Google took to the virtual stage on Tuesday and launched its long-awaited Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, making official many of the rumors and leaks that we've seen of the devices. However, the event was about more than just the phones; it was about the hardware powering the devices and the bevy of experiences that will come from the new software and AI capabilities.
Google announced some pretty impressive features and even some new accessories during the launch. There was quite a bit going on, but here are the most significant announcements Google made, some of which the company didn't actually talk about during the livestream.
Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro
Of course, the Pixel 6 series stole the show. After all, the devices mark a significant design shift for Google, going from bland to bold. The phones feature upgraded cameras with a 50MP primary sensor, 12MP ultrawide, and an extra 48MP telephoto on the Pixel 6 Pro.
The devices have pretty impressive hardware and striking colors. The standard Pixel 6 only comes with a 90Hz display, but you'll find a smoother 120Hz panel on the Pixel 6 Pro, similar to what's found on the best Android phones. Even so, you should expect a similar experience from both devices thanks to Android 12 and the new Google Tensor chip keeping things speedy.
Even though the Pixels were the star of the show, much of the talk was centered around the new Tensor chip powering them. Google hinted at its capabilities earlier this summer, but now we've gotten a better look at what it's capable of.
Thanks to on-device AI processing, the Tensor chip will bring impressive speech recognition features for the Pixel 6 smartphones. This makes using certain features like voice dictation much faster than before while using less power. It also means that your data is kept safe and secure on your device, thanks in part to the Titan M2 security chip that Google has paired with Tensor.
New AI stuff
Google announced several new features that will take advantage of the Tensor chip's on-device AI processing. Live Translate is a significant feature that brings faster and better translation with apps like Google Assistant's Interpreter Mode and integrates live translation into messaging apps for better communication.
Calls are being improved with several new features that will make it easier to navigate automated menus, allow you to check when wait times are shorter, and gather crowdsourced caller ID information.
Lastly, images are getting a boost with new AI features. The Magic Eraser is one that we were excited to see finally make it to the Pixel lineup, allowing users to remove elements from their images that may be unsightly or just ruin the overall picture. Other features include Motion Mode and real-time HDR processing for videos.
New Pixel Stand, accessories
Google didn't really announce this one but the second-gen Pixel Stand has landed in the Google Store, although you can't buy it just yet. It features up to 23W wireless charging, or 15W charging to other Qi-enabled devices, and 3W for wearables. It also has an adjustable cooling fan to keep your device from getting too hot.
The Pixel Stand isn't available yet, but it's “coming soon.”
Google also highlighted a bunch of cases up for preorder that complements the design of the phones, although if those don't tickle your fancy, you can also check out our roundup of some of the best Google Pixel 6 cases.
Google didn't actually announce this one either since it already graduated from beta earlier this month. However, Android 12 has finally arrived on older Pixel smartphones, so if you still want to hold onto your device for some time before upgrading, this will make it feel like brand new thanks to Material You and a bevy of new features.
To start the update, navigate to Settings > About phone > System updates.
Another one that went unmentioned was Pixel Pass. It's a subscription plan that bundles the Pixel 6 with the best of Google's services, including YouTube Premium, Play Pass, Google One, and Google Fi service. It starts at just $45 per month and even includes device protection.
Some carriers already have great deals on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but if you're on Google Fi, this may be worth looking into, especially if you plan to upgrade your smartphone every two years.
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