Release Date, Price & Specs Rumours

The excellent Pixel 5 is Google’s current flagship phone, but time stands still for no device, so we look forward to what we can expect when its successor, the Pixel 6 as well as a Pixel 6 Pro.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential release date, price and the new specs that might appear for Google’s next flagship phones.

When will the Google Pixel 6 be released?

As the Google Pixel 5 is still relatively new, there has yet to be any confirmation from Google that a Pixel 6/6 Pro will even exist from Google itself. But, as the Pixel range seems to be going from strength to strength, we’re quite convinced that the yearly update to the line-up will take place in 2021.

Well, we have a sort of confirmation as 9to5Google has spotted various mentions of Google’s upcoming devices in the Android 12 Beta 1. Here’s the rundown from the code:

  • Barbet (Pixel 5a 5G) – G4S1M
  • Oriole (Pixel 6 family) – GR1YH
  • Raven (Pixel 6 family) – GF5KQ
  • Passport (Pixel foldable) – GPQ72

Usually, the new flagship Pixel arrives either right at the end of September or mid-October. For example, the Pixel 3 arrived on 18 October 2018, this was followed by the Pixel 4 which made its debut on October 15 2019, and was succeeded by the Pixel 5 on 30 September 2020.

We have a rumoured date of 11 June for the Pixel 5a but Google is unlikely to launch the two together. So, it looks very likely that the Pixel 6 will turn up in autumn/fall 2021.

Google announced the Android 12 Beta 1 at its I/O developer conference on 18 May stating that the OS would arrive in autumn/fall. This reinforces the thinking that the Pixel 6 will arrive at that time, being the flagship to ship pre-loading with the new version.

Here’s the timeline for Android 12’s release which implies September at the earliest.

Android 12 release timeline

How much will the Google Pixel 6 cost?

Pricing is a bit less reliable when looking at past releases. Back in 2018 the Pixel 3 came with a price tag set at £739/$799, but when the Pixel 4 came along its price was £669/$799. The cost of ownership dropped even lower with the Pixel 5, which you can buy at the time of writing for £599/$699.

Google Pixel 6 RRU

Google Pixel 6 RRU

Sadly, we don’t see this descending trend continuing, as Google seems to now have its pricing strategy in place. With the Pixel 4a at £349/$349, Pixel 4a 5G at £499/$499 and Pixel 5 at £599/$699, we think this how things will stay when the Pixel 6 arrives next year. Simply change the model numbers to fit the appropriate price band.

Interestingly, these tiers put the three devices directly up against the iPhone, which offers the iPhone SE at £399/$399, the iPhone XR at £499/$499 and iPhone 11 at £599/$599.

As for the Pixel 6 Pro we imagine it will be at least £100/$100 more than the regular 6. It’s anyone’s guess for the price on the champagne model (see below) if that turns out to be real. 

What about Google Pixel 6 design and specs?

Up until now Pixel 6 leaks have largely been about the processor but a huge reveal from Jon Prosser, who recently leaked the Pixel Watch design, shows us what the phone will look like. As usual, these renders (by Ian Zelbo) based on real photos to protect the source.

They show a regular Pixel 6 and a Pixel 6 Pro – yes, Google is finally ditching the ‘XL’ branding – with a radical new design. However, Max Weinbach from Android Police says “Pro name isn’t confirmed. Could be XL, Pro, Ultra, Plus, etc”

Pixel 6 design

Pixel 6 design

It appears Google is moving back to a glass design similar to the first three generations of Pixel with contrasting colours on either side of the very unusual camera bump. Prosser doesn’t have any specs but we can see the regular Pixel 6 has two rear cameras – presumably main and ultrawide – while the Pro model has a third lens.

At the front, the display has tiny bezels and a central punch-hole selfie camera. You’ll also notice that the rear fingerprint scanner is gone and has been replaced with an in-display sensor. Note that the software has been recreated from the images, too.

Pixel 6 Pro screen

Pixel 6 Pro screen

The colours are based on said images and show both with an orange top section similar to one version of the Pixel 4. The main back section on the regular Pixel 6 is white while the Pro has a sort of pale peach tone – Google’s quirky naming system might dub it something like ‘perfectly peach’.

Prosser also saw a polished champagne gold version of the Pro which Prosser says “almost looks like jewellery”.

Pixel 6 Pro champagne

Pixel 6 Pro champagne

Hold your horses on those colours though, as a freelancer for Android Police Max Weinbach claims that although the design is accurate, the colours are not. In a follow-up tweet, he says “Pixel Watch too”.

