Twist and turn the Pixel 5 however much you like; the fact remains it’s not a real flagship Android phone, which is what we’ve been expecting from every fall Google hardware launch event since the original Pixel. The departure from the Nexus branding marked a turning point in Google’s smartphone manufacturing ambitions, with Google looking to compete against the iPhones and Galaxy flagships of the world better than ever. The Pixel 5 was a notable exception in terms of performance. And while it was an affordable 5G phone, the kind of device that many buyers would appreciate during an unusual year, it wasn’t the most affordable 5G phone on the market. The pandemic hit in early 2020, well before Google unveiled the Pixel 5, but leaks in early 2020 already suggested the handset would not run on the Snapdragon 865 that powered the Galaxy S20 series.
A year later, Google plans to return to the previous order of things for the Pixel. We’ve already seen a few exciting Pixel 6 rumors and a series of renders, all suggesting that Google’s 2021 Pixels will be flagship devices. The latest Pixel 6 leak comes from a well-known insider, who delivered a few specific Pixel 6 spec details that indicate the phones will be the kind of real flagships we expect from Google.
Speaking on the Mobile Tech Podcast, Max Weinbach addressed recent Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro leaks. Weinbach reiterated some of the Pixel 6 rumors that we heard before. The new phones will launch in October alongside the Pixel Watch. Chip shortages might push the launch back to November.
The Pixel 6’s custom chip Whitechapel came up in the interview. The processor is a Google design, but Samsung will manufacture it. The chip will offer a significant performance boost, somewhere between the 2020 Snapdragon 865 and the 2021 Snapdragon 888. This means the Pixel 6 phones won’t match the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 in terms of speed, but the upgrade will still be significant. Weinbach said the custom design is all about artificial intelligence for Google, suggesting there’s a substantial focus in there on the NPU.
Aside from the custom NPU, the Pixel 6 phones will feature custom ISP chips, just like their predecessors. Aside from the custom ISP chip, the camera sensors should further improve camera photography. The larger Pixel 6 Pro will get a triple-lens camera, including a telephoto camera, for better zoom, as seen in recent renders.
Weinbach also said that there would be more space between the primary camera and the ultrawide camera on the back, so the primary sensor should be larger.
It’s not just the custom chip that will make the Pixel 6 a flagship device. The leaker said the handset would feature an under-display camera, just as rumors claimed a few months ago. The Pixel 6 Pro will pack a 120Hz QHD+ OLED screen and a 5,000 mAh battery, while the Pixel 6 will feature a 120Hz FHD+ OLED screen and slightly smaller 4,500 mAh. The display specs indicate the phone will have to feature high-end hardware that can support that sort of high-end screen experience.
Weinbach said that Google is “going all out” to make the Pixel 6 Pro a real flagship phone and that prices will be around $1,000, which is the expected price for a high-end smartphone these days.
As always, with leaks, things could change by October. But Pixel leaks usually turn out to be accurate, as Google has had an incredibly hard time containing them. The closer we get to the next Made by Google hardware event, the more we’ll know about the final Pixel 6 design, specs, and price points.
You can listen to the full Mobile Tech Podcast episode at this link.