Google launches Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to enhance smartphone market share

New phones are powered by Tensor, Google's first bespoke processor

Google's Pixel 6 phone comes with a distinctive graphic and vibrant look. Photo: AFP
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Google launched two new smartphones on Tuesday, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, to take a piece of the market from Samsung and Apple.

The new devices are powered by Tensor, the first system-on-chip designed by Google.

“Pixel has a bold new design this year with a cohesive look across the software on the inside and the hardware on the outside,” Google’s vice president of product management Brian Rakowski said.

Pixel 6 has a “distinctive graphic and vibrant look”, said Mr Rakowski, and the Pixel 6 Pro was inspired by the finishes in luxury jewellery and watches.

Google Tensor's robust features, which were built around AI (artificial intelligence), will not suck up battery life, compared to previous Pixel phones.

Here, The National explores what the new phones are offering to the consumers.

Android 12 OS

Both phones will be shipped with Google’s latest mobile operating system Android 12, which boasts richer security features and customisation options.

Android 12 also promises more transparency as to who is accessing your data, and more control of how it is used.

OS12 is also available to install on other Google devices, including Pixel 3, Pixel 3A, Pixel 4, Pixel 4A, Pixel 4A 5G, Pixel 5 and Pixel 5A. Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi users can upgrade later this year.

Google's new phones will be shipped with the latest mobile operating system Android 12. AFP

Lights, cameras ...

The cameras in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are Google's most technically advanced and feature-rich to date.

Both phones have a sensor on the back that captures up to 150 per cent more light than previous models, enabling captures with greater detail and richer colour.

A magic eraser feature removes random or unwanted objects in the photos.

Smart speech

Google said the phone's speech recognition has been improved. Users can now use their voice to type, edit and send messages in Messages and Gmail.

When users call a business such as airlines or a bank, Google Assistant will transcribe the automated message and menu options in real-time and display them on the screen to see and tap, which is great when you're travelling or driving.

A live translate feature will let users message in different languages including English, French, German, Italian and Japanese.

It works by detecting whether a message in your chat apps is different from your language and, if so, automatically offers you a translation, Google said.

Price matters

Customers can start placing orders for both devices from Tuesday. Pixel 6 starts at $599 while Pixel 6 Pro starts at $899. They will be available in shops in select markets starting October 28.

A Google Inc. Pixel 5 smartphone is held for an arranged photograph taken in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. The Pixel 5 is an assembly of established technologies topped off with the marketing must-have of 5G wireless connectivity and an important reduction in price to $699. Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg

Taking care of business

Starting with Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices in the US, options such as "wait times" and "direct my call" will be available.

Before calling a toll-free business number, users will see the current and projected wait times for the rest of the week. Depending on the wait time, users can plan their call to avoid long queues.

The first beta or test version of Android 12 was released in May. Bloomberg

Google to double smartphone production

Google is reportedly planning to produce close to twice the number of its new Pixel 6 series phones, with more than 7 million now on order, doubling last year’s total production, Nikkei newspaper reported.

Overall smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.38 billion units this year, up 7.7 per cent over 2020, the International Data Corporation reported.

Updated: October 20, 2021, 4:54 AM