about it. Rumors place the Pixel 5a 5G as a device that’s very reminiscent of the Pixel 4a 5G in terms of design, sharing a lot of the same specs. The biggest differences are the processor which is said to be a Snapdragon 750G chip. It’s similar to the 765G which came with the Pixel 5 but allows Google to keep 5G support while reaching a lower price point.
The Pixel 5a 5G is expected to launch at around the same time as the 4a launched in 2019, meaning an August launch is a likely event.