Google Launches Pixel 6 Family, Pixel Pass, More

Posted on October 19, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 14 Comments

At a virtual event today, Google formally launched the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones, a new Pixel Pass subscription option, and much more.

“The wait is over: Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the completely redesigned Google phones, are here,” Google vice president Brian Rakowski writes. “Powered by Google Tensor, Google’s first-ever processor, and shipping with Android 12, both phones are fast, smart, secure, and designed to adapt to you.”

I’m happy to report that the pricing rumors are true: Pixel 6 starts at just $599 and Pixel 6 Pro starts at just $899, so both neatly undercut market leaders like Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. The base Pixel 6 provides a two-lens camera system, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage, while the base Pixel 6 Pro provides a three-lens camera system, 12 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage.

Alternatively, you can opt for a two-year Pixel Pass subscription, which adds Google One, YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, Google Play Pass, and Preferred Care. Pixel Pass with Pixel 6 starts at $45 per month or $55 per month with Pixel 6 Pro.

Both handsets are powered by Google’s new Tensor system-on-a-chip (SoC), which the firm designed specifically for its AI prowess, and the new Titan M2 security chipset. And Google will support the Pixel 6 family with security updates for five years.

Other announcements from the event include:

Magic Eraser. This is a new Photoshop-like feature that lets you tap on unwanted objects in photos to remove them from the scene seamlessly.

Camera inclusion improvements. To combat issues where people of color are not photographed correctly, the Pixel 6 cameras have been trained to correctly see a broader range of faces and skin types, and photos will be auto-white balanced, auto-exposed, and made sharper automatically.

New phone features. Two new calling features, Wait Times and Direct My Call, make calling businesses easier. “Before you even place your call to a toll-free business number, you’ll see the current and projected Wait Times for the rest of the week,” Google notes. “[And ] once you ring the business, Direct My Call uses Google Assistant to transcribe the automated message and menu options for you in real-time and displays them on your screen for you to see and tap, so you don’t need to remember all the options.”

New cases. The Pixel 6 family is getting a new series of protective cases that seem a lot like the new version it previously released for Pixel 5a. I didn’t like mine and I replaced it.

Good luck getting a Pixel 6 right away: The Google Store website has been a dumpster fire since Google first announced the devices, and I’ve been rejected after basically completing my own order multiple times over a two-plus hour timeframe. I guess I’ll try again later.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Google Launches Pixel 6 Family, Pixel Pass, More”

  1. lvthunder

    Is the storage of the Pro really 125GB or is that an error?

    I'll have to see the camera improvements to believe them. How is the camera supposed to know what color the person is?

  2. shameer_mulji

    The Google One Pass is a great way to do a smartphone subscription. Not bad for $55 / month for the Pixel 6 Pro.

  3. crunchyfrog

    I feel your pain, Paul. I screwed around for well over an hour before my order was accepted. Hard to believe that a company as big as Google can't seem to have a seamless user experience at checkout.

    Apple appears to be the only company that can get a proper checkout process done on launch day. They, of course, had issues in the past like this but fixed it long ago.

  4. pgiftos

    It took over an hour for my order to go through!

  5. perception7

    After a couple hours and multiple attempts, I was finally able to get my 512GB unlocked version ordered. What a mess, it better be worth it.

  6. JerryH

    And, as Google always does with each Pixel launch - they screwed up the purchase experience completely. This time the entire store was almost down and unusable. Click on the phone to pre-order and get a server error 500. Wait and click a few more times, finally get a pre-order button and it adds it to your cart. Try to check out and get one of several different messages: R013, R008, etc. Eventually after trying and trying it removes it from the cart because "it sold out" (apparently a few people succeeded in purchasing). After quite some time, I tried a different color that nobody wanted and wasn't sold out. Then you could get further. But it would still fail when trying to complete the purchase. I finally got an order through after a few hours. Some coworkers went through the same issues.

    How Google, with their resources, can bungle this every time is just unfathomable. And why they "sell out" instead of just allowing orders with increasingly long lead times for delivery like Apple manages to do is a complete mystery.

    • zeromus2003

      It does truly blow my mind how Google messed up the order process. Like many here, I started at 1pm Eastern and it literally took me to about almost 3pm before I could complete checkout!??! It was infuriating that a company as big as Google messed this up. I was about to say forget it and go with my carrier, but it did finally go through. I hope Google makes a statement about this or someone high up holds someone accountable b/c this frankly was extremely embarrassing for a company with huge infrastructure. Also to add insult to injury, my accpeted order pushed my delivery date, but I have heard that people would cancel their Nov orders and turn around and get a next week date! What the actual f!??! The whole thing really ticks me off!

  7. dietzeld

    Finally got order to go through, Google site apparently very busy. Pro 128 in sunny with sage case, power adapter, free buds, preferred care. and trade-in of 4a 5G. Color of phone doesn't matter much as its covered with a case, though I would have preferred white phone, but I do like sage color in general so case it is, which will match my Kindle and backpacking tent. Can't wait to hike and use the new camera.

  8. scovious

    Hmm... Spend $660 per year to skip ads on Youtube, and have Google Play pass? What even is that? Since Google's deductible for claiming a repair on a Pixel is minimum 130$, is it not more financially sound to skip Google's extraneous subscription service and literally buy a brand new phone if you break it? Seems that way to me.

  9. yoshi

    I stopped at Best Buy tonight and they already had them out on display. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. They are nice, but the build quality didn’t seem super premium, even on the Pro. They both just felt a bit flimsy . The software stuttered a bit but that could be blamed on their demo loop. I noticed the stutter most when leaving the demo mode. The best part though was the camera bump - it’s not nearly as big in person. I think most people worried about that will be pleasantly surprised.

  10. zeromus2003

    Am I the only person that can't wait for Paul and Brad's podcast this morning..... its going to echo ALL of my frustrations and bewilderment of Google'e HUGEEEEE ordering blunder. Can't wait!!!

  11. txag

    So from what I can tell, no Pixel so far turns out to be a high quality phone. What makes you think it will be different this time?

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