Google Announces Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

Posted on August 2, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android with 38 Comments

They are among the most open of secrets in personal technology, but now they’re official: Google will launch the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro this fall.

“We set out to make our own System on a Chip (SoC) to power Pixel 6,” Google vice president Rick Osterloh writes. “And now, years later, it’s almost here. Tensor is our first custom-built SoC specifically for Pixel phones, and it will power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro later this fall.”

Why Google has chosen now to go public with the Pixel 6 family and Tensor is unclear: The firm is, after all, set to launch a Pixel 5a any day now. And Osterloh says that Google will “share all the details [it]  normally release at launch like new features, technical specs, and pricing and availability.” Today’s announcement is just a preview.

In keeping with the leaked images we’ve seen so far, Pixel 6/6 Pro will feature an all-new design that is, for perhaps the first time for Pixel, both attractive and unique. The smartphones will have new materials and finishes, with a matte aluminum finish on the Pixel 6 and a light polished aluminum frame on the Pixel 6 Pro.

Both phones will include an upgraded rear camera system with three lenses (at least on the Pro), as rumored, a first for Pixel, and they will be arrayed horizontally across the upper back in a “camera bar,” and not clustered in a corner as is more usually the case.

Most of that is not new information. But Google’s description of the Tensor SoC is interesting.

“With Tensor, we thought about every piece of the chip and customized it to run Google’s computational photography models,” Osterloh says. “Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned, phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalized experience. And with Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone. You’ll see this in everything from the completely revamped camera system to speech recognition and much more.”

I can’t wait. But for now, you can learn more about Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro from the Google Store website.

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Comments (38)

38 responses to “Google Announces Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro”

  1. yoshi

    These look good so far. A bit let down there was nothing about the 5a release date in their Twitter thread.

  2. coeus89

    Well a tensor is piece of an AI algorithm so I would bet that this phone has some local AI capabilities.

  3. matt11to5

    I love the look. I wonder they're going back to face unlock like on pixel 4 since there doesn't seem to be a finger print reader on the back.

  4. red.radar

    It has a Android Vibe in that Jode Laforge Star Trek Way.

  5. rmlounsbury

    Google seems to be doing everything right with the Pixel this go around.

  6. innitrichie

    A good reason to use a bang average mid-level CPU in last year's Pixel 5 series will be the positive comparisons they will draw when matching up against their own SoC this year.

  7. melinau

    “Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned, phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalized experience..."

    That has to be one of the scariest bits of PR puff ion a long time especially the bits I highlighted. Google is not a technology company, in the sense of say Microsoft or HP, but one whose business model is about collecting & using personal data about its users. My takeaway from all this is that their surveillance & monitoring will become even more intrusive & "effective" (from Alphabet's perspective). The goodies, like better "security" & photographic gimmicks are the lure which draws the moths to the flame.....

    • bats

      No, Google is every bit a technology company that Microsoft and HP is, where one can even argue more and better. I am not saying this to toot Google's horn, but it's a fact. The advertising argument that people make is bogus and ridiculous. Everyone knows (including you) that Google supports it's popular, free, and best applications, through advertising. Google is NOT an advertising company; they are a DATA company.

  8. abdulla77

    I'm just honestly happy that they announced everything now.. officially. They're parting away from the boring cycle of smartphone announcements/launches and doing something totally different. The other thing I'm happy about is that for once, I feel like they have a hunger to compete with their partners (ie Samsung). Not shy away or act like they're providing a 'model' for other manufacturers to follow.

    However what they will realize is how expensive it is to market this phone globally (and I mean Samsung global marketing). They can't be a formidable competitor if they can't have the budget to compete with the big players. Right now, talking to a telco in Europe or Asia about Pixel phones, they just don't fully support it. Worse, I'm told Google is being arrogant about approaching telco's, prefer to go at it alone. The consequence? No 5G compatibility in international markets, and forget wondering if VoLTE even works. Google needs to build partnerships in regions and seriously improve their relationship with telcos if they think they can compete with the likes of Samsung. Let's see how serious they are..

    ..and one more thing, I hope this tensor chip wizardry works internationally. Imagine Google Duplex bundled with Google Maps globally. They will eat every maps app for lunch easily.

    • jason_e

      They have not announced EVERYTHING yet. Plenty more to announce later this fall. They will still have a boring announcement/launch as you say. Also Google announced yesterday that they are going all out with marketing the Pixel 6 this time around.

  9. bats

    Ya know.....I learned my lesson with these Pixels. Wait, until Black Friday. I still run the Pixel 3XL and wish for an excuse to upgrade, but I still could skip this generation of Pixels for the "7", which everyone knows is a lucky number. Well, I guess if you are from a South Korean technology company, you might think different.

