Now that it is about time for a new Pixel to be released, Google has announced much more than just some new flagship models. Apart from the upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google has revealed its first foray into processors – the Tensor SoC.
Named after the Tensor Processing Units (TPU) found at Google, this new chipset is still shrouded in mystery with only a few specs released. There were no mentions just yet of the CPU, GPU, or even 5G capabilities but what’s known is that the company will be releasing two things — a mobile version of its TPUs and a Titan M2 security chip.
It’s also unclear whether the chip is entirely Google-made or if the company will be sourcing its components from other suppliers. There are also no benchmark scores available just yet.
But according to Rick Osterloh, SVP Devices and Services at Google, in an interview from The Verge, the chips will be “market-leading” and will be “very different than just another co-processor.”
Tensor focuses on AI and Machine Learning to give their users a better but familiar experience across the board. In photography, for example, machine learning is implemented to make images sharper and brighter by examining a series of photos and combining them to create the best image possible. It also utilizes the Pixel’s cameras by intelligently deciding on which lens would create the sharpest image and can combine with the rest.
This is thanks to the mobile version of Google’s TPU, which the company is hoping will help bring back its reputation of great photography.
Tensor will be showcased in the company’s upcoming Pixel 6 and 6 Pro phones. And for the first time, the Pixel will be marketing as a flagship device with flagship features and, of course, a flagship price. It wouldn’t be surprising to see 4-digit figures tagged on these devices.
The Pixel 6 Pro will have a 6.7-inch QHD+ curved screen with a high 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 6, on the other hand, will house a 6.4-inch FHD+ flat screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. Both will also debut with new materials and finishes. The Pro variant will come in an aluminum polished frame while the Pixel 6 will adopt a matte but also aluminum finish.
The Pixel 6 Pro will house a triple camera system that’s made up of a new wide-angle main sensor, an ultrawide, and an optical zoom folded telephoto lens. The Pixel 6 will have the same main and ultrawide lenses only.
Upgrading the cameras and getting bigger sensors meant that Google had to redesign the camera layout. Instead of the usual square or rectangular module that’s widely used, Google has designed a camera bar that fits across the width of the phone. The official photos also show how protruded the camera bar is from the back. This was most likely a design decision made to not compromise the Pixel 6-series’ photography features.
Adding to its flagship quality is the Pixel 6 series’ build. Now utilizing glass for both the back and the front, Google’s latest devices are designed to be at par with flagships released by mobile giants such as Samsung or Apple.
Google’s auto-caption feature was demoed on these devices and is looking to be faster and more accurate. According to The Verge, it could even provide English subtitles to a French video in real-time.
The Titan M security chip onboard both devices will provide “the most layers of hardware security in any phone.” The Pixel 6-series will also have an always-on computer that will be able to take care of low-power processes like ambient display.
Why did it take so long for Google to create its own flagship phone? Osterloh mentions that the company knew that it wasn’t ready.
“We knew we didn’t have what it took to be in the ultra high end when it comes to build quality,” says Osterloh. He continues on to say though, that they believe that they have it down this time around.