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Pixel 6 leak teases big camera improvements for Google’s next flagship

Published May 28th, 2021 7:31AM EDT
Pixel 6 Rumors
Image: Google

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The Pixel 6 series is easily one of the most exciting Android phones set to launch in the second half of the year, given the recent leaks. Google has planned a radical redesign for the handset, two leakers claimed. The Pixel 6 will feel familiar, although the design is unlike anything seen before on a Pixel handset. We’re still looking at a hole-punch all-screen on the front, which is the expected design for any Android flagship nowadays. On the back, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will get a massive camera bump running horizontally near the top of the phone from side to side. The Pixel 6 Pro will be the first Pixel ever to feature a triple-lens camera system, while the Pixel 6 will pack two cameras on the back.

The camera experience will remain one of the phone’s highlights, as with previous Pixel generations. A previous Pixel 6 specs leak further emphasized what we’ve already suspected. The significant redesign will be paired with high-end hardware, including Google’s custom processor. Codenamed Whitechapel, the chip’s purpose is to bring over an improved chip for AI features and Google’s next-gen ISP processor that will be involved in the next-gen camera experience. A brand new leak details other exciting upgrades coming to the Pixel 6 handsets.

Leaker Max Weinbach said on a podcast a few days ago that Google and Samsung are working together on the Whitechapel design. The chip is set to offer performance in between last year’s Snapdragon 865 and the Snapdragon 888. The leaker said the custom design is all about artificial intelligence for Google, suggesting the chip’s NPU will see a major upgrade. Like their predecessors, the Pixel 6 will feature custom ISPs.

Pixel 6 Pro
Pixel 6 Pro render shows the phone’s curved display and triple camera lens. Image source: and @OnLeaks

The leaker also noted that the Pixel 6 Pro would feature a telephoto camera, a first for Pixel handsets. He added that there seems to be more space between the primary camera and the ultrawide lens, indicating that the main camera will be larger.

A different leaker that goes by the name @FrontTron on Twitter offered additional details about the Pixel 6 camera. The person said the Pixel 6 will feature a new gimbal-like steady camera mode. If it’s accurate, that’s already an exciting camera upgrade for the handset, as it should improve optical stabilization for both photos and videos.

The Pixel will feature a bigger Samsung sensor, although it’s unclear what that means. The leaker noted that Google will use the new custom NPU and ISP chips to deliver camera performance better than the Pixel 5. That’s the kind of detail anyone could guess about a next-gen Pixel handset, however. Google has been upgrading the camera experience every year, relying on its custom chips and AI to improve the quality of Pixel photos.

Finally, the leaker says that “big improvements” are coming to video. While Google has challenged the iPhone when it comes to camera performance in the past few years, the iPhone still beats the Pixel when it comes to video recording performance. However, the leaker did not specify any camera hardware details.

Well-known Samsung leaker Ice Universe posted a cryptic camera-related tweet. As seen above, a 50-megapixel Isocell camera is coming soon. The leaker likely refers to an unreleased Samsung phone, not the Pixel. But he didn’t specify what models will get the new sensor. Regardless of the Google-Samsung partnership for Pixel 6 parts supply, Samsung will launch several new phones of its own in the second half of the year, including the new Galaxy Z Fold 3.

While @FrontTron’s leak above can’t be confirmed at this time, it’s likely the Pixel 6’s full specs will leak long before the expected October launch event. Google has never been able to keep Pixel secrets for too long.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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