Google's Pixel 6 phones are coming with a chip the Apple rival designed in-house - CNET

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Google Pixel 6 phones

Google's Pixel 6 phones volition travel successful respective colors.


Google unveiled connected Monday the newest procreation of its flagship telephone line, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, to vie successful a crowded tract dominated by Apple and Samsung. The 5G phones, which volition motorboat successful the fall, are powered by a caller system-on-chip that Google designed in-house. 

Like astir Android telephone makers, Google has agelong relied connected Qualcomm's SOCs to powerfulness its devices. But designing its ain processor to service arsenic the brains of the instrumentality allows Google to amended customize the spot for the features it deems astir important. The caller chip, called Tensor, tin punch up computing powerfulness and bolster the video capabilities of Pixel phones, juicing features that lagged down those of rivals successful erstwhile Pixel models.

Cut done the chatter

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The caller spot is lone portion of a large overhaul of Google's phones. The astir notable hardware alteration is simply a achromatic camera portion toward the apical of the telephone that runs on the width of the back. By contrast, the camera connected past year's telephone was housed successful a tiny quadrate connected the apical near country of the back. Both phones person a caller sensor that takes successful 150% much airy than the Pixel 5, arsenic good arsenic an ultrawide lens. The 6 Pro has an further telephoto lens with 4-times optical zoom. 

The phones are besides much colorful than erstwhile models, with pastel schemes successful green, blue, pink, and more. The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch show that stretches crossed the beforehand of the device, portion the 6 Pro's surface is 6.7 inches. Both are larger than past year's 6-inch Pixel 5.

Now playing: Watch this: Google introduces Pixel 6 and 6 Pro


Prices and circumstantial merchandise dates haven't been released yet. The predecessor Pixel 5 started astatine $699 and launched successful October.

The Pixel 6 lineup faces superior unit arsenic Google continues to conflict successful the premium telephone market. When it comes to smartphone software, Google's Android is the world's astir wide utilized mobile operating system, powering astir 9 retired of each 10 smartphones shipped globally. But the institution hasn't managed to summation traction with its ain branded phones, and income person been lackluster for years. Google executives person successful the past blamed the dilatory uptake connected fierce contention successful a premium telephone marketplace led by Apple and Samsung. 


Google designed its ain system-on-a-chip called Tensor.


In the US, nary companies person been capable to vie with the 2 giants. In the 2nd 4th of 2021, Pixel owned 0.7% of the market, down from 1.3% during the aforesaid play a twelvemonth earlier, according to Strategy Analytics. Still, Google has defended its determination to proceed investing successful high-end phones.

"Part of the extremity is to amusement the precise champion that Google tin offer," Rick Osterloh, elder vice president of Google's hardware division, said successful an interrogation past week. "There is simply a large conception of the marketplace that wants the latest, and we emotion gathering technology. So we're going to effort to entreaty to that portion of the market, too."

The determination for Google to plan the Pixel's spot comes arsenic different tech giants person taken much steps to make the brains of their devices, not conscionable the bundle and hardware. 

Samsung has agelong made components for immoderate of its devices, and Microsoft partnered with Qualcomm to plan a processor for its Surface devices. Apple, successful particular, has benefited from utilizing its ain chips successful everything from its iPhones to its Macs. Apple's in-house improvement has allowed it to absorption connected making its processor almighty but besides vigor efficient. Apple's M1 machine silicon, which arrived successful November successful immoderate Macs, is doubly arsenic almighty arsenic a rival laptop spot and consumes a 4th of the artillery life, Apple said erstwhile it unveiled the computers

For Google, the boost successful computing powerfulness from the Tensor spot volition besides alteration amended artificial quality connected Pixels. That includes improved code recognition, similar dictation for texts, and much high-end photography, similar bundle upgrades that makes photos little blurry. "This is the biggest innovation successful Pixel we've made to date, designed successful collaboration with our AI and Android teams to present the champion acquisition astatine the intersection of hardware, bundle and AI for years to come," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said successful a statement.

Qualcomm, which supplied chips to Google for erstwhile Pixel models, downplayed the move, adding that its Snapdragon processor remains "synonymous" with Android phones. "Qualcomm Technologies and Google person been partners for much than 15 years starting with bringing the archetypal Android devices to market," a spokeswoman said successful a statement. "We volition proceed to enactment intimately with Google connected existing and aboriginal products based connected Snapdragon platforms to present the next-generation of idiosyncratic experiences for the 5G era."

Tensions successful the 'distant past'

Selling devices has go a important endeavor for Google due to the fact that radical entree the net from much places than their desktop computers, the superior constituent of interaction erstwhile the tech elephantine was founded much than 2 decades ago. Now radical are telling astute speakers to play curated playlists, utilizing phones to bid takeout oregon creating jogging routes with mapping apps.


The phones person a camera portion that runs on the back.


The much Google knows astir radical and their interests, the much invaluable its ads go to marketers who wage the institution to people imaginable buyers based connected their likes, dislikes, age, interests and location. The company's monolithic integer advertizing operation, which has been under probe by antitrust regulators, generates the immense bulk of Google's much than $180 cardinal successful yearly sales.

A large turning constituent for Google's hardware cognition came 5 years ago, erstwhile the institution tapped Osterloh, the erstwhile president of Motorola, to pb a dedicated squad focused connected creating user devices. A twelvemonth later, Google paid $1 billion to bulk up its hardware engineering ranks done a woody with Taiwanese shaper HTC.

The Pixel 6 announcement comes aft Google's telephone squad faced shakeups and turmoil pursuing the merchandise of erstwhile models. Osterloh reportedly criticized merchandise decisions made during improvement of the Pixel 4, which had lackluster sales. Mario Queiroz, the erstwhile caput of the Pixel division, departed the institution past twelvemonth aft leaving the smartphone squad the twelvemonth before. Marc Levoy, who built Google's smartphone bundle into a person successful mobile photography, besides left past year.


Google volition denote prices for its phones successful the fall. 


Levoy, who present works astatine Adobe, is known arsenic a trailblazer successful "computational photography," which relies connected bundle to amended images. He helped pioneer respective camera features for the Pixel, including Portrait Mode, which glams up smartphone photos to marque them look professionally shot, and Night Sight, which brightens pictures successful debased light. Many of the features helium built for the hunt elephantine person been applauded by reviewers and consumers and person yet ended up connected competing devices, similar Apple's iPhones. 

Osterloh declined to remark astir the tensions successful the Pixel division, lone saying they were successful the "distant past." Google has since reorganized the division, and Osterloh present heads up the Pixel unit, successful summation to his relation overseeing the broader Google hardware group, helium told CNET.

As Google continues to conflict successful the premium mobile instrumentality market, it faces disapproval astir however earnestly it wants to beryllium successful the telephone concern -- oregon if it's conscionable an costly hobby.

"We don't usually speech astir nett and loss," Osterloh said. "But our purpose is not to suffer wealth connected this. We surely effort to negociate this similar a business."

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