Google has posted an official “sneak peek” of its upcoming Pixel 6 flagship. Contained in a tweet storm and a teaser website, we’re finally getting official pictures and confirmation for many of the rumors that have been out there.
First up, one of the most exciting aspects of the Pixel 6 is the inclusion of the Google “Whitechapel” SoC. This is Google’s first in-house SoC that will serve as the main chip powering the phone. It represents Google dumping Qualcomm as the SoC manufacturer and taking a more Apple-like vertical approach to its phone hardware. The chip is officially called “Google Tensor,” and it’s described by the company as “the brand new chip designed by Google, custom-made for Pixel.”
“The highlight of Tensor is that it can process Google’s most powerful AI and ML models directly on #Pixel6. You’ll see a transformed experience for the camera, speech recognition, and many other Pixel 6 features,” Google said in its posts today. “Speech recognition is another foundational technology where you will see a huge improvement in #Pixel6. Google Tensor allows us to make big leaps in: Voice commands, Translation, Captioning, & Dictation.”
Another presumed benefit not mentioned in the thread is that the Google Tensor chip should allow Google to support the Pixel 6 for longer than three years. When producing an Android update, the first step is getting updated hardware support from the SoC vendor. Most commercial operations only support a device for as long as the SoC manufacturer is on board. For Qualcomm (a chip vendor), supporting a device for longer means selling fewer chips, so the company doesn’t want to match Apple’s lengthy iPhone five- to six-year support window with a competitive package. With Qualcomm out of the way, though, the Pixel 6 support timeline will be entirely up to Google.
Officially, the Pixel 6 will come in two sizes, the “Pixel 6” and “Pixel 6 Pro.” Both will come in three different colors, and if you’re looking at the pictures, Google says the “Pro” model is the one with the most space above the camera block. The Pro has three cameras, including a 4x telephoto, while the base model has two cameras (it skips out on the zoom lens). Also not mentioned in the thread, this should be Google’s first camera chip upgrade since the Pixel 2. The Pixel 2, 3, 4, and 5 all use the same camera chip, with only newer software offering additional features.
There’s a Pixel 6 teaser page up on the Google Store where you can sign up for more info. Google says the phone will ship in the fall with Android 12 and the sweet new color-changing UI.
Listing image by Google