In a blog post today, Google announced that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, coming later this fall, will feature the company's first custom-built system on a chip (SoC) designed specifically for Pixel phones.
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro Tensor processor
Google is calling the new SoC "Tensor." As expected, AI and machine learning (ML) are at the core of Tensor. Google specifically calls attention to its ability to provide a "transformed experience for the camera, speech recognition and many other Pixel 6 features."
While rumors pointed to the processor falling below the Snapdragon 888 in terms of raw performance, these AI and ML enhancements are what could render that gap meaningless when it comes to real-world performance. This is, in some ways, similar to what we have seen from Apple with the M1 processor.
We made a chip!#Pixel6 is powered by our first ever smartphone SoC: meet Google Tensor(5/13) pic.twitter.com/0Kts53TfqmAugust 2, 2021
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro: Cameras
While Google isn't giving away all of the details on these specs, it confirmed that the Pixel 6 Pro will get a new 4x optical telephoto zoom, while the Pixel 6 will stick to a wide-angle and ultra-wide camera. Both phones will use identical camera sensors with the exception of the telephoto lens on the Pro model.
We're thrilled to hear that Google is giving us a telephoto zoom lens again, but we desperately want more information on the sensor. Google will likely bring considerable updates to the sensors, but given its sluggish track record for Pixel, we'll believe it when we see it.
And while the promise of upgraded camera performance with Tensor is great, Google isn't ready to share any sample photos just yet.
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro: design
The design leaks regarding the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been dead on. Google refers to the new raised rear camera array that runs the width of both phones as the "Camera Bar." The bars themselves appear identical with the telephoto lens on the Pro as the sole differentiator.
Both phones feature aluminum frames and will come in three colors with the Pro featuring a polished finish compared to a matte finish on the standard Pixel 6. Google doesn't give the names of these colors, but it is that two-tone finish that we've seen in the leaks.
Material You will be best on #Pixel6.The colors, the camera, the form, and what’s on the screen all work together in a single, fluid experience. (9/13) pic.twitter.com/K6BRF9ZKEYAugust 2, 2021
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro: Android 12 and Material You
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will debut with Android 12 and Google's new Material You design language. Google claims it will be best on Pixel 6.
While details from Google are light, Tensor seems to be designed to handle the new animations and design framework fluidly.
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro: release date
This little teaser from Google doesn't seem to portend an early release date for the phones with the company simply saying they are, "launching this fall." They will likely be launching around the first week of October as per usual.
This preview is perhaps a response to the near-endless flood of leaks that we've seen on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and a nice way for Google to make sure its fans are aware the phones are coming just ahead of Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11.
If you want to be notified about the phones when they are available, Google has a Pixel 6 page up now in the Google Store. Google offering up these official details is great, but don't count on the rumor mill stopping as a result. We'll keep you updated on any new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro news ahead of the official release.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.