Google Pixel 6 could get this killer camera upgrade

Google Pixel 5 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Google Pixel 6 could sport a major camera upgrade, but this time for its selfie snapper rather than boosting the rear camera array. 

A new patent discovered by Patently Apple shows a new Pixel phone design that doesn’t include any kind of visible front-facing camera. In other words, it either doesn’t have one, or it’s hiding under the display. 

While ZTE Axon 20 5G has led the charge on under-display selfie cameras, its results are underwhelming. But it has opened the doors for other phones to follow it, and it looks like the Pixel 6 could be one of them. 

pixel 6 camera upgrade

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

The Google patent doesn’t go into much detail, however. So we have to make some assumptions based on the illustrations alone. 

The fact that there is no clear camera on display suggests that it may be hiding under the screen. At this point, we can only make an educated guess at what’s going on, as the patent makes no direct mention of an under-display camera. 

We’ve already seen leaks alleging that the Pixel 5 Pro may include an under-display camera. Images purporting to be the upcoming phone supposedly show off the fact that there’s no hole-punch camera, which is a common feature in a lot of 2020's best Android phones

While that leak doesn’t discount the possibility of there being a pop-up camera, the discovery of this patent suggests that we will be seeing the under-display camera on a Pixel phone very soon. The only question is whether it’ll launch with the Pixel 5 Pro, which is expected in early 2021, or later on with the Pixel 6.

But a patent doesn’t necessarily mean a feature is guaranteed in the immediate future. So we're going to have to wait and see what else leaks over the coming months, then try to deduce whether Google does have an under-display camera waiting in the wings.

We just hope that Google’s hypothetical under-display camera tech performs a lot better than ZTE’s. It managed to shoot mediocre photos from the front camera, especially compared to other phones on the market, such as the OnePlus 8T with its excellent selfie camera. 

It wasn’t too bad for a first attempt, but we would expect Google to do a much better job, especially given how well the Google Pixel 5 handles image processing.

We’ll bring you more on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5 Pro as we hear it. 

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.