Google Pixel 6 release date, rumours, features and specs

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(Pocket-lint) – Google is rumoured to be working on a couple of smartphones, including the Pixel 5a 5G, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Two codenames have surfaced for Pixel 6 models – Oriole and Raven – with model numbers GR1YH and GF5KQ respectively.

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 and Pixel 6 Pro. 

Release date and price

  • October 2021
  • From £599/$699

The Google Pixel 6 models aren’t expected until the latter half of 2021. At the moment, there’s no suggestion of the release date, but previous Google release patterns would suggest October 2021 would be a good month to pencil in for now. Google said “fall” during its I/O developer conference plenty of times, but it didn’t offer any more details.

In terms of price, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 sat in the flagship end of the smartphone market, while the Pixel 5’s price put it in the mid-range category.

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.

We’d expect the Pixel 6 Pro to be flagship so that’s likely to be more expensive.

Design

  • Under-display front camera?
  • Change to rear design
  • Pro model

Renders of the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have appeared online, claimed to have been designed from images of the real models. They show a dramatic redesign from previous Pixels, with a large camera housing on the rear spreading across the width of the phones, while the front of the devices have a centralised punch hole camera, very slim bezels and even a slight curve at the edge of the display. These renders were supported by further renders of the Pro model from another reliable leaker.

The renders suggest an under-display fingerprint sensor – something that is definitely plausible as under-display fingerprint scanners have been around for a while now and are on many of the Pixel’s competitors. It would be a change from the rear physical fingerprint sensor on previous Pixels, but if the camera does span the back, it would be an obvious move.

There has been some talk of an under-display front camera, following a filed patent from Google, though we’d be surprised to see that this year and the renders suggest that won’t be something that is happening this time round.

The renders show bright and bold colour options for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, with bright orange and pale orange so it looks like Google is going for a total refresh if the renders are accurate. Bolder colour asthetics also seem to be a part of Android 12, so both hardware and software might be pulling in the same direction.

Display

  • Pixel 6: 6-inch, Full HD+
  • Pixel 6 Pro: 6.67-inch, Quad HD+?
  • Under-display fingerprint scanner
  • 120Hz refresh rate

The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch display and we’d expect the Pixel 6 to be a similar, offering a medium-sized device. The leaked renders suggest that the Pixel 6 Pro will be larger, and it’s been claimed it will have a 6.67-inch screen. 

It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Pixel 6 Pro offer a higher resolution compared to the standard 6, as well as a faster refresh rate, but there aren’t any firm details yet.

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 700 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. 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, RAM or storage options for the Pixel 6, though Google confirmed that its upcoming Digital Car Key feature would use ultra-wideband technology, currently not offered in any Pixel device – a hint that a future release will include it.

Cameras

  • 4K video recording from front
  • Pixel 6: Dual rear
  • Pixel 6 Pro: Triple rear

Google Pixel phones are praised for their excellent cameras so we fully expect the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to continue on this path. Or we at least hope they do.

Based on the leaked renders, the Pixel 6 will have a dual camera on the back, while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a triple rear camera, with the Pro model possibly adding a periscope telephoto lens.

The only other 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 of the two phones could offer, but features like Night Sight are expected on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 5 has a dual rear camera, but some tweaks are likely even if the hardware stays largely the same for the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 rumours: What’s happened so far?

Here’s everything we have heard about the Pixel 6 so far. 

21 May 2021: Google Pixel 6 Pro’s radical design rendered once again

Serial leaker OnLeaks shared some Pixel 6 Pro renders, following on the renders published by Jon Prosser. They show a similar design but offer some more details, including rhe 6 Pro’s screens size and a few more angles.

19 May 2021: Pixel 6 model numbers discovered in Android 12 Beta

Details about unreleased devices have been uncovered in the Android 12 Beta.

18 May 2021: Google announced Android 12 at Google I/O

Google announced Android 12 during its I/O developer conference, revealing a huge redesign. The company also referenced “fall” for the Pixels launch, as well as hinting that we’d see UWB in a future Pixel handset.

14 May 2021: Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro renders show radical change in design

Jon Prosser published some renders of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, in collaboration with with @RendersbyIan. According to Prosser, the renders have been created based on actual photographs of the real product, not from schematics.

6 May 2021: Pixel 6 to feature custom ‘Whitechapel’ chip?

Further evidence suggests Google is working on custom Whitechapel chip that will go into the Pixel 6.


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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.

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.





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