Holy crap, Google’s Pixel 6 launch event was much bigger than expected. Not only did Google debut two affordable flagships with killer new features, but it gave us a closer look at its Tensor chip, a new processor that’s got Qualcomm sharing passive-aggressive memes on Twitter. It also launched Pixel Pass, a Google equivalent to Apple One, and kicked off the real Android 12 rollout.
Here’s a rundown of everything Google announced during the Pixel 6 launch event. For more detailed information, check our full writeups on the Pixel 6, the Pixel 6 Pro, Google’s Tensor chip, and Pixel Pass.
Starting at just $600, the new Pixel 6 already looks like the best phone money can buy. It offers flagship-level performance, plus killer camera quality thanks to a new 50MP sensor and the Tensor chip’s upgraded AI capabilities. Not only that, but it includes a ton of killer features like Live Translate and a Face Unblur photo editing tool, and its voice-to-text algorithm is faster and more accurate than any other Android phone’s.
The new Pixel 6 Pro is a small-yet-significant upgrade to the Pixel 6. Starting at $900, it expands the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch display to a cool 6.7 inches. It also supports a 120Hz refresh rate (the Pixel 6 hits 90Hz), and even has a 48MP telephoto lens.
Pixel 6 Pro also comes with a larger battery than the Pixel 6, though Google promises a 24-hour battery life from both devices. In fact, the company says you can get up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver enabled, though we haven’t had a chance to test this claim.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are available for pre-order now. But I think you should scroll down and check out the Pixel Pass plan before you pull the trigger.
Google Pixel 6
The new Google Pixel 6 offers flagship performance and killer camera quality for just $600. It even has a proper IP68 water-resistance rating. Order it now from Google.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
The new Pixel 6 Pro packs a 6.7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, plus a 48MP telephoto lens. That’s a pretty solid upgrade over the basic Pixel 6’s 6.4-nch 90Hz screen and dual-camera array.
As one of the biggest AI companies in the world, Google is constantly developing killer software to enhance voice recognition, language translation, and computational photography. But Google says that its software was “held back” by the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors of previous Pixel releases.
There’s only one solution to this problem—Google developed its own Tensor processor to replace the Snapdragon. Tensor is a revolutionary chip that takes several steps to improve AI performance on mobile systems, unlocking a ton of new features on the Pixel 6 like snappy Live Translate, faster voice-to-text, and enhanced computational photography for better photos than ever before.
"We've decided to make our own smartphone SoC instead of using Snapdragon" 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩
— Snapdragon (@Snapdragon) October 13, 2021
That said, the most revolutionary thing about Tensor may be its impact on the smartphone market. Smartphone makers who are sick of working with Qualcomm may be inspired to make their own chips (or pay for Tensor), a move that could break Snapdragon’s stranglehold on Android devices.
Google’s timing here is impeccable. Just yesterday, Apple announced the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, two processors that put Intel to shame. It seems that we’re in the middle of a tidal shift among device manufacturers—instead of working with Qualcomm and Intel, they’re trying to jump ship. It’s pretty exciting!
Speaking of Apple, the new Pixel Pass subscription package feels kind of familiar. Like Apple One, the Pixel Pass comes with all of Google’s killer subscription services, plus a new Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro.
Pixel Pass starts at $45 a month if you want a Pixel 6, or just $55 if for the Pixel 6 Pro. Here’s everything included with Pixel Pass:
- YouTube Premium: Ad-free viewing and background play while using other apps.
- YouTube Music Premium: Ad-free, uninterrupted listening.
- Google One: Get 200GB of cloud storage across Google’s services, including Photos and Drive.
- Google Play Pass: Access hundreds of games for free with no ads.
- Preferred Care: Hassle-free device repairs and coverage for accidents.
- Google Store Discounts: Exclusive discounts on products in the Google Store.
Altogether, you could save up to $294 with your Pixel Pass subscription. It’s like financing a new phone, except you get a bunch of cool rewards!
Just keep in mind that this program will lock you in for a bit. Google says that if you cancel Pixel Pass before your phone is paid off, then you’ll have to pay the remainder upfront (and the remainder won’t include any discounts you got with your Pixel Pass subscription).
Starting at $45 a month, Pixel Pass gets you the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro plus memberships with YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, Google Play Pass, Google One, and Preferred Care coverage. It’s a killer plan that could save you up to $294, if you don’t mind being locked in.
And finally, Google is rolling out Android 12 for select Pixel phones. The update includes a ton of new features, most notably the beautiful Material You design that pulls theme colors from your wallpaper. It’s good to see this update come to Pixel devices today, even if it began rolling out to other phones on October 4th.
Here are all the phones that can update to Android 12 today:
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
- Pixel 4a
- Pixel 4a 5G
- Pixel 5
- Pixel 5a
Your Android 12 update should arrive automatically. If you can’t wait and want it today, head to your Settings and click “Check for Update.” For a full list of Android 12’s features, head over to our full writeup on its release.