When will the Google Pixel 6 be released?
Google officially first acknowledged the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in a press release published on 2 August. While the company didn’t make mention of a specific release date, it repeatedly promised an arrival time of “Fall” (Autumn), in line with past Pixel releases.
- Barbet (Pixel 5a 5G) – G4S1M
- Oriole (Pixel 6 family) – GR1YH
- Raven (Pixel 6 family) – GF5KQ
- Passport (Pixel foldable) – GPQ72
Usually, the new flagship Pixel arrives either right at the end of September or mid-October. For example, the Pixel 3 arrived on 18 October 2018, this was followed by the Pixel 4, which made its debut on October 15 2019, and was succeeded by the Pixel 5 on 30 September 2020. Leaker, Jon Prosser has also said it will be “sometime near October.”
Google announced the Android 12 Beta 1 at its I/O developer conference on 18 May, stating that the OS would arrive in Autumn/Fall, reinforcing the (now-confirmed) thinking that the Pixel 6 will arrive at that time, being the flagship to ship pre-loaded with this newest version of the company’s mobile OS.
Here’s the timeline for Android 12’s release, which implies September at the earliest.
How much will the Google Pixel 6 cost?
Pricing is a bit less reliable when looking at past releases. Back in 2018 the Pixel 3 came with a price tag set at £739/$799, but when the Pixel 4 came along its price was £669/$799. The cost of ownership dropped even lower with the Pixel 5, which you can buy at the time of writing for £599/$699.
Sadly, we don’t see this descending trend continuing, with the company’s hardware executive, Rick Osterloh telling German site Der Spiegel, that the next Pixels “will be expensive.”
While Osterloh didn’t throw out any specific figures at the time, he did allude to the fact that recent Pixels haven’t readily intended to compete with the top-tier devices pushed out by rivals.
Things are set to be different with the Pixel 6, however, which he described as a “mainstream premium product”, known to be running on fresh Google-designed silcon, that will have likely cost a fair few research and development dollars in its creation.
As for the Pixel 6 Pro, we imagine it will be at least £100/$100 more than the standard 6.
What about the Google Pixel 6’s design and specs?
While Google’s August announcement didn’t spill the tea on everything the Pixel 6 line will be bringing to the table, it did confirm a number of previously-leaked details, covering both the phones’ design and hardware (as well as putting to bed the debate over whether the larger phone’s name would be the ‘Pixel 6 XL’ or ‘Pixel 6 Pro’).
Jon Prosser’s huge May leak gave us a potential first-look at the Pixel 6’s design, which turns out to have been right on the money, based on Google’s first officially-released images.
The company is calling the jutting camera arrangement across each phone’s back a “camera bar” and it’s apparently needed to accommodate the “upgraded” rear camera system, which is said to feature “improved sensors and lenses” that are “now too big to fit into a traditional square.”
While Google’s August announcement doesn’t get into specifics, it does state that both phones “have new materials and finishes, too — like the Pro’s light polished aluminum [sic] frame, and the 6’s matte aluminum [sic] finish.”
It also appears like these Pixels are reverting back to glass-backed designs, similar to the first three generations of Pixel; with contrasting colours on either side of that distinctive camera bar.
Speaking of colours, Google’s characteristically quirky names for the colourways shown above haven’t yet been published, however, tipster TechScoreNY has put forward ‘Sorta Orange’, ‘Arctic Blue’ and ‘Mostly Grey’. These names were originally in reference to the 6 Pro specifically, however, assuming the images Google has since supplied are the only finishes for each model of phone, it’s thought that ‘Arctic Blue’ might relate to the blue/green finish seen on the standard Pixel 6.
While Google’s initial round of official images does include shots featuring a centrally-positioned front-facing hole-punch camera, Prosser’s previous mock-ups (made by Ian Zelbo) offer the front view up in far greater detail, highlighting the display’s tiny bezels at the same time.
The Pixel 4a/4a XL/5’s reinstated rear fingerprint scanner has gone again, this time replaced with an in-display alternative.
Google isn’t yet willing to hand out a complete spec sheet for these freshly-teased phones, so instead, we turn to The Verge – who managed to get some hands-on time with pre-release versions of both devices and gleaned a few concrete specifications in the process – and (among others) Jon Prosser, with what he believes are the final specs for the 6 and 6 Pro. He also mentions that Google will supply these phones with at least five years of software updates.
Pixel 6 specs
- 6.4in 90Hz flat AMOLED display
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- 50Mp main + 12Mp ultrawide rear cameras
- 8Mp hole-punch front camera
- Stereo speakers
- 4614mAh battery
- Google Tensor chipset
- 8GB RAM
- 128/256GB storage
- Android 12
- 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm
Pixel 6 Pro specs
- 6.7in 120Hz curved-edge pOLED display
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- 50Mp main + 8Mp telephoto (4x zoom) + 12Mp ultrawide rear cameras
- 12Mp hole-punch front cameras
- Stereo speakers
- 5000mAh battery
- Google Tensor chipset
- 12GB RAM
- 128/256/512GB storage
- Android 12
- 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm
Specs including a 50Mp main sensor paired with an ultrawide snapper and an 8Mp 5x zoom camera had been previously rumoured elsewhere, however, the Verge’s hands-on time pulls the Pro’s telephoto zoom abilities back to 4x magnification (presumably, before further digital zoom).
