Yes, the Google Pixel 6 will be Android's iPhone

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Yes, the Google Pixel 6 will be Android's iPhone
It's been about a month since we saw the first Google Pixel 6 leaks, thanks to Jon Prosser. Right after those came out, It struck me - this phone was going to go toe to toe with Apple's upcoming iPhone 13, so I wrote the "Pixel 6: After 13 years, Android is finally getting its own iPhone" piece which received some attention, but also raised some questions...

Now, leakster Jon Prosser is back with another piece of the puzzle - the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro specs, and those show that the initial verdict from one month ago seems to only be getting stronger.

For the record, of course, the Pixel 6 will go toe to toe with the iPhone 13 - the two flagship phones have always been compared to one another. However, this year's Pixel flagship seems to be a bit more special... OK, much more special!

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Google's custom "Whitechapel" SoC

This was rumored a while ago, but the specs leak from Jon Prosser seem to be cementing the theory. It is believed that Google will use a 5nm custom-built chip manufactured by Samsung! That's right - who else other than Samsung to help Google compete with Apple?

Speaking of Samsung, it was found that the "Slide" codename first discovered by 9to5Google, is directly connected to Korean company, with reference to Samsung's Exynos chips, developed with the Samsung Semiconductors system large-scale integration (SLSI) division.

Therefore, we expect the "Whitechapel" SoC to be similar to the Exynos 2100 found in Galaxy S21 phones. This falls in line with other rumors, pointing towards a chip identical in power to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 870, which itself is an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 865+ from 2020.

Nevertheless, the custom-built SoC should talk directly to Google's Android 12 software and bring an unrivaled Pixel experience, especially compared to the underwhelming Google Pixel 5, which featured the Snapdragon 765 which is a mid-range chip.

Of course, the Pixel 5 isn't bad - it's fast and smooth when it comes to simple tasks. However, it's the more power-demanding aspects of the phone that really needed a boost in the form of a flagship SoC. Things like performance under heavy and consistent loads, display specs, and camera performance are very much processor-dependent.

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We'll focus on the Pixel 6 camera and display in a future article, but when it comes to performance, it's safe to say the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will make it possible for Google to compete with the big dogs (again).

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are said to come with plenty of storage - 128GB, 256GB, 512GB. The RAM on the regular model is expected to be 8GB, while the 6 Pro should get 12GB of RAM - a precedent for a Google phone.

More Pixel 6 content you may like:

Android 12: The biggest change to Android… ever

But! Where it gets even more exciting is on the software part. If the powerful hardware is already sorted, the new Google flagships also have to deliver a great Android 12 software experience, right?

As usual, the Pixel 6 series is expected to be the official Android 12 vehicle - meaning the next final release of Android 12 will debut on the Pixel 6 series. We've already tested the Android 12 Beta, and it's pretty safe to say that this version of Google's OS is the most significant change that's ever happened to it.

The changes and improvements are across the board: UI appearance, animations, transitions, icons, widgets, settings menu, toggles, wallpapers, themes, colors, apps… it's a lot! You're encouraged to take a look at our Android 12 preview if you'd like to dive deeper into its world.

However, where the biggest surprises come are with two things - performance/speed and software support! Google is finally starting to pay attention to the smoothness aspect of the Pixel experience by introducing tighter background process control on key background operations Android System Server, Activity Window, and Package Manager.

According to Google's VP of Product Management for Android & Google Play, Sameer Samat, these background processes often "talk to each other at the same time", which makes budget mid-range, and even flagship devices "think" more than they need to in order to respond to both the user's demand and the background tasks. So, this by itself seems like something to be excited for!

Five years of "smooth" Android OS updates

But what's really exciting… like, really, really exciting, would be another small detail from the recent Jon Prosser report, which claims that Google's next flagship phones will receive five years of software updates! You're not hallucinating… Prosser's information says: "Google is committed to at least 5 years of software updates" for both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

And, where do we even begin?! If this turns out to be true (of course, it's still unconfirmed), it will finally eliminate the need to buy an iPhone if you want a device that can last about five years and receive regular software and security updates!

Up to this day, only iPhone users were blessed with extended software support on their devices, and quite frankly, Android fans and users have a lot to be jealous about in that aspect.

Gladly, Samsung and OnePlus recently announced that some of their most recent phones would receive three years' worth of OS updates, including four years of security updates! That's already a big step forward compared to the two years of software updates they usually get.

Google's move towards Apple-level software support would absolutely shoot the Pixel 6 series in the skies and put incredible pressure not just on Apple but also on other Android manufacturers. 

Of course, the end-user would end up being the biggest winner! If all goes to plan, we expect more manufacturers like Motorola, Nokia, Xiaomi, and more to jump on board ASAP and offer at least three years of software updates for their smartphones, or why not more?

Sure, all of this is easier said than done. Many of these phones use their own skins on top of Android, making software updates take longer to implement. Then, the issue with carrier devices is still present - software updates that come through carrier-locked smartphones usually take longer to arrive compared to unlocked models.

Despite those challenges, if Google makes this transition happen, there are only good things to follow. We just can't wait for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro to arrive and shake up the smartphone market!

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