– So I have held the Pixel 6. Hi everybody. (chuckles) I’ve also held the Pixel 6 Pro. I’ve gotten to look at some demos and hear a lot about the brandnew Google-designed processor that is inside these phones. Let’s talk. (light, dynamic music) So first things first, you are probably noticing that I’m not holding a Pixel6 or 6 Pro in one of my hands. And also that we don’t haveany original “Verge” footage. That is because Google wouldn’tlet us take photos or video. The point of the meeting that I had with hardware chief, Rick Osterloh, was to get a downloadon some of the details of the new phone and the new processor, but the full launch ofthe Pixel 6 is gonna come in the fall. So I guess today’s announcementis an announcement, or a tease, or something. Anyway, there is actuallya lot to talk about, including my firstimpressions of the hardware of the devices, this newGoogle Tensor system on a chip. It’s called Tensor, that’s the SOC.
And there are a few detailsabout how it works with AI, and we’ve got a handful of specs. But the key takeaway formost of us is simply this: Google is finally going for it. They’re making a flagship phone and they’re trying to takethe best of the best head-on in the premium space, and probably with a premium price. I don’t know what the price is gonna be, but I’m going to assume over 1,000 bucks. After years of mostly justmaking midrange phones, Google is finally swinging for the fences with better screens, better cameras, better build quality, the works. (gentle rhythm music) Let’s just get some ofthe basic phone stuff out of the way real quick. The regular Pixel 6 has a 6.4inch completely flat screen with two cameras on the back.
There’s a wide and an ultra-wide. The Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch screen that’s a little bit curved on the edges. It has glossy rails onthe side instead of matte. And it has a 4X optical zoom folding lens, like a periscope lens. There will be some memory differences between the two phones, but they’re both gonna haveGoogle’s new system on a chip, higher refresh rate screens, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and other premium foam things. Like I said, I held them and they feellike what Google would do if it were trying to likemake a high-end Huawei phone or something there: glass on the back, they feel really solid. There’s virtually no bezels on the front. I actually liked the waythe colors look in-person. You know, like recent Pixelphones have been like nice, but kind of basic. These new Pixel phonesare nice, but kinda nice. Now, as big a deal asGoogle finally trying to challenge Samsungand OnePlus and Huawei at the high-end might be, the bigger deal is that they are using a brand new processor, technically a SOC system ona chip that’s called Tensor.
Tensor is the brand that Google uses for some of its AI hardware. So it’s T-E-N-S-O-R, notlike it’s more tense. So what Google has done is, they’ve taken the Tensor Processing Units, the TPUs that they use in their machine learning data centers, and they’ve made a mobile version of that that goes into the Pixel 6. Now you probably know the basics of what goes into a phone’s core specs. There’s the CPU, the GPU, the RAM, and then maybe there aresome like coal processors on the side to handle specific tasks, like image processing or security.
With Tensor, Google is saying that it’sgoing to do a flagship-level job on all of that core CPU stuff, but that the TPU part of itis also going to be essential to the entire pipeline. It’s gonna be part of the mainflow of how the phone works. Sort of like how Appleadded the Neural Engine to its A-series chips. Google doesn’t want AI tojust be a little faster on the side. It wants to make it as essential as all of those otherstandard phone parts. Okay, but what does that mean? Well, Google did show me a few demos. In one, there was a photo of a kid whose face was super blurry’cause the kid was moving and flailing around,’cause that’s what kids do. But the TPU was able to fix it so the kid’s face wasn’t blurry.
What Google says happened here is, the main camera did the usual thing that Google’s, you know,cameras have always done: It took up a bunch of photos, gathered lots of image data, but that the ultra-widesensor on the Pixel 6 does something new. It is there just to get a superfast shot to minimize blur. And so with this newTensor Processing Unit, what they can do withoutmaking you wait for it is, it’s machine learning seesthat there is a face there and that we hate blurry faces. So it grabbed that datafrom the ultra-wide, combined it with the regular data that Google’s always grabbed, combined them and you have a sharp photo. Now I have heard and you have heard lots of camera promises before. So we need to see if Googlereally can take back its lead in smartphone cameras.
What I can say is that thecamera sensors are finally new. They’re not using the same one that they’ve been using forever. I don’t know officially whatthe mega pixel count is yet. That’ll be official in the fall, but there’s a rumor itmight be 50 megapixels. Google did say that ittakes in 150% more light than the Pixel 5 did, we’ll see. (melodious rhythm music) So it’s right to remain skeptical. But on the second demo I had ahard time not getting excited because it was video, and historically, pixel video kinda sucks. Pixel 6 video though, I think it has a legit shot at being good because it has that TensorProcessing Unit doing stuff really fast in the pipeline. That means that they can runthe same algorithms on video that they usually can onlyafford to run on photos.
