Google Pixel 6 release date, rumours, features, specs and news

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(Pocket-lint) - Google is working on a couple of smartphones that will be revealed in full later this year. The company has officially teased the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, offering some detail as to what we can expect.

We've covered off the Pixel 6 Pro in a separate feature but here we are focusing on everything we have heard and know so far about the Pixel 6. 

Release date and price

  • 19 October 2021 unveiling?
  • From £599/$699

Google has confirmed the Pixel 6 will "debut this fall", though that's all the official information we have for now. Previous Google release patterns would suggest October 2021 and the date of 19 October has been suggested for a Made by Google event, with a general on sale date of 28 October.

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.

For reference, 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

Google itself revealed official images of the upcoming Pixel 6 from the rear and the design matches previous leaked renders. There is a dramatic redesign from previous Pixels, with a large camera housing on the rear spreading across the width of the phone. Google said this is because the camera has been redesigned and no longer fits into the square camera housing we saw on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5.

While Google didn't show off the front of the device - it had to leave something to the imagination right? - the leaked renders from various sources show a centralised punch hole camera, very slim bezels and a flat display for the Pixel 6. 

The renders also 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. The physical rear fingerprint sensor found on previous Pixels is also not present in the official images of the Pixel 6 from Google, so it would seem this move to an under-display option is likely.

Jon Prosser x RendersbyIan

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.

Google has said the Pixel 6 will have a matte finish and the official images released show it off in an orange/red, light blue/green and black/grey colour options.

Display

  • Pixel 6: 6.4-inch, Full HD+
  • Under-display fingerprint scanner
  • 120Hz refresh rate

The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch display but rumours have suggested the Pixel 6 will be slightly larger at 6.4-inches. It's said to be a flat display, rather than curved like the Pixel 6 Pro is said to be coming with.

Rumours have also claimed it will have a Full HD+ resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate. HDR support is also expected.

Hardware and specs

  • Google Tensor chip
  • 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage 
  • UWB technology
  • 5G connectivity

Google has confirmed working on its own system-on-chip, called Tensor. The company has said it has been working on the chip for four years and security is said to be at the heart of it, with a new security core and Titan M2. Google the Pixel 6 will have "the most layers of security in any phone."  

Previous rumours have said the chip could offer a similar performance to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 700 series. There's also claims it will have raw performance equivalent to between the Snapdragon 865 and 888 though and it's claimed to have a Neural Processing Unit and Image Signal Processor inside.

In terms of other specs, there is said to be 8GB RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB storage for the Pixel 6.

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.

Battery capacity has been rumoured as 4614mAh and there could potentially be support for 23W wireless charging.

Cameras

  • 4K video recording from front
  • Pixel 6: Dual rear (50MP+12MP)
  • 8MP front 

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

Google's official images of the Pixel 6 confirm a dual camera on the rear, while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a triple rear camera. It's been said there could be a 50-megapixel main camera - which could be the ISOCELL GN1 sensor revealed by Samsung in 2020 - and a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera on the Pixel 6, though that's not confirmed as yet. All we know officially is that there is an improved camera system.

Other rumours relating to cameras have said the suggested 8-megapixel front camera could support 4K video recording and video recording overall will be improved compared to the Pixel 5. There's also talk of a larger Samsung sensor on board and a gimbal-like camera mode.

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.

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

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

31 Aufust 2021: 19 October date suggested for Made by Google event

A reliable leaker has suggested that the Pixel 6 will be available from 28 October, suggesting a launch event on 19 October.

31 August 2021: 23W Pixel Stand leaks

A retailer listing has revealed a 23W Pixel Stand, suggesting that the Pixel 6 might support this faster charging rate.

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13 August 2021: Google Pixel 6 hint reveals that camera system could feature a 50MP sensor made by Samsung

A teardown of the Google Camera app has hinted that the Pixel 6 will feature a 50-megapixel sensor developed by Samsung.

2 August 2021: Google confirms Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, powered by Google Tensor

Google confirmed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in a blog post, detailing the design and the new hardware the devices will run on when they launch in the fall. 

13 July 2021: Google Pixel 6 and 6 XL names appear in developer form

Following the start of this year's Google for Games Developer Summit, where new tools for Android game developers were revealed, the Pixel 6 and, interestingly, the Pixel 6 XL both appeared on a form for a new game mode API, spotted by XDA Developers.

9 July 2021: Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro specs revealed in new leak 

Jon Prosser published a number of missing specs for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, including RAM, storage and battery details. 

28 May 2021: More Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro camera details leak out

Leaker FrontTron claimed on Twitter that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro would have a gimbal-like steady cam mode, bigger Samsung sensor and big video recording improvements.

Pixel 6 stuff

Gimbal like steady cam mode
Bigger Samsung sensor, Google custom NPU and ISP -> better than pixel 5
Big improvements in video

— Tron (@FrontTron) May 26, 2021

25 May 2021: More Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 5a 5G details revealed in leak

Max Weinbach claimed on a podcast that the Whitechapel SoC will offer raw performance in between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and 888 and it will have a Neural Processing Unit and Image Signal Processor inside. 

He also said the orange model would be more peach than pink and a green, black and silver model was being worked on too.

24 May 2021: Google Pixel 6 takes its turn in a stunning design leak

Leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer followed up his Pixel 6 Pro renders with some renders of the Pixel 6, coupled with some extra information.

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.

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.

Now that the embargo has lifted, here's my running thread of changes I've found in Android 12 Developer Preview 1.

— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021

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. Editing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 5 May 2021.

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