Google has struggled to gain traction with its Pixel line of smartphones. In 2020, it scaled back the hardware, launching only one “premium” Pixel with worse specs than its predecessor. If the latest leak is accurate, Google is about to make up for that decision and push the envelope. The new Pixel 6 renders, courtesy of noted leaker Jon Prosser, show off a radically different design with new camera hardware and maybe even custom Google chips.
Let’s address the elephant in the room here: The camera hump is enormous and weird. It’s more of a visor that stretches across the back of the phone, not unlike the Nexus 6P from 2015. It’s a big, distinctive feature, but I don’t hate it. Most phones with good cameras have giant camera modules these days, and most of them make the phone unstable when placed on a flat surface. At least this alleged Google design would lay nice and flat.
The leak features a Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (names unclear), the smaller of which has two camera sensors. The larger phone has three, a first for Pixel phones. That suggests we’ll see at least some new camera hardware this year. Google has been sticking with the same old camera hardware for the last few generations, relying on its software to make up for it. That was a safe bet until this year when Samsung brute-forced its way to the Android photography crown with the S21 Ultra’s quad-camera array.
The colorway in these leaks is also very striking, but I’d wager that’s much more speculative than the design. The render features a coral/orange color reminiscent of the Pixel 4. There are actually three different colors on each phone, which is a fun look. I would not be surprised, though, if the genuine article is less multicolored. That is, of course, assuming these phones are legitimate — we don’t know for sure, but several popular leakers seem to think so.
HERE YOU GO!
Exclusive first look at the Google Pixel 6!https://t.co/i3puYhgrXI pic.twitter.com/lWssshpA8l
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 13, 2021
This would be a good time for Google to go big with its Pixel hardware. For months, there have been hints that Google is preparing to launch its in-house smartphone chips, codenamed Whitechapel. The move to custom ARM-based “GS101” could help Google boost battery life, performance, and security. Its partnership with Samsung could also help Google ensure it has enough components at a time when even Samsung itself is canceling devices due to the semiconductor shortage.
Whatever form the 2021 Pixel phones take, we probably won’t see them until October. That’s when all the previous flagship Pixels have arrived, and there’s no reason to expect this year will be any different. More leaks will most likely accumulate over the summer, either supporting or refuting this wild design shift.
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