October is the month of pumpkin spice, swirling leaves and Google Pixel releases. But right now we’re still in the month of, sunscreen and swirling rumors. Specifically, rumors about the Pixel 6, Google’s next flagship phone. We expect the new addition to Google’s lineup to arrive sometime in the middle of October, given the release timing of its previous handsets.
made a splash when it was unveiled almost five years ago, but since then, the search giant’s foray into mobile devices has been inconsistent. Last year’s received high marks for its cameras, but you’d expect from a flagship smartphone, especially for the price. CNET’s Lynn La called it “ .” Compare that to the , and .
The question remains to be seen whether Google will live up to the original’s legacy with the release of the Pixel 6 or. Until we catch an official glimpse of the rumored phone, let’s go over everything we’ve heard about the Pixel 6 so far. We’ll update this story as new rumors and leaks come to light.
Read more: Here are all theand , too.
Release date: Pixel 6 will probably be here in October
Based on speculation alone, we have a pretty good idea of when Google will release the Pixel 6. Google has unveiled a new Pixel phone in October every year since 2016 — with the exception of last year’s, which was . But 2020 was an exceptional year , including .
Google’s Pixel release dates usually follow a similarly predictable pattern, putting phones for sale within a week or two of being announced. Thus, we’d expect to see the Pixel 6 both unveiled and released within the month of October, 2021.
Thecould throw a wrench in Google’s plans, pushing the Pixel 6 release into November or later. But right now we’d put our money on October. Given the unpredictability of the , it remains unclear whether Google will announce its new smartphone at a live or virtual event.
Name: Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL… or Pro?
Unlikeand , Google has been very consistent with its phone nomenclature. The was followed by the , then the , etc. so it wouldn’t be too radical to assume that 2021’s model will be christened the Pixel 6.
Where some uncertainty does enter the equation, however, is with the higher-end variant. Google has traditionally released an XL model alongside its baseline handset: Theand , and , and so on. Last year’s was the first without an accompanying XL version. (The company also introduced a midrange line in 2019 with the and , followed by the and in 2020. We expect to see a Pixel 5A in 2021 as well, likely before the Pixel 6).
So will there be a Pixel 6 XL? Maybe. Or maybe it’ll be a Pixel 6 Pro, or a Pixel 6 Ultra. Or maybe the Pixel 6 will also debut unaccompanied. Rumors about a Pixel 6 Pro began when leaker Jon Prosser debuted renders depicting the “Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro” in May. Prosser’s renders were purportedly based on actual images of the phones, released as renders to protect his source’s identity. Tipster Max Weinbach, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about the new name, and when Google accidentally (maybe?) included the name “Pixel 6 XL” in a form meant for mobile game developers, he tweeted an I-told-you-so.
Price: Pixel 6 could cost the same as Google’s last flagship
Cost is another aspect of the Pixel 6 that we haven’t heard many whispers about yet. Last year’smade some compromises to get the launch price down to $699, making it more of a midrange phone than its predecessors, the and , which both launched at $799. It’s likely that Google picks up where the Pixel 5 left off and keeps the price (and specs) in line with last year’s offering.
Judging from the specs leaks we’ve seen so far (more on that below), a Pixel 6 price tag that more or less matches the Pixel 5’s would make sense. And it also makes sense that Google would want to go after this segment of the market, with rivals also releasing similar price-conscious handsets recently — theand , for instance. And if the Pixel 6 XL (or Pixel 6 Pro) is real, we could be looking at a more high-end price tag for that model to match the higher-end specs.
Design and colors: Google might give the Pixel 6 a makeover
So far there have been two major Pixel 6 renders leaked, both of which suggest that Google’s next flagship will be undergoing a significant redesign. Among the changes are a centered hold-punch selfie camera (compared with the off-center front camera on last year’s model), thinner bezels all around, an under-display fingerprint scanner, curved display, and, most notably, a maximalist camera bump that juts out and spans the entire width of the phone.
Prosser’s renders show a black camera bump with a two-toned backing with either a vibrant orange or more neutral champagne stripe across the top, though it’s possible this ends up being closer to Google’s “Not Pink” color, which is . Weinbach also mentioned a silver, green and black color option in a subsequent rumor.
A follow-up render from @OnLeaks showed a similar design to Prosser’s, but with a slightly larger chin. According to this leak, as reported by Digit, the Pixel 6 will feature a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, with the Pixel 6 XL (or Pro) going up to 6.67 inches.
Camera: What’s up with Pixel 6’s selfie camera?
Earliest rumors about the Pixel 6’s camera setup included speculation that Google might upgrade to an under-display selfie camera, nixing the somewhat-intrusive hole-punch style of its most recent phones. This rumor is based on a patent filed by Google that appeared not to have a visible front camera, so the alternative interpretation would be no front-facing camera whatsoever. Considering the renders we’ve seen since that show a centered hole-punch front camera, we’re guessing this one is not going to come true for the Pixel 6.
Speaking of the selfie camera, 9to5google reported some interesting implications in March, based on code examined in an upgrade to Google’s camera app. Takeaways include a corroboration of the centered hole-punch theory (with a redesigned status bar that shifts the clock to the left), and support for 4K video.
But what about the rear cameras? Based on renders alone, we can assume the Pixel 6 will include two rear cameras, with the 6 XL/Pro sporting three. Renders also show an unknown sensor above the flash. Prosser released a full spec sheet for the Pixel 6 and XL/Pro, which alleges that both variants will include a 50MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP ultra-wide, with the larger phone also boasting a 48MP telephoto lens.
A July report indicated that Google camera app code suggested a possible Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra., which means its camera setup could include a periscope-style telephoto lens. If true, the Pixel 6’s optical zoom capability would be on par with
We’ve also heard whispers about improved stabilization, with a gimbal-like steady-cam mode which would result in “big improvements in video.” We saw what a , which CNET’s Sareena Dayaram called “buttery smooth.”
Finally, Google announced improvements to its camera software for “” that work for a variety of skin tones. This upgrade includes adjustments to the phone’s auto white balance algorithm.
Specs and features: Whitechapel chip and everything else Pixel 6 could have
Rumored new features to the Pixel 6 lineup include an under-screen fingerprint scanner, replacing the rear-mounted sensor of the Pixel 5, potential wireless charging, and dual stereo speakers. Perhaps the most intriguing Pixel 6 rumor, however, is the buzzy which would be made by Google itself instead of Qualcomm. According to 9to5google, the Whitechapel chip is a collaboration between Google and Samsung, making the house-made chip similar to Samsung’s Exynos processors.
Below are all of the rumored Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL/Pro specs we’ve heard so far. In the meantime, here’s how to decide between a, , and . Plus, , and what we think of the .
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL rumored specs
|Pixel 6||Pixel 6 XL/Pro|
|Rear camera setup||50MP (Wide) + 12MP (Ultra wide)||50MP (Wide) + 48MP (Tele) + 12MP (Ultra wide)|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB||128GB / 256GB / 512GB|
|OS||Android 12||Android 12|