(Pocket-lint) - Google is rumoured to be working on a couple of smartphones, including the Pixel 5a 5G, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Two codenames have surfaced for Pixel 6 models - Oriole and Raven - with model numbers GR1YH and GF5KQ respectively.
There are plenty of rumours surrounding the Pixel 5a 5G, which we have covered in a separate feature, and we've also covered off the Pixel 6 Pro in a separate feature too but here we are focusing on everything we have heard so far about the Pixel 6.
Release date and price
- October 2021
- From £599/$699
The Google Pixel 6 isn't expected until the latter half of 2021. At the moment, there's no suggestion of the release date, but previous Google release patterns would suggest October 2021 would be a good month to pencil in for now. Google said "fall" during its I/O developer conference plenty of times, but it didn't offer any more details.
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.
- Under-display front camera?
- Change to rear design
- Pro model
Renders of the Google Pixel 6 have appeared online, claimed to have been designed from images of the real model. They show a dramatic redesign from previous Pixels, with a large camera housing on the rear spreading across the width of the phone, while the front of the device has a centralised punch hole camera, very slim bezels and a flat display. These renders were supported by further renders of the standard from another reliable leaker.
The renders 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. It would be a change from the rear physical fingerprint sensor on previous Pixels, but if the camera does span the back, it would be an obvious move.
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.
The renders show bright and bold colour options for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, with bright orange and pale orange so it looks like Google is going for a total refresh if the renders are accurate. Bolder colour asthetics also seem to be a part of Android 12, so both hardware and software might be pulling in the same direction.
- 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-own chip
- UWB technology
- 5G connectivity
Rumours suggest Google is working on its own system-on-chip, internally called Whitechapel. It's said the company could be working with Samsung on the processor and it's claimed it 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.
Of course, if this isn't the case then Google is likely to offer a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset under the hood of the Pixel 6. The succeeding chip to the Pixel 5's 765G processor is the Snapdragon 780G, but at the moment, nothing is clear. Previous to the Pixel 5, Pixel devices had the flagship Qualcomm Snadragon processor, which is currently the 888.
So far, there is no word on RAM or storage options for the Pixel 6, though 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 5000mAh, which is a good step up from the Pixel 5.
- 4K video recording from front
- Pixel 6: Dual rear
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.
Based on the leaked renders, the Pixel 6 will have a dual camera on the back, while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a triple rear camera, with the Pro model possibly adding a periscope telephoto lens. It's been said there could be a 50-megapixel main camera and an ultra wide-angle camera.
Other rumours relating to cameras have said the 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.
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— Tron (@FrontTron) May 26, 2021
Gimbal like steady cam mode
Bigger Samsung sensor, Google custom NPU and ISP -> better than pixel 5
Big improvements in video
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.