Major Pixel 6 leak suggests Google actually wants to make good phones again

The last bits of info on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro — the specs — just leaked and they look terrific.

Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro leaked images
Jon Prosser

A new report from respected leaker Jon Prosser details the specifications of Google’s next flagship smartphones, presumably to be called the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The details follow an earlier report on the design of the Android phones, which depicted an all-display design and bold, horizontal camera bump.

These are all unconfirmed details, but Prosser’s track record has been solid of late, having accurately leaked products including the AirPods Pro and AirTags months before they were announced.

The specs — The Pixel 6 will reportedly have a 6.4-inch AMOLED display and the Pixel 6 Pro, a 6.71-inch Plastic OLED screen. Both Android phones are said to be powered by Google’s first custom chipset and run Android 12.

For the Pixel 6, alleged full specs:

  • Rear cameras: 50-megapixel (wide) + 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)
  • Front camera: 8-megapixel
  • Battery: 4,614mAh
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB / 256GB

And alleged specs for the Pixel 6 Pro:

  • Rear cameras: 50-megapixel (wide) + 48-megapixel (tele) + 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)
  • Front camera: 12-megapixel
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB

Google’s strategy — Those specifications could make the Pixel 6 Pro a genuine competitor to flagships from the likes of Samsung and Apple.

In recent years, Google’s smartphone strategy has felt wanting. Once meant to be flagship devices that demonstrate the potential of Android, today, Google’s Pixel line is generally boring, not standing out from the pack in any notable way. The phones have become mid-range devices with cheap materials, ones that don’t even compete with similarly affordable offerings from the likes of OnePlus. The Pixel line also doesn’t offer the specs or camera performance to stand up against pricier premium phones at the high-end. It’s the same reason LG failed and exited the smartphone business: it wasn’t a strong competitor in any particular segment (though it did try to stand out with weird phones).

If Prosser’s information is correct, Google could have a winner on its hands. 12GB of RAM in the Pixel 6 is a big bump from the 8GB in its predecessor, and it will have a new rear triple-camera system; the Pixel 5 has two rear cameras.

Artist renderings show what the Pixel 6 and Pro 6 Pro may look like based on leaked information.Jon Prosser

Prosser’s information, which he obtained from anonymous sources, includes a detail that Google will follow in Apple’s lead and begin using its own in-house silicon to power Pixel phones, rather than relying on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Apple has shown the advantages of designing iPhone hardware and software in harmony, requiring smaller batteries and less RAM than comparable Android phones. Developing chips in-house, it can have full customization over every detail of how the chip works and what requirements it must meet. Buying chipsets from Qualcomm, Google would continue to be at the mercy of a third-party to innovate.

During its third-quarter earnings call last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted that it may be developing its own chipsets. “We’re doing some deeper investments in hardware, which some of it takes two to three years to come together. I’m excited at the terrific roadmap ahead.”

Prosser says that Google has committed to at least 5 years of software updates for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It’s unclear when Google may announce the new phones, but Prosser estimates sometime around October. And how much are the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro going to cost? The Pixel 4a and 5 scaled back the features to reduce pricing. With these kinds of specs, Google could increase the price again, which would upset a lot of people who were already peeved at how much previous Pixels cost.