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Pixel 6 – last chance for Google’s flagship – hopefully it works

OPINION: The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are official and Google has decided to tease their 2021 devices heavily a few months before the duo’s actual release date.

The move goes against what we usually see in the industry, where it’s usually the first time (besides leaks) that we hear official details about a new phone at major events.

This bizarre but highly anticipated move actually makes a lot of sense to Google and just shows how important the Pixel 6 is to the future of its mobile business.

Unlike other brands, Google doesn’t really have a current flagship whose sales will plummet due to this ad. The Pixel 5 is a great phone, but its goal has always been to rank among the best mid-range phones, with the Pixel 4a series in our guide to the best cheap phones.

If Apple had announced the iPhone 13 in this way a few months before release, the result would have been iPhone 12 sales.

The bizarre release aside, the move seems like a good one and marks the Pixel 6 and its Pro counterpart as two very important phones for Google and perhaps the reboot the series needs.

I was not the only person who thought that after leaving the flagship space last year, Google would likely focus on more affordable devices from then on. However, it seems like the exact opposite is happening – for the first time a Google Pixel device is pushing forward.

This Pixel 6 looks like Google is actually trying with its flagship phone and chasing the likes of Samsung and Apple for some market share.

By developing its own Tensor SoC (rather than just using an off-the-shelf component from Qualcomm), Google will have much more control over aspects such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and camera processing.

Google has used its own companion chips before, but this is the first time the company has split from Qualcomm entirely.

This internal chip can also make a huge difference in what Android phones often encounter – software updates. A Pixel device that comes with more than five years of iPhone updates could give Google a real edge.

Apart from the Tensor SoC, another aspect of the Google Pixel 6 detailed in the company’s latest announcement was the rather unique rear panel design.

Previous Pixel devices have always had a rather understated design. We had some nice colors, but real phones were standard, with no real design finesse to make them stand out. This has really changed with the Pixel 6.

Pixel 6 Pro main camera

The Pixel 6 has this Robo-Cop style visor on the back that houses a variety of camera sensors. It stands out right away, and I can’t say that for any other Pixel I’ve reviewed.

In fact, it looks like Google took inspiration from its older Pixel and Nexus devices and created the perfect Google phone. The camera module has the scent of the Nexus 6P and Pixel 2, while the orange variant has the Pixel 4 branding all over the place.

Google Pixel 6 portfolio snapshot

While the initial discovery might sound like potential, there are still a number of key details we don’t know about the Pixel 6.

How fast will this Tensor chip be in CPU and GPU? Previous rumors suggested this would come in just below the top technology from Qualcomm and Apple.

Google hasn’t released any specific specs for the camera either. There may be a 50MP sensor on the back, rumor has it, but we’ll have to wait to see what happens.

Google Tensor Image
Tensor SoC from Google

But even with these unknowns, everything Google has revealed so far about the Pixel 6 series is very encouraging to me. The potential of the chip, the unique design, and the fact that Google appears to be aiming to finally create a Pixel that can intrigue its competitors with better phones.

Add to that the perspective of an Android phone with a lifespan that matches the iPhone, and people will be in awe.

If Google puts a lot of marketing into the phone and manages to make it a mainstream product, then the Pixel series has a bright future. If it just turns out to be a great phone that no one is buying, and the series continues in relative obscurity, then that could very well be the end. I really hope this is not the case.

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