However, new photos from Rjey (via TechScoreNY) appear to show the Pixel 6 Pro in three colours, one of which matches Prosser’s renders. It looks like the orange option will be joined by a blue colourway and a grey/white option. 

They will supposedly be called Sorta Orange, Arctic Blue and Mostly Grey.

Since that Prosser leak, we now have additional renders of the Pixel 6 Pro along with some details. They come via OnLeaks posted on Digit who says the Pixel 6 Pro – he agrees with the Pro name – will get a 6.67in curved AMOLED display.

Pixel 6 Pro OnLeaks

Pixel 6 Pro OnLeaks

He also has some camera information, stating that the Pro will have a primary wide-angle camera and a periscope telephoto lens. The third camera is still unknown. In terms of dimensions, the Pro will be roughly 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm or 11.5mm if you include the camera bump.

Other smaller details include stereo speakers, in-sreen fingerprint scanner and wireless charging. It will also have “a couple of sensors housed in the camera module as well as a microphone unit”. As well as static renders, here’s the Pixel 6 Pro in video form.

OnLeaks has also provided new images of the regular Pixel 6 via 91Mobiles stating the phone will have a 6.1in flat screen along with an in-display fingerprint sensor and wireless charging. You can also check it out in video form here.

Pixel 6 OnLeaks

Pixel 6 OnLeaks

There’s not much else that we didn’t already know such as dual rear cameras, stereo speakers and a USB-C port. Dimensions will supposedly be 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm (11.8mm including camera bump).

One rumour that has been reported all across the tech press is that Google has been working closely with Samsung to design a customer processor that will make its debut in the Pixel 6.

This would allow Google to move away from any restraints it currently feels under Qualcomm’s processors and position it closer to Apple, which has been making its own chips for a few years now. Having that kind of control over how the phone works in both the hardware and software realms, could prove a huge breakthrough for the Pixel range.

Google has already dipped its toes in these waters, having designed custom chips for security (the Titan M) and image processing (Pixel Neural Core), so it’s a natural step to see the brain of the Pixel range making the conversion.

Pixel 6 Pro

Pixel 6 Pro

News of this is ramping up with 9to5Google reporting that the Pixel 6 phones – codenamed ‘Raven’ and ‘Oriole’ – will be part of a “Slider” platform which will also include new Chromebooks. While one will likely be the Pixel 6, the other could be a Pixel 5a 5G.

These will run on the GS101 “Whitechapel” chip (GS likely meaning Google Silicon) which will share Samsung Exynos design and architecture as well as some software components.

We’ve almost got confirmation of this homegrown chip as XDA has noticed a Google engineer has responded to someone talking about Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code mentioning the ‘P21’ (likely the Pixel 6) and ‘whitechapel’.

One thing we can predict is that the Pixel 6 will come with an Ultra Wideband chip and, combined with NFC, will support the new Digital Car Key feature in Android 12 allowing you to unlock a compatible vehicle with your phone.

Google said it will work with ‘select Pixel & Galaxy devices’ from fall (autumn). The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the only Android phone with this tech so far.

The cameras have become one of the main reasons for buying a Pixel in recent generations, but even though the Pixel 5 swapped a telephoto lens for an ultra-wide, it could be time for Google to bring new optics to the 2021 release.

For instance, the ultra-wide maxes out at 107 degrees, which is tighter than the 120 degrees that is now pretty much standard in that category. So, it would make sense for the Pixel 6 to compete head-to-head on this territory with a true ultra-wide.

Pixel 6 with Watch

Pixel 6 with Watch

One rumour, via GSMArena, suggests that Google will move the front camera on the Pixel 6 to a middle-alignment instead of having it in the corner. This matched up with Prossers renders and GSM also says it will be able to record 4K video.

One other first for the Pixel series might be an in-display fingerprint scanner. The second developer preview of Android 12 revealed a new code class labelled ‘UdfpsControllerGoogle’ – with ‘Udfps’ referring to ‘Under-display fingerprint scanner’. Again, this matches up with what Prosser has been shown.

This might not mean anything, but the code is found in the system path usually used for Pixel phones, suggesting that Google is prepping the software for an upcoming Pixel device, and not simply shoring up Android’s general support for the under-display tech.

We’re still many months away from the arrival of the Google Pixel 6, so anything could happen between now and then. If you want to keep an eye on the latest rumours regarding the phone, check back here regularly as we’ll be updating the article as news appear.

In the meantime, check out our review of the Google Pixel 5 and our roundup of the best Pixel 5 deals.

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