The biggest announcements from Google’s Pixel 6 event

The Verge - Tue Oct 19 18:40

Google just wrapped up its Pixel 6 Fall Launch event, where it announced two new phones as well as a wealth of features that are supported by its new Tensor processor. Here are the biggest things Google announced during its live stream.

The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro lineup Image: Google

Google finally shows off the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

After months of leaks, we got the full details on Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones — the Pixel 6 will sell for $599 and the Pixel 6 Pro for $899. Both will feature Google’s Tensor processor and a 50-megapixel camera (which bins images down to 12.5-megapixels during processing). The phones also feature an ultra-wide camera, and the Pro adds a telephoto camera and gives the selfie camera an upgrade with a wider lens and higher-resolution sensor. The Pro model is also physically larger, but it’s not a massive difference.

Google’s new phones are powered by its Tensor processor

Much of Google’s event focused on the Google-designed Tensor processor that powers the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Google showed off how the machine learning prowess of its chip would be able to help with tasks like voice recognition, making photos less blurry (and even automatically erasing unwanted people from the background), and real-time captions and translation. Outside of ML, Google says that it should be competitive with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processors when it comes to overall CPU and GPU performance.

Google also emphasized how the Tensor could help its phones be more personalized to you but didn’t go into much detail on how exactly that would work. Thankfully, we have our hands on the new phones, so we’ll be able to poke around at them. Speaking of those phones...

Google showed off the results of its camera inclusivity work with Real Tone

At Google I/O 2021, Google announced it was working on making its cameras and photo processing better for people with darker skin, and today, we got to see some of those results. Google’s Real Tone tech, which will work both in its camera app and third-party ones, will try to accurately depict people’s skin tones instead of doing weird things with exposure and contrast like old phones used to do. Google’s before-and-after presentation was impressive, but we’ll have to see how it actually performs in the real world.

Quick Tap to Snap feature
“The fastest phone to make a Snap”
Image: Google

Snapchat gets a special place on the Pixel

You’ll be able to quickly access Snapchat’s camera by tapping the back of the Pixel, even from the lock screen. Of course, you’ll have to log into the phone to actually send the Snap to your friends, but it’s quite possibly the quickest way to send a Snap that we’ve seen yet.

Google’s trying to make phone trees suck less

Google announced a new Pixel phone feature, which aims to make calls to customer service lines less awful by trying to estimate how long you’ll have to wait on hold and giving you a written list of the phone tree options, so you don’t have to go “wait, what number do I press for this again?” Google’s also expanding its feature that lets you have your phone wait on hold for you to more countries.

Image: Google

Pixel Pass gets you Google’s phone and some subscription services

Google didn’t announce it during the event itself, but it’s also launched Pixel Pass alongside the new phones. Pixel Pass lets you bundle a phone (and Google’s Preferred Care repair plan), cloud storage, YouTube Premium, and Google Play Pass, all in one monthly payment. Google’s charging $45 per month for the plan with a Pixel 6 and $55 a month for the Pixel 6 Pro plan. According to the company, you’ll end up paying off your phone over the course of two years, and if you cancel Pixel Pass, you’ll have to pay off the remaining balance on your phone.

Google says that subscribers to Google Fi, its cellular plan, will get $5 off their monthly bill for subscribing to Pixel Pass.


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