(Pocket-lint) – Google is rumoured to be working on a couple of smartphones, including the Pixel 5a 5G and the Pixel 6.
There are plenty of rumours surrounding the Pixel 5a 5G, which we have covered in a separate feature, but here we are focusing on everything we have heard so far about the Pixel 6.
Release date and price
- October 2021
- From £599/$699
The Google Pixel 6 isn’t expected until the latter half of 2021. At the moment, there are no rumours for event dates as it’s still a little early, though previous Google release patterns would suggest October 2021 would be a good month to pencil in for now.
In terms of price, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 sat in the flagship end of the smartphone market, competing with the likes of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S. The Pixel 5’s price put it in the mid-range category though.
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It’s not currently clear if the Pixel 6 will see a price hike back up to flagship territory, or if Google will stick with the slightly lower pricing. If it sticks to the same ballpark as the Pixel 5, we could see pricing start from around £599/$699.
- Under-display front camera?
- Change to rear design
- XL model too?
At the moment, there aren’t many rumours relating to the design of the Pixel 6.
There is some talk of an under-display front camera, following a filed patent from Google, though we’d be surprised to see that this year. If it doesn’t appear, a punch hole front camera is likely.
There is also some talk of an under-display fingerprint sensor though, which would change the design of the rear compared to previous Pixel devices that feature a circular physical fingerprint sensor. This is also plausible as under-display fingerprint scanners have been around for a while now and are on many of the Pixel’s competitors.
We’d expect Google to retain colour names such as Just Black and Clearly White and we’d expect the square camera housing to remain, though there’s nothing to say it couldn’t change.
In terms of size, there have been some suggestions that a Pixel 6 XL could appear after a one-handed mode appeared in some Android 12 software code. The Pixel 5 only came in one size option after previous models offered two, but at the moment, it’s not clear if the Pixel 6 will move back to two.
- 6-inch, Full HD+
- Under-display fingerprint scanner
- 120Hz refresh rate
The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch display with a Full HD+ resolution and a pixel density of 432ppi. It has HDR support and it offers a refresh rate of 90Hz.
We’d expect the Pixel 6 to offer similar, unless there is a Pixel 6 XL, in which case the Pixel 5 will likely sit in between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL.
We’d like to see a 120Hz refresh rate, but Apple hasn’t played the numbers game in this area yet either, even though its iPhone 13 Pro models are rumoured to go down this route. A flat display is likely and as mentioned, rumours suggest it could feature an under-display scanner.
Hardware and specs
- Google-own chip
- UWB technology
- 5G connectivity
Rumours suggest Google is working on its own system-on-chip, internally called Whitechapel. It’s said the company could be working with Samsung on the processor and it’s claimed it could offer a similar performance to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 series.
Of course, if this isn’t the case then Google is likely to offer a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset under the hood of the Pixel 6. The succeeding chip to the Pixel 5’s 765G processor is the Snapdragon 780G, but at the moment, nothing is clear in rumours. Previous to the Pixel 5, Pixel devices had the flagship Qualcomm Snadragon processor, which is currently the 888.
So far, there is no word on battery capacity or RAM and storage options for the Pixel 6, though there is talk that Google is working on Ultra Wide Band technology, which is said could appear in the Pixel 6.
With the Pixel 5 being a 5G handset, we expect the Pixel 6 to also offer 5G connectivity.
- 4K video recording from front
- Dual rear?
Google Pixel phones are praised for their excellent camera offerings so we fully expect the Pixel 6 to continue on this path. Or we at least hope it does.
The only rumours relating to cameras at the moment is the claim the front camera could support 4K video recording.
Otherwise, it’s not been detailed in leaks what the rear cameras could offer, but features like Night Sight are expected on the Pixel 6. The Pixel 5 has a dual rear camera, but some tweaks are likely even if the hardware stays largely the same.
Google Pixel 6 rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here’s everything we have heard about the Pixel 6 so far.
4 May 2021: Pixel 6 might rival iPhone 12 by offering UWB connectivity
XDA’s Mishaal Rahman shared on Twitter that Google is experimenting with UWB support on an upcoming device codenamed Raven, which could be the Pixel 6.
30 April 2021: Google is working on UWB connectivity, possibly for Pixel 6 family
9to5Google reported that Google was experimenting with putting UWB technology into its Android hardware, speculating this would be found in the Pixel 6 phones.
5 April 2021: Pixel 6 might be powered by a Google-designed ‘GS101’ processor
9to5Google claimed Google is developing two phones with an Arm-based “GS101” processor, codenamed “Whitechapel”.
2 April 2021: Pixel 6 may use Google-made chip instead of Qualcomm processor
XDA Developers reported Google is working on new GS101 silicon for its 2021 Pixel phones. It said: “The SoC will feature a 3 cluster setup with a TPU (Tensor Processing Unit). Google also refers to its next Pixel devices as “dauntless-equipped phones”, which we believe refers to them having an integrated Titan M security chip (code-named Citadel).”
17 March 2021: Android 12 DP2 hints at a future Pixel device with an under-display fingerprint scanner
XDA Developers reported spotting evidence in Android 12 code that suggests the Pixel 6 could come with an under-display fingerprint scanner.
9 March 2021: Google Pixel 6 likely to adopt centered hole punch camera, 4K selfie video
9to5Google dug into an update to the Google Pixel camera app that suggests the Pixel 6 could adopt centralised punch hole camera and support 4K video recording.
18 February 2021: Android 12 code might give away some Pixel 6 features
XDA Developer’s Mishaal Rahman tweeted some features he found in the Android 12 developer code suggesting UI changes make it more one-handed friendly and there was some talk of under-display fingerprint scanner support alongside facial recognition too.
Now that the embargo has lifted, here’s my running thread of changes I’ve found in Android 12 Developer Preview 1.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
1 December 2020: Patent suggests under-display front camera on future Pixel phone
A patent for a future Pixel phone was spotted by Patently Apple showing no visible front camera.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.