Google Pixel 6: rumours, leaks, specs and all of the news

Google’s Pixel handsets are some of the best smartphones money can buy. And unlike most of their rivals, they don’t come with crazy price tags. The most recent in the range, the Pixel 5, costs just £599 ($699, AU$999), which is very good value for such a well-specced handset.

The Pixel 5 launched at the end of last year, but already rumours are rumbling of a successor. It leaked recently that Google plans to launch a foldable phone at some point in the near future – could that be the Pixel 6? Or a separate device altogether?

Below, we’ll attempt to answer that as well as many other questions about the Pixel 6, such as what kind of specs it’ll have, how much it’ll cost and when it will launch. So let’s dive in and see what Google has in store.

Google Pixel 6: release date and price

It’s early days for the Pixel 6 – the Pixel 5 is only four months old, so we’re not expecting an official announcement until much later in the year. The firm always announces its Pixel phones in late September or early October, and we would expect this year to be no different. A launch then makes sense, allowing the phone to land on shop shelves just in time for the busy Christmas period.

Don’t believe us? Just look at the dates of Google’s past Pixel announcements.

So the smart money is on a launch event taking place at the end of September or beginning of October.

The price is harder to pinpoint. Google positioned the Pixel 5 as a much more affordable handset, giving it a price tag of just £599 ($699, AU$999). A similar pricing strategy was also adopted by Samsung for the Galaxy S21, which costs £769 ($799, AU$1249). So can we expect the Pixel 6 to follow suit?

Maybe, but it’s far from a dead cert. Google usually sells a bigger, higher-specced and more expensive variant of its Pixel phones. The most recent, the Pixel 4XL, costs £829 ($899, AU$1280). But the Pixel 5 was the first to not to be joined by an XL version. Google could keep to this strategy, and re-position the Pixel range as solely a mid-range proposition. Or it could enlarge the size of the standard Pixel and up the price. Or, of course, it could launch a Pixel 6 XL and keep the standard Pixel 6 as more affordable.

It all depends on what else Google has planned for this year. If it does launch a foldable phone – said to be codenamed “Passport” – it will undoubtedly have a higher price tag, which would legitimise keeping the Pixel 6 as a mid-range affair. But if the folding phone is pushed back to 2022 or beyond, Google could well spec out the next Pixel and charge more for it.

It also depends on Google’s strategy for pricing the Pixel 5 lower in the first place. Did it foresee the economic fallout from the global pandemic and reckon that people would be less willing (or less able) to spend big on a smartphone? Or did it admit to itself that it couldn’t challenge Apple and Samsung’s dominance in the high end and decide to make a play for the middle market instead? How it positions the Pixel 6 might reveal a lot about its market strategy for the future.

Google Pixel 6: specs

Google Pixel 6: rumours, leaks, specs and all of the news

(Image credit: Google)

The specs are a little tricky to call at this early stage, mainly because no leaks have revealed specs for the handset yet. But using our industry knowledge we can make some educated guesses.

For starters, Qualcomm recently launched its latest chipset, the Snapdragon 888. If Google wants to trick out the Pixel 6 with the best possible performance, it’ll likely opt for Qulcomm’s latest. But if it wants to keep it a mid-range device, it might use a less powerful processor, something like the successor to the 765G. This hasn’t actually been announced yet, but is widely expected to be called the 775G.

There’s also a rumour that Google is partnering with Samsung to develop its own range of chips. So there is a chance that the Pixel 6 could be powered by the first ever Google-made mobile chipset.

Even if Google does go the lower-specced route, we can still expect the handset to be 5G. The technology is becoming more and more common, and if Google hopes to convince people to buy and use its phone for years to come, 5G will be a necessity, even for a (relatively) more affordable handset.

Next up is the screen. High refresh rate displays are becoming all the rage with Android phones – and not just at the high end of the market. Indeed, Samsung is putting the tech into its mid-range phones. So we can probably expect the Pixel 6 to have either a 90Hz or 120Hz panel.

These refresh rates are better for rendering fast-moving content such as sports and games, meaning less blur.

At the moment, there are precious few leaks to go on in terms of hard specs, but we’re currently expecting the Pixel 6 to have same 6-inch screen size as the Pixel 5, with the same resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels.

Battery-wise, we’re expecting at least 4000mAh, matching the Pixel 5, and possibly more if Google opts for a bigger screen or more power-hungry processor.

Google Pixel 6: cameras

Google Pixel 6: rumours, leaks, specs and all of the news

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

The cameras have always been one of the Pixel range’s highlights. Indeed, we called the Pixel 5’s snapper a “class-leading camera”. So what can we expect from the Pixel 6?

We could see the return of the telephoto lens previously featured in the Pixel 4. This was dropped for the Pixel 5, but could make a welcome comeback, either as a replacement to the ultra wide lens, or as a third camera in the rear array.

We could also see some exciting tech in the front-facing camera. Namely, it could be built under the screen itself. This isn’t just hearsay – Google has patented the tech (via Patently Apple). An under-screen camera would mean no unsightly notch or ‘pinhole’ obscuring the display. Not only would the handset look much sleeker, it would also enhance our enjoyment of films, TV shows and games.

Google wouldn’t be the first with this tech – it’s already been seen in the ZTE Axon 20 5G. And just because Google has patented it, that doesn’t mean it will implement it in the Pixel 6. But it certainly makes it a possibility…

Google Pixel 6: design

Google couldn’t be accused of being stuck in its ways when it comes to its phone designs. The Pixel 5 features an aluminium body covered by a thin skin of bio-resin plastic to enable wireless charging. It won plaudits for its simple but stylish look, so we have no reason to think Google won’t stick with a similar design for the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6: verdict

Too much about the Pixel 6 remains unknown to make any kind of judgement right now. That’s not exactly surprising, seeing as we’re a good eight months away from its launch. But if Google’s previous efforts are anything to go by, and judging by the prevailing standards of the current Android competition, it will definitely be one to watch in the run-up to its launch this autumn.

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