Ask me a few months ago and I tell you I’m not entirely sure Google is releasing a new Pixel device in the second half of 2021. I wasn’t overly convinced the company was going to keep pumping money into its smartphone business, as Google has a history of cutting bait and headed back to the dock when things aren’t panning out overly well. However, it appears I took the lack of Pixel device leaks and news as a sign of weakness, as now, we have seen renders, we have a sense of what silicon will power these devices, and we know what OS will be featured. And honestly, I’ve never been more excited for a Google Pixel phone.
Before I get too far into the future, I want to discuss the past. What led me to think there could be no Pixel 6 was the overall lack of excitement concerning the Pixel 5. There’s always going to be hardcore Pixel fans, but from the gauging I’d do on social media, the Pixel 5 didn’t seem to resonate with the majority of Android fans. The same went for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. While both the Pixel 4 phones and Pixel 5 can be considered good phones, they simply aren’t all that exciting. This is not a knock, just facts. With Google missing two years in a row, I was worried for the Pixel 6. With Google’s competition only getting tougher, it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit to see Google wind down its position and focus on other things.
Now that you know why I was worried, let’s talk about why I’m excited. And yes, I’m really, really excited.
These Renders Hit Different
These Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro renders have sparked something inside of me. I’m not trying to be corny, but over the past few years, we’ve seen all Android smartphone hardware essentially follow trends and morph into the same thing. Phones these days all have big screens, camera cutouts, and a grouping of rear cameras. How a company chooses to lay these things out is the only difference. For example, Samsung did a great job with the design of the Galaxy S21 lineup. Those are gorgeous phones. OnePlus? Not so much. The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are pretty boring to my eyes.
These new and completely unofficial Pixel 6 renders are just so damn funky that I don’t even know what to think. That’s what excites me. This sense of something so different that I don’t even know how it’ll work. Take the backside camera hump. How am I supposed to properly wirelessly charge the device on a flat surface with that hump? Did Google design a sweet magnetic charger for it, similar to what Apple has for the iPhone 12? Is the hump even that humpy? And how will I get that Humpback Phone* (*trademarked) into my pocket? I have no idea, but I’m ready to try. It’s something different and that’s cool. I was getting really bored with Android hardware, so this is a breath of fresh air.
Updated Camera Sensor, Finally
The general belief is that Google will finally update the camera on the Pixel 6 lineup. And that, all by itself, should be enough to get anyone and everyone interested in these phones. Google has been using that same main IMX363 camera sensor for years, so I’m very curious what Google and its camera team can accomplish with updated hardware. Yes, the company’s mobile camera guru may have left, but I have no doubts Google has other intelligent people working on it.
Whitechapel Puts Google in Control
Also featured on the Pixel 6 lineup? Whitechapel. In the grand scheme of things, very little is known about Google’s in-house silicon and note that I use the term “in-house” loosely. When originally reported, it was detailed that Google has been working with Samsung to build this chip that may power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, taking Exynos components and software and using that as a foundation or at least building pieces. We’ve seen recent hints that Whitechapel will indeed be on board Google’s next devices, so with that said, it’s another reason to look forward to what Google is cooking up here.
With Google potentially no longer beholden to Qualcomm, it does provide Google more control over its devices, at least with regard to certain aspects. The main thing would be update support. With control over its own chip, we could see updates extend way past 3 years, which has been a selling point for iOS devices for a long, long time.
Android 12 is 🔥
I’ve been running the Android 12 beta on my Pixel 5 since it was released, and even with it missing a few of its marquee features, I’m totally loving it. Android 12 could be a very special step forward for the Android OS in my book, at least when it comes to the Pixel Experience. On Pixel phones, users will have great control over how the OS looks, and once development is complete, the whole thing looks as though it will be insanely polished and refined. This could be Android on a level none of us have experienced, and if you didn’t know by now, I’m excited about that.
So long as Whitechapel isn’t a total misfire and Google’s hardware quality control team doesn’t let us down, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro could be real showstoppers. There’s still a few unknown variables, such as carrier availability and pricing, but if Google wanted to, I don’t see why these phones couldn’t be amazing. I’ve gone from thinking there wouldn’t be a Pixel 6 to thinking Pixel 6 is already getting crowned as Phone of the Year. I know, premature and silly, but I’m having a hard time containing myself. I’m full Google fanboy mode right now.