As to that 50Mp sensor specifically, XDA Developers spotted details in the camera app contained within the Android 12 Beta 4 – which released in August – suggesting that the Pixel 6 line might be using Samsung’s GN1 sensor in this instance.
This discovery is attributed to a string of code: “gn1_wide_p21”, with ‘gn1’ thought to be in reference to the Samsung-made camera sensor, ‘wide’ referencing the standard field of view and ‘p21’ serving as a truncation of ‘Pixel 2021’.
If this sleuthing does turn out to be true, the Pixel 6 line will be the first set of phones to feature a GN1 sensor outside of China.
Prior to Google’s early August announcement, XDA Developers had previously noticed code within the Google Camera 8.3.252 release referencing “zoom_toggle_ultratele” and the text “5x”, as well as multiple mentions of a new “ultratele” zoom toggle.
It’s also been pointed out that an official Android 12 video also appears to show the 5x option.
A few people have pointed out to me than in this video: https://t.co/yQqmXm7VAs
You can see what looks like the camera app with a 0.6X, 2X, and a 5X zoom option. Could mean nothing but with this new leak..
H/T jeneeek on Telegram pic.twitter.com/b8BhWsh7Qw
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) May 20, 2021
Why 4x is the level to which Google has apparently settled on, despite all the leaks to the contrary, is unclear.
OnLeaks states that dimensions for the 6 Pro will clock in at 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm or 11.5mm, if you factor in the camera bar.
Other smaller details include stereo speakers, wireless charging and it will have “a couple of sensors housed in the camera module, as well as a microphone unit.”
With regards to the smaller phone, OnLeaks (via 91Mobiles) reiterated that the phone will have a flat screen, along with an in-display fingerprint sensor and wireless charging. Stereo speakers, USB-C charging and dimensions of 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm (11.8mm including camera bar) are also said to feature.
Processor: Tensor SoC
One rumour in relation to the Pixel 6 line that the tech press had long held in high esteem was that Google had been working closely with Samsung to design a custom processor set to make its debut in the Pixel 6 line.
While Samsung didn’t get a name check in the company’s 2 August announcement, it did detail some of what we can expect from the custom silicon, destined for its 2021 flagship phones; sporting what it calls ‘Tensor’ – a name we’ve seen already seen affiliated with a number of other Google projects, in relation to AI computing and Machine Learning.
In an official capacity, Google’s release states, “Tensor enables us (Google) 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 [sic] experience. And with Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone.”
While that doesn’t shed a huge amount of light on just how exactly Tensor pulls away from the Snapdragon chips the company was previously sticking into Pixel devices, leaks leading up to this announcement, referencing the chip’s codename “Whitechapel” add a little extra illumination.
GS101 “Whitechapel” (GS likely meaning ‘Google Silicon’) supposedly shares in Samsung’s latest Exynos design and architecture, along with some of its software components.
Tipster Max Weinbach, speaking to Myriam Joire on her Mobile Tech Podcast, stated that the chipset would sit between the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 888. Separately, GalaxyClub found evidence of Whitechapel relating to an unreleased Samsung chip called the Exynos 9855, which is thought to sit between the silicon used inside the Galaxy S21 and next year’s rumoured Galaxy S22, in terms of performance.
It’s supposedly made on a 5nm process (matching the 888) and – as subsequently reiterated by Google – focuses on AI and machine learning tasks, which means users can expect improvements in areas like photography. Yogesh has also weighed in to confirm similar details while adding that it should be viewed in a similar vein to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870, in terms of ability.
Well yes, Whitechapel is a 5nm chip with current performance on PVT units closer to SD870, they are not trying to match SD888. Google’s focus is on ML & so the raw AI performance is matched to that of other leading mobile chips. Plus that Mali GPU is performing good under stress.
— 𓆩Yogesh𓆪 (@heyitsyogesh) May 24, 2021
One thing we can predict is that the Pixel 6 will come with an Ultra-Wideband (UWB) chip and – combined with NFC – will support the new Digital Car Key feature in Android 12, allowing you to unlock a compatible vehicle with your phone.
Google said it will work with ‘select Pixel & Galaxy devices’ from Fall (Autumn). The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, S21 Ultra and Z Fold 2 are the only Android phones with this tech so far (at the time of writing).
It also seems Google is working on a new wireless charging stand for the Pixel 6, that will include a cooling fan. 9to5Google spotted mentions of it in the Android 12 Beta 2 code.
There’s no word on power output, but the fan will help keep the phone cool while it charges and looks like it will slow down if you wake the Google Assistant, presumably so the microphones can hear you better.
It will go even quieter if you use the Google Recorder app while charging and there are three manual modes: Auto, Quiet and Power Boost, plus Bedtime mode.
Named ‘Luxuryliner’, it seems it will be a follow-up to the £69 Pixel Stand that was codenamed ‘Dreamliner’.
In the meantime, check out our review of the Google Pixel 5, our roundup of the best Pixel 5 deals and our thoughts on Google’s initial Pixel 6 reveal in episode 77 of our weekly podcast, Fast Charge:
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