Update: Added display and camera information and updated colors to more accurately reflect current information.
In a surprise appearance, Google just revealed much more about its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones. On The Keyword, the company’s Senior Vice President of hardware, Rick Osterloh, discussed its custom silicon chip, “Whitechapel” and how it would debut on the new flag flip devices later this year. Officially named “Tensor SoC” this system on a chip is basically a miniaturized and portable version of the cloud supercomputer infrastructure (TPUs) found in Google’s data centers and will be responsible for handling all of the Ai and machine learning work on the phones. This will serve to take much of the stress off of the CPU and GPU, leaving them to operate more core functionality and ultimately, making these phones faster – or so that’s the goal.
Rick states that with Ai being the future of Google’s innovation work, the chip was designed to overcome the problems it’s faced in the past with fully realizing this vision for intelligent computing on the go. Tensor will be the company’s first foray into making its own chipset, and that’s incredibly exciting!
In addition to discussing Tensor, Rick also released some new information regarding the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – details we’d normally have to wait until later this year to get! The Verge’s Dieter Bohn had some hands-on time with both phones, and his initial impressions were extremely positive. He says that they’re more premium and nicer than any Pixel phone has been in recent memory. At one point in his video, he mentions that they feel as though Google went all out and made a high-quality Huawei phone. Based on the camera hump on the back and his words here, I imagine it’s going to take a lot of cues from the Nexus 6P – a phone made by Huawei in cooperation with Google.
Interestingly, the two handhelds have already made an appearance on the Google Store with a brand new, gorgeous landing page. Because of this, we now know that the Pixel 6 will come in a polished aluminum Red/Sand, Blue/Green, or Grey/Black finish and the Pixel 6 Pro will come in a matte aluminum Grey/Light Grey/ Sand/Yellow, or Grey/Black finish.
Pixel 6 will feature a 6.4″ FHD+ 90Hz display, whereas the Pro will feature a 6.7″ QHD+ 120Hz display, though both will have fingerprint readers under them. Regarding cameras, Pixel 6 will have a standard camera with ultrawide, and the Pro will have 4x telephoto zoom in addition.
Lastly, the company’s much-talked-about Material You design language will breathe new and exciting life into Google’s Pixel line of phones – new adaptive color themes that make the devices match your unique, personal style. Many apps across the Google ecosystem are already gaining Material You redesigns in preparation for the crowning jewel – the phone hardware itself, which is due to release later this Fall.
Until then, however, we have yet to see any pricing or specifications officially announced – though it will likely be over a thousand dollars with various storage options that may differ between the two. The jury is also still out regarding how effective the Tensor SoC will be in transforming the user experience on a day-to-day basis. Despite all of this, I can hardly contain my excitement – Google is finally stepping forward and blazing its own path instead of playing catch-up with or copying its competitors. With its own chipset and a vision for how Pixel can gain its own identity and finally steal some market share – which will be a long path forward according to the recent Alphabet earnings call – the future for Google’s hardware looks bright.