So the demo that I saw was4K at 30 frames per second. Now, of course, Google is going to showsomething that puts this camera in a good light. But the comparison that Isaw between the Pixel 6, the Pixel 5, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I kind of think thePixel 6 looked the best. It was a heavy HDR shotshooting right into the sun. And it managed to not overlighten shadows in that situation. It also didn’t do that Pixel thing of oversharpening everything. Like, the grass actually looked real, and it had better whitebalance than the iPhone. Now, again, this was just one videosample shot by Google. So I am not vouching here, but it’s a good sign. Those were the camerademos, but, you know, there are a couple other demos. So you may know that the Pixelcan do on-device captioning. It can play any video andcaption it in real time. And now on the Pixel 6, that is gonna be faster and more accurate. And because they have their AI processor right in the pipeline, they can translate audio in real time without an Internet connection.
I also saw a voice typingdemo running through the TPU. It seemed a little bit more accurate. You can also talk to, youknow, the phone to type, but also edit with thekeyboard at the same time. Both kind of input methods are active, and that was kind of neat. But the thing about AI onphones is that it’s kind of hard to turn it into a selling point. With the Pixel 6, the challenge is gonna bewhether or not this AI stuff makes a noticeable difference in the way that you usually use your phone every day.
Will you even notice, for example, that things can be a little bit faster because the CPU and theGPU have both been freed up because the AI chip is handlinga bunch of the AI load? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. By the way, there’s also aseparate little computer system for handling low-level things, like the always-on screen, and that should help with battery life. But Google is still only promising, like, all-day battery life.
They’re not promisingmultiday battery life here. We can’t know if we can believe Google about the importance of the Tensor SOC until we had the chance to use the phone. The only thing I do know isthat the phone looks good and it feels better than anyPixel has in recent memory. I am not completely sold onthe big camera bar on the back, but I do like that it doesn’t wobble when you set the phone on a table and it does have a tiny little metal ridge to protect the glass over the lenses. And like I said, I really like the colors. The only bummer is, that Coral orange color thatyou’ve seen in the leaks, that’s only gonna be availableon the regular Pixel 6, not on the Pixel 6 Pro, which has slightly more boring colors. So that’s the big stuff that I could glean from, you know, a half hour,45 minutes of playing around with these phones and gettingsome demos from Google. But there is one more thing to talk about and it’s another sign thatthey’re just going for it, that they’re actuallytrying to sell phones now.
Rick Osterloh told me that, quote, “This product really now isthe Google Phone,” unquote. So they’re gonna invest in marketing, and Google also wants tograb market share, finally. Heck, on Google’s last earnings call, their CFO had to warn investors that Google would bespending a lot of money on marketing over the holiday season. – [Ruth Porat] In addition, we expect sales and marketing expenses to be more heavily weightedto the back half of the year, in part to support productlaunches in the holiday season. – Now, of course, Iasked Google, you know, “What’s the CPU clock speed? You know, what’s the benchmarks compared to a Snapdragon or an Exynos or, you know, is Samsung making it? Heck, who is making the modem?” No comments down the line.
But Google is saying thatit is trying to make a phone that is competitive withthe best phones out there. With the Pixel 5, and youknow, even the Pixel 4, and you know, earlier Pixels. They weren’t saying that this was the best of the best ultra premium, but that’s what they’re going for now. But I do like what I see so far, and if Google is right, that it’s competitive on the,you know, core spec stuff, then it doesn’t matter if this AI stuff turns outto be life-changing or, you know, just kind of anice thing on the side.
Either way, it shouldbe a very nice phone, but obviously we have to withhold judgment until the thing is actuallyannounced or launched. What even is a phone launch anymore? Anyway, the official launchis gonna happen this fall and that’s usually in October. So look, I am not sayingthat you should get hyped for the Pixel 6. Not gonna say that. Not yet. But I do think it’s very interesting that Google thinks you should get hyped. (buzzing tone) Hey, everybody. Thanksso much for watching. I know this was a weird one ’cause we don’t have all the details yet, but that’s how Google wantsto announce this phone. So there you go. Actually, it’s also howSamsung has announced that it’s launching abunch of folding phones in just a week or two. So it’s a weird trend. Whatdo you think of that trend? Let’s talk about thatdownstairs in the comments. (tapping beats) My phone just fell.
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