Google’s Pixel 6 launch event was far bigger than expected. Not only did Google unveil two affordable flagships with killer new features, but it also gave us a closer look at its Tensor chip, a new processor that has Qualcomm tweeting passive-aggressive memes. It also launched Pixel Pass, Google’s answer to Apple One, and began the official Android 12 rollout.
Here’s a rundown of everything Google revealed at the Pixel 6 launch event.
Flagships at Reasonable Prices: The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
With a starting price of $600, the new Pixel 6 already appears to be the best phone money can buy. It provides flagship-level performance as well as outstanding camera quality thanks to a new 50MP sensor and enhanced AI capabilities in the Tensor chip. Not only that, but it has a slew of standout features, such as Live Translate and a Face Unblur photo editing tool, and its voice-to-text algorithm is faster and more accurate than any other Android phone.
The new Pixel 6 Pro is a small yet significant upgrade to the Pixel 6. It costs $900 and expands the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch display to a whopping 6.7 inches. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate (the Pixel 6 only has 90Hz) and a 48MP telephoto lens.
The Pixel 6 Pro also has a larger battery than the Pixel 6, though Google claims that both devices will have 24-hour battery life. The company claims that with Extreme Battery Saver enabled, you can get up to 48 hours of battery life, though we haven’t had a chance to test this claim.
Pre-orders for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are now open.
Goodbye, Snapdragon, and hello, Tensor.
Google, as one of the world’s largest AI companies, is constantly developing cutting-edge software to improve voice recognition, language translation, and computational photography. However, Google claims that previous Pixel releases’ Qualcomm Snapdragon processors “hampered” its software.
There is only one solution to this problem: Google built its Tensor processor to replace the Snapdragon. Tensor is a game-changing chip that takes several steps to improve AI performance on mobile systems, unlocking a slew of new features on the Pixel 6, including quick Live Translate, faster voice-to-text, and enhanced computational photography for better photos than ever before.
Tensor’s impact on the smartphone market, however, maybe the most revolutionary aspect of the technology. Smartphone makers who are tired of working with Qualcomm may be inspired to create their chips (or pay for Tensor), potentially breaking Qualcomm’s stranglehold on Android devices.
Google’s timing is impeccable in this case. Apple just announced the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, two processors that outperform Intel. It appears that we are in the midst of a tidal shift among device manufacturers—rather than cooperating with Qualcomm and Intel, they are attempting to jump ship. It’s quite exciting!
Pixel Pass: Google’s Ultimate Subscription Service
Speaking of Apple, the new Pixel Pass subscription package has a familiar feel to it. The Pixel Pass, like Apple One, includes all of Google’s killer subscription services, as well as a new Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro.
Pixel Pass starts at $45 per month for a Pixel 6, or $55 for a Pixel 6 Pro. Everything included with Pixel Pass is as follows:
- YouTube Premium: No ads and background play while using other apps.
- YouTube Music Premium provides ad-free, uninterrupted listening experience.
- Google One gives you 200GB of cloud storage across all of Google’s services, including Photos and Drive.
- Google Play Pass: Get free access to hundreds of games with no ads.
- Preferred Care: Hassle-free device repairs and accident coverage.
- Google Store Discounts: Get exclusive discounts on Google Store products.
Your Pixel Pass subscription could save you up to $294 in total. It’s similar to financing a new phone, except you get a ton of cool perks!
Just keep in mind that this program will bind you for some time. If you cancel Pixel Pass before your phone is paid off, Google says you’ll have to pay the remainder up front (which will not include any discounts you received with your Pixel Pass subscription).
Android 12 is now available for select Pixel phones.
Finally, Google is releasing Android 12 for a limited number of Pixel phones. The update includes a slew of new features, the most notable of which is the stunning Material You design, which draws theme colors from your wallpaper. Even though it began rolling out to other phones on October 4th, it’s nice to see this update arrive on Pixel devices today.
Here is a list of all the phones that can be updated to Android 12 today:
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
- Pixel 4a
- Pixel 4a 5G
- Pixel 5
- Pixel 5a
The Android 12 update should be delivered automatically. If you can’t wait and need it right away, go to Settings and select “Check for Update.”