  10. johnh3

    I think a lot depends on the pricing. As ”Gary Explains” in Youtube the Tensor chip will will most likely not have the top prestanda as a Snapdragon 888 or the Apple A 14 Bionic chip. But more similar to the Mediatek Dimensity 1200 as in the OnePlus Nord 2.

    Not a big issue itself, but if they overprice the devices it can be a problem.

    • ArvindV

      here is the problem with Gary's argument he is basing it out of a rumor. there is another rumor that Tensor is based out of Exynos 2100 chip which has the same performance as Snapdragon 888/888+ chip

      so we have to wait and see before we judge it

  11. crunchyfrog

    I don't know why but the design reminds me of some science fiction thing from the 80's. Can't remember what though...

    • Paul Thurrott

      Maybe even the 70s. It would look good as a prop in "Logan's Run," for sure.

      • wright_is

        There is definitely something about it that screams 1970s. I'm sure I've seen that design in something my parents had in the 1970s, but I can't put my finger on it.

    • basic sandbox

      The first thing that popped into my head was the 70s show 'Space: 1999'.

  12. jdawgnoonan

    Awesome, now I know what my next phone will be.

  13. jdawgnoonan

    Betting on "9/30" being the release date with that number repeatedly being the time in the video.

    • dbonds

      agreed - and even IF everything was actually done at 9:30 (thus potentially explaining the multiple instances of that time showing) there's even an alarm setting screen on one of the pics with one alarm set to 6:30, and another to 3:30, which adds up to....9:30. ;-)

      Now, here's hoping my cracked screen Oneplus 7T makes it to October. If it does, the Pixel 6 will likely be my next phone.

  14. bschnatt

    They look like one-eyed bandits with that black bar running across the top. LOL

  15. Chris_Kez

    I think they're teasing this now because it is a slow period for news; they'll get plenty of coverage; there are no actual reviews to distract from their narrative about the new Tensor SoC. The SoC angle is interesting, but we still don't know the source of the CPU or GPU (Samsung?) or how it will perform in totality.

    • peterc

      I think google is trying to use the time till launch and handset reviews hitting the web to “educate and persuade potential buyers” not to expect their Tensor chip to stand toe to to toe in benchmark testing against an Apple A series or Qualcomm snapdragon chip, but to expect actual usable tasks to be great, regardless of what benchmarks say etc.

      They will focus their message on Tensors real world usage etc, whilst others (Qualcomm, Apple etc) will likely seek to downgrade Tensor through benchmark data etc.

  16. bettyblue

    When you want to be absolutely, completely, totally, 100% tracked 24/ do not mess take matters into your own hands and you..........reach for the Google Pixel phone every time.

    It is a bold move, stylish even, people will notice....but you will be confident that know matter what you do.......Google will know about it.

    • darkgrayknight

      Yep, "Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned, phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, ..." The most powerful part of Google being the advertising part that extracts all the possible data it can get from the device that it can sell to advertisers.

      • ArvindV

        you lose your credibility when you say "it can sell to advertisers"

        this shows you have no idea how Google works and the way they work is why google is so successful in selling ads.

        selling data to advertisers is like killing the golden goose.

        • Paul Thurrott

          Google literally sells your personal data to advertisers.

          • Chris_Kez

            I am no fan of Google, but aren’t they selling access to you (i.e. agreeing to put ads in front of specific groups of people) rather than selling your data to third parties? If they sold your actual data then what reason would advertisers have to come back to Google? Advertisers could just build their own profiles with that data. Perhaps some will say this all semantics, but I do think the difference is worth pointing out. I think we need to have better privacy and data protection laws in this country, and that starts with people having a sober and objective understanding of exactly what is happening.

            • Chris_Kez

              I'd like to retract the above statement but apparently there is no longer a "delete" option.

  17. sully0808

    This is very promising. Can't wait to replace my aging Pixel 2XL. I think Google pre-announced today to beat the Samsung Unpacked Event scheduled for August 11. This may make some savvy buyers hold off on purchasing the shiny new Galaxy device until they hear the Pixel 6/6 Pro specs. By that time... the Galaxy is no longer the Sexy New kid on The block... which plays right into Google's Hands.

  18. jlariviere

    Wonder if it'll have a headphone jack. I'll probably stay with my 4a

  19. wright_is

    The design is very 1970s.

    i', not sure what it is, but something about the cream/orange coloured one and the general contours, especially around the camera bump, remind me of a device my parents had, when I was a young child. I can't place it, but that rounded look, with the squared off bump is so familiar and so "old fashioned".