After a 10-year wait, Pixel 6 is the Samsung-powered Google flagship of your dreams

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
After a 10-year wait, Pixel 6 is the Samsung-powered Google flagship of your dreams
Hey, remember the Nexus S and Google Nexus - the Samsung-made Google phones that launched in 2010 and 2011? Yep... it's been a decade!

They were respectively the second and third Nexus phones (the first one - the Nexus One was made by HTC). However, after two years of partnership, Google and Samsung went their separate ways in 2011.

The following Nexus devices were made by LG, Motorola, and Huawei, until the big rebranding took place, redefining Google’s identity as a phone-maker. In case you couldn’t guess - I’m on about the switch to the Pixel lineup.

  • Google Pixel 1 series - manufactured by HTC
  • Google Pixel 2 - manufactured by HTC
  • Google Pixel 2 XL - manufactured by LG
  • Google Pixel 3 series - manufactured by Foxconn
  • Google Pixel 4 series - manufactured by Foxconn
  • Google Pixel 5 series - manufactured by Foxconn

As you can see, after the switch to Pixel, Samsung was nowhere to be seen. But before that! Before the Pixel - there were a couple of other phones that made headlines and grabbed the attention of the enthusiastic Android fan.

Of course, I’m talking about the “Google Play edition” devices, and in this case, particularly the Samsung Galaxy S4 (although my personal favorite would have been the HTC One).

Now, sure - after numerous attempts, Google stopped selling their last Google Play edition phone in January 2015 (the HTC One M8). However, this doesn’t change the fact that the idea of a “stock” Android Samsung-made flagship was very appealing to certain users, who wanted to have the best of both worlds - great Samsung-level hardware, and fast and reliable Google software - instead of... TouchWiz.

Yes, Samsung’s Android skin offered some (often too many) additional features such as split-screen multitasking and air gestures, but the far more critical aspects of the user experience like UI navigation, animations, and software updates were all faster and more reliable on Google’s version of the Galaxy S4 - otherwise a great device with massive commercial success, despite TouchWiz.

Google Pixel 6 - Sold by Google, manufactured by Foxconn, powered by Samsung

In case you didn’t know, the full specs of Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro/XL devices have leaked, and we can already see the big role Samsung’s played in their development. Let’s split this into three sections about the processor, display, and camera, and give them the deserved attention.

Google Pixel 6 Processor: Made by Samsung

We deep-dived into the Google Pixel 6 & Google Pixel 6 Pro/XL processor in this article. In a nutshell - the custom “Whitechapel” chip is developed under the Samsung Semiconductors system large-scale integration (SLSI) division.

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In other words, this is a custom-made SoC by Samsung, and similar to the Exynos 2100 found in the Galaxy S21 series, but unique and tailored to Google’s needs. "Whitechapel" is expected to elevate the user experience compared to the Google Pixel 5, which, as you might recall, was powered by the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G.

Google Pixel 6 Display: Made by Samsung 

Moving on - it’s not a secret to anyone that Samsung makes some of the best smartphone displays available. They sell panels to many smartphone-makers. Of course, Samsung’s most notable customer when it comes to displays is... Apple - for the iPhone.

However, a few days ago, reputable tipster Ross Young took to Twitter to reveal that both the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro/XL will also use Samsung-made panels from Samsung Display.

On the other hand, Jon Prosser’s specs leak says that the Pixel 6 will indeed use an AMOLED screen (made by Samsung), but also suggests that the Pixel 6 Pro/XL will make use of a P-OLED display. P-OLED is a display technology developed by LG - the same LG that manufactured the Pixel 2XL for Google, which happened to come with all sorts of issues.

Whether history will repeat itself and Google will use different manufacturers for the two different Google Pixel 6 devices or not… we’ll have to wait and see. But it appears that we’ll certainly get at least one Google Pixel 6 featuring a Samsung-made panel, and hopefully zero problematic displays. Looking at you, LG!

Google Pixel 6 Camera: Made by... Samsung?!

Unlike with the processor and display, we aren’t working with as much information here, but it’s enough to make some informed guesses.

Google Pixel 6

  • Main camera: 50MP
  • Ultra-wide camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP

Google Pixel 6 Pro/XL

  • Main camera: 50MP
  • Telephoto camera: 48MP
  • Ultra-wide camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP

In the above-listed specs come from Jon Prosser it’s said that the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro/XL will use a 50MP Sony-made sensor for their primary camera. Bear in mind that the “Sony” bit comes from a separate rumor dating back to May, which hasn’t been fully confirmed by another leak of information just yet.

Therefore we assume that there’s a chance the 50MP sensor could be made by Samsung. The Korean company recently revealed a brand new 50MP sensor, and there’s already a Samsung-made GN2 50MP sensor, used in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, which delivers a stellar camera experience.

Even if the main camera sensor on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro/XL turns out to be made by Sony, this is in no way bad as Sony makes some of the best and most popular smartphone camera sensors. At the same time, this doesn’t mean that at least some of the remaining two (Pixel 6) and three (Pixel 6 Pro/XL) back/front camera sensors aren’t made by Samsung.

Therefore, there’s a good chance part of the camera system of the Pixel 6 might also be powered by the Korean tech giant! We’ll follow up with more information on that whenever it becomes available. If you are curious about the four cameras on the Google Pixel 6 Pro/XL, check out our elaborate story on them here.

In the end...

Sure enough, the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro/XL probably won’t be manufactured by Samsung or rebranded Google Play Galaxy S21 devices, but this is about as close as it might get!

The Pixel 6 series seems to take every quality Samsung component - the display, chip, and perhaps certain camera sensors, and add the “Google sauce” - five years of fast and smooth Android OS updates and Pixel camera processing (beloved by many), to make a one-of-a-kind device that will finally give Android fans Samsung-level hardware with Google-level software magic!

In a way, Google is trying to partner with Samsung to offer you a Samsung-powered flagship, which might end up being better than Samsung’s own flagships! It's a Galaxy in disguise... and a good one!

If a year ago, when the mid-range-like Pixel 5 came out, someone told you that next year Google would make a true flagship phone with some of the best components available, would you've believed it? I don’t think so...

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