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Pixel 6 unveiled: Finally, a smartphone winner for Google

After three months of waiting, Google finally unveiled its newest lineup of Pixel smartphones at a virtual event on Tuesday. The tech giant announced two new handsets, including the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, along with a bunch of interesting feature updates at its fall Pixel launch event. Google also announced its first-ever in-house chipset Tensor, AI-powered smart features, and a bunch of extensive imaging capabilities along with security on their latest handsets at the event. Unlike past Google phones, the Pixel 6 is receiving a lot of buzz — and a lot of backing from Google.

Here is everything announced at the event

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

After months of speculation and rumors, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were finally unveiled. The headline feature of these new Pixel handsets — Google’s first attempt to make an ultra-high-end phone — is that both handsets are powered by Google’s very own Tensor chipset paired with Titan M2 security coprocessor. While the Pixel 6 offers 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM alongside 128GB/256GB of storage options, the Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, sports a larger 12GB of RAM paired with up to 256GB of onboard storage.

Google also showed off the capabilities of its new Tensor processor, which includes AI and ML-powered features for better voice recognition, live translation, better and more accurate text-to-speech capturing, and other image editing tools. Google also said that its new chipset is competitive with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processors in terms of the overall CPU and GPU performance.

The Pixel 6 sports a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a refresh rate of 90Hz, while the larger Pixel 6 Pro has a 120Hz 6.7-inch QHD+ display. Both handsets feature an always-on display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. Imaging on the Pixel 6 is bolstered by a dual-camera setup consisting of a 50 megapixels-wide camera paired with a 12 megapixels ultrawide camera. The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, has a triple camera setup adding a 48 megapixels telephoto lens on top of what the Pixel 6 offers. Both handsets have LDAF (laser detect auto-focus) sensors and are packed with AI-powered imaging and editing capabilities, which we will discuss later in this post.

Both these handsets run Android 12 with Material You design language out-of-the-box. These new Pixel handsets are also $100 cheaper than the previous Pixel 5 and are priced starting at $599 and $899 for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro respectively. Both handsets are available for pre-order now with general availability starting Oct. 28th.

Pixel Pass

Google also launched its Pixel Pass subscription service (although it didn’t announce it at the event). Pixel Pass bundles a Pixel 6 or a Pixel 6 Pro handset, an extended warranty for the device, YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, 200GB of Google One storage, and Google Play Pass. The new Pixel Pass also allows users to upgrade their Pixel handsets after two years. The Pixel Pass with Pixel 6 costs $45, while the Pixel Pass with Pixel 6 Pro costs $55. According to Google, the device balance will be paid off in two years with the Pixel Pass, and if the user decides to opt out of the Pixel Pass, they can pay off the remaining device balance to own the handset.

Google also mentioned that people opting for Google Fi, its cellular plan, will receive $5 off their monthly bill for the Pixel Pass subscription service.

AI and more

Google announced a ton of new AI and software-based features at the event. Google implemented Live Translate, which allows the Pixel 6 users to translate the texts as they type in real-time. According to the company, this feature doesn’t rely on the cloud and is made possible by the new Tensor chip on the Pixel 6 handsets. Moreover, Google announced that the Tensor chip also provides an added layer of security on these new handsets. It’ll work together with the Titan M2 chip in the phone to protect against malware and other potential attacks. These security features, along with Android 12, make the Pixel 6 a good choice for business and enterprise users.

Google announced a bunch of new imaging features, including its work with Real Tone. Google’s Real Tone tech is meant to accurately capture, render, and depict people’s skin tones. Google is also adding Magic Eraser to its new lineup of handsets, which will allow users to instantly select and delete an unwanted entity from the images. The Face Unblur, Motion mode, and Frequent faces are additional AI-powered features in the new Pixel 6 lineup.

Pixel and Snap Collaboration

Google also announced its latest partnership with Snapchat, where users can quickly access Snap’s camera by tapping the back of their Pixel 6 handsets. Although users will still have to unlock their phone to send the Snap, Google and Snapchat believe that it is the fastest way to access the Snap camera and can be quite a useful feature for social media enthusiasts.

After an unsuccessful previous year of Pixel handsets, every Android enthusiast was eagerly awaiting this year’s Pixel smartphones. Although we do not know the real-time performances of these new Pixel 6 devices, they are very impressive, feature-wise. The subtle design elements, the Material You UI of Android 12, the customizations possible on Android, and the hardware-software duo of these new Pixel handsets are the major aspects that set them apart and on top of many other smartphones in the market. While Google has yet to make a big impact in the smartphone market with its past phones, it is revving up a major advertising and marketing push and betting that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will attract Android users from Samsung and, maybe, lure iPhone users into switching.

What are your opinions on these new handsets?

Sukesh Mudrakola

Sukesh is a Technology Consultant and Project Manager by profession and an IT enterprise and tech enthusiast by passion. He holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering and has filled in various roles such as Developer, Analyst, and Consultant in his professional career. He holds expertise in mobile and wearable technologies and is a Certified Scrum Master.

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