Google Pixel 6 is set to launch later this year. As the name suggests, it will be the sixth-generation Pixel flagship. Unlike 2020 when Google decided to release just one flagship Pixel phone, the company is rumored to be launching two phones this year. Last year was an outlier for the Pixel lineup, so it will be good to see Google get back to one regular and one larger phone.
As expected, months before the actual launch of the Pixel 6 series, rumors and leaks about the upcoming lineup are everywhere. We already seem to know a decent bit about the series. So let’s dive into everything that has been rumored or leaked about the upcoming Pixel 6 phones.
Google Pixel 6 series: Release date
Google typically launches its new flagship Pixel phones in the fall. Barring the Pixel 5 that was introduced on September 30, 2020, all other Pixel smartphones have been announced in the first half of October. So it is very likely that we’ll see the launch of the Pixel 6 series in early October. Given the pandemic, the company is expected to host a virtual event to unveil the new flagships.
Traditionally, Google has taken anywhere between a week and a fortnight after the announcement to start selling the new Pixel phones. Last year, however, the gap between the Pixel 5 announcement and the sale date ended up being almost a month because of the complications arising from the pandemic. So hopefully, the Pixel 6 launch this year will be smoother and the gap between announcement and sale date won’t be a month-long.
Google Pixel 6 series: Variants and Pricing
Although Google didn’t launch an XL variant of the Pixel 5, Pixel 6 is said to be getting a larger XL version. Unlike the company’s previous naming convention, it is rumored to be called Google Pixel 6 Pro. Google seems to have decided to be like other smartphone makers that frequently use Pro or Max in their smartphone monikers, and there’s a possibility that there is feature differentiation between the Pro and the non-Pro version too. While we’re on the names, the two upcoming Pixel phones are likely codenamed raven and oriole.
There is no word on the storage variants of the two phones. Google could go one of two ways. It could release just one storage variant of each phone, like it did with the Pixel 5 or it could have two storage variants each like the earlier Pixel phones. It seems more likely that Google will stick with just one storage variant per phone.
The pricing of the Pixel 6 phones also remains a mystery for now. Google has dabbled in both value for money and top-of-the-line pricing in the Pixel history. So it would be interesting to see which way Google leans this year. Having said that, since we are hearing that Google is going the premium route with the larger Pixel, we may see a flagship-level price tag on the Pro.
The design of the Pixel 6 series is expected to be one of its most interesting aspects. The leaked CAD-based renders of both Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro show that Google is planning to go with a striking new design. The two phones will employ a two-tone design with a black camera bump covering the entire width of the back. The two colors on the back of the phone will be divided by this bump.
The front of the phones seems in line with pretty much most Android phones. It will sport a centered hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera to keep the bezels to a minimum.
The exact color options are unclear at the moment but if the colors shown in the leaked renders are any indication, at least one of the options will be a white phone with orange elements. Also, Max Weinbach of Android Police recently claimed in the Mobile Tech Podcast with Myriam Joire that the orange color seen in the leaked renders is more of a peach, and a green and silver variant is also in the works.
Overall, the bold and unique design of the Pixel 6 series will certainly help it distinguish itself from other Android phones on the market. With many smartphone makers playing relatively safe with the designs of their phones, it is nice to see Google leading from the front.
Internals: Processor, Display, and more
Another interesting aspect of the upcoming Pixel phones is going to be their processor. Google is allegedly using its own ‘GS101’ silicon in the two phones. This custom chip seems to be code-named “Whitechapel” and the name was also spotted in a code-change submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
The specifics of the chip are unknown right now but it is reportedly being made in partnership with Samsung and will use the high-end Mali-G78 GPU. It is the same GPU that powers Samsung’s Exynos variant of the Galaxy S21 phone.
In other specifications, Google Pixel 6 is rumored to feature a 6.4-inch flat display with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Additionally, the phone is said to support wireless charging, and pack bottom-firing stereo speakers and USB Type-C port. It will measure roughly 158.6mm x 74.8mm x 8.9mm (11.8mm with the camera bump).
The Pixel 6 Pro will reportedly pack a 6.67-inch curved AMOLED screen with an in-display fingerprint sensor. It is also said to include dual stereo speakers, and support wireless charging, like its smaller brother. The 6 Pro will measure roughly 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm (11.5mm with camera bump).
On the software front, Android 12 is pretty much a certainty for both Pixel 6 and the 6 Pro. The new Android version that is currently in beta will come with the Material You design language and the wallpaper-based UX theming. It will also pack a privacy dashboard to show which apps are using your phone’s camera, microphone, or location. Additionally, it will pack a number of other useful features.
Cameras have long been a key component of the Pixel lineup. It is the camera prowess of Pixel phones that drives a lot of buying decisions. Hopefully, that continues with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. While there have been some rumors about the camera specifications, the actual camera quality will only be known after the release of these two phones.
The Pixel 6 is rumored to come with a dual rear camera setup with an unknown third sensor. The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, will reportedly pack a triple rear camera setup, including a wide-angle shooter and periscope-style telephoto camera.
In other camera-specific details that have been rumored, the selfie camera on the Pixel 6 is said to support 4K video recording. The Pixel 5’s selfie camera only supports 1080p video recording at 30fps.
One thing that was already confirmed at the I/O 2021 is that Google is tweaking the camera algorithms to make them better at shooting diverse skin tones.
XDA’s Wishlist for the Pixel 6 series
Thanks to the various rumors and leaks, we already know all this about the two phones. But from the things that are still a mystery, here is what we would like to see in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
High refresh rate display
For the last couple of flagship Pixel phones, Google has been kind of stuck at 90Hz refresh rate. So it would be great to see the company make a jump to at least 120Hz. Pretty much all major flagship these days come with 120Hz displays, so it makes no sense for Google to provide anything lower. A higher refresh rate not only helps you while gaming, but it also affects how smooth a phone feels while in use.
While Google made a significant jump in the Pixel 5’s battery capacity, there is still scope for improvement. Given that Pixel phones don’t normally come with crazy-fast charging speeds, seeing a 4,500mAh or 5,000mAh battery would certainly make a lot of people, including us, very happy.
No more hardware issues
Pixel phones don’t have the best record when it comes to hardware and software issues. Every year, after the new Pixel phones are released, Google support forums are filled with consumers complaining about one thing or another. While software issues can be rectified by updates, hardware issues can cause unnecessary hassle to the users. Nobody likes to see their brand new phone having problems. So Google, let’s not repeat history this year.
So this is everything that has been rumored or leaked by credible sources about the Pixel 6 phones over the last couple of months. Since the launch of the new Pixel phones is still a few months away, we would very likely hear a lot more in the coming weeks and months. We’ll continue to update this article as we know more details.
We’ve also shared some of the things that we would like to see in the Pixel 6 series. What are your expectations or wishes for the upcoming phones? What would you like to see? Let us know in the comments section.
Featured Image: Google Pixel 5