We're just a few hours away from finally getting our hands on the Google Pixel 6, although there's not much mystery remaining at this point. Before Google's Pixel Fall Launch event gets underway today (Oct. 19), we've already learned a lot about the upcoming Google flagship.
Thanks to leaks about key details — many of them already confirmed by Google — we've got a pretty good sense of what the Pixel 6 will look like and what kind of specs it will feature. Still, the launch of the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro should be an exciting time for Android fans and Pixel lovers. Not only are the new phones a significant departure from previous Pixels, they'll introduce Google's first attempt at its own silicon. Named Tensor, the new Google-built system-on-chip is set to push the boundaries of what's possible with mobile machine learning and AI applications.
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Previous years have been held under the Made with Google event, where we'd hear about other Google products like Chromebooks or members of the Nest family. Judging by the name of the Oct. 19 product launch — "Pixel Fall Launch" and not something broader — the focus this year seems to be all on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Still, there's always room or a surprise or two.
Read on to find out more about Google's Oct. 19 Pixel Fall Launch, and what could appear at the event.
Pixel Fall Launch event: When is it?
Google has scheduled the Pixel Fall Launch 2021 event for today (Oct. 19) at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. BST. Google says you'll be able to watch it on several platforms, but it does have a dedicated site up right now for you to check out (and revisit to watch the event live). You can also check out our guide on how to watch the Pixel Fall Launch event for various livestream options — or better still, you could follow it all with us on our Google Pixel 6 event live blog. We're already up and running, bringing you all the last-minute leaks and pre-event build-up as it happens, so check it out now for the latest news.
Google's Pixel Fall Launch takes place in the middle of a busy stretch of high-profile tech events. Yesterday (Oct. 18), Apple hosted an Apple Unleashed fall event, where it announced the new MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021 and MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021, plus the Apple AirPods 3. Then tomorrow, Samsung hosts a new Galaxy Unpacked event, and that could include new mobile products.
This surplus of tech launches surrounding Google's event merely raises the stakes for Google, as it tries to garner some attention for its new phones.
Pixel Fall Launch: Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
The stars of the show will, in fact, be the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. We've heard a lot about these two phones in the last few months, with Google even confirming some of the details outright. For instance, we know that the new Tensor chip will power both devices. Google has said Tensor will focus primarily on AI and machine learning, and leaked Pixel 6 benchmarks paint a picture of a phone that will come close to matching Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones but fall far short of matching the iPhone 13..
Otherwise, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are huge deviations from Google's typical spartan design language, seen as recently as the excellent Pixel 5a. There's a camera bar that spans the width of the phones, with a tri-color design on some colorways. Gone is the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, likely moved to under the display. The hole punch cutout for the front-facing camera is now centered instead of in the left corner.
The regular Pixel 6 is set to have a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate. It'll sport a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide. The Pixel 6 Pro ups the ante with a 6.71-inch QHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a third 48MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom. The smaller Pixel is rumored to have a 4,614 mAh battery while the big boy should have a huge 5,000 mAh power pack.
In addition to the camera hardware improvements, look for Google to show off new photo software features. Pixel 6 camera leaks point to a Magic Eraser feature that removes people and objects from the background of shots and a Face Unblur tool to sharpen facial features.
Even after the announcement of the Oct. 19 event, the Pixel 6 leaks have kept coming, featuring more camera details, information on a new Pixel Stand for charging and a look at a so-called "Live Spaces" widget that seems to simplify access mobile payments and passes. A leaked Pixel 6 promo video covers all the highlights.
One remaining mystery had been the cost of the new phones, though a new leak may have revealed that detail, too. Fortunately, it's good news — the Pixel 6 could cost $599 with the Pixel 6 Pro priced at $898, according to a tipster who saw the prices at a retail outlet.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be the flagship devices for Android 12, which also has a major visual design change.
Pixel Fall Launch: Pixel Pass
Google could come up with an unusual way of buying its new phones, through something called the Pixel Pass. The rumored Pixel Pass program would not only include a Pixel 6 device but also subscriptions to premium services like YouTube Premium, Play Pass and Google One. The package would be available through Google Fi, the company's wireless service.
As described in the rumor, Pixel Pass would be Google's response to the Apple One bundle, in which you can combine subscriptions to Apple's assorted services for a lower overall rate than if you paid for each service individually.
Pixel Fall Launch: What about Pixelbook 2?
There are some rumors swirling about the successor to the much-loved Pixelbook, which was a premium Chromebook. Considering the name of the October 19 event, we wouldn't hold our breath on Google announcing a new Chromebook or anything like that. Still, the company could surprise us, but we're just guessing and hoping at this point.
Pixel Fall Launch: What about the Pixel Fold?
The Pixel 6 isn't the only phone Google is reportedly working on. Rumors have suggested a foldable device called the Pixel Fold is in the works. Furthermore, some phone leakers have insisted that the Pixel Fold will debut this year — potentially alongside the Pixel 6.
We're not sure how likely that is, given that few Pixel Fold details have leaked — certainly not to the extent that the Pixel 6 has been detailed. That's usually a sign of a phone that's not quite ready for the spotlight.
Still, Google isn't shy about previewing new hardware long before it's released. So it's possible we could get a Pixel Fold teaser at today's event. Or this could be a situation when people waiting for a Google foldable phone will have to wait until next year.
Here's our argument for why Google could give us a Pixel Fold teaser today, even if it's not ready to announce the full foldable phone just yet.
Pixel Fall Launch: Other potential products
It's long been rumored that Google has a smartwatch of its own in the works that takes advantage of the company's Wear OS software. That said, rumors have been pretty quiet on the Google Pixel Watch front, leading us to assume that yet another Google event will come and go without any watch making an appearance.
An internet leaker tweeting as @AppleLe257 does not share our skepticism, claiming a lot of products will appear at the Pixel Fall Launch. In addition to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (sure), that leaker also claims that the Pixel Fold, Pixel Watch and Nest Speakers will appear today. The possibility of a Pixel Tablet is also hinted at.
Given the lack of track record for this particular leaker, and the fact that we've heard very little about a Pixel Watch recently, we'll chalk this up to a rumor that probably won't pan out. That said, we'll be happy to be surprised — because a Google Pixel Watch could blow away Galaxy Watch 4.
Pixel Fall Launch outlook
Google has said previously that it's taking things seriously with the Pixel 6. While previous Pixels have all been niche and enthusiast devices, the hope among many is that the Pixel 6 will finally push the phone family mainstream. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
We expect great things from the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, from the cameras to Tensor. While we're just as excited as you are to get our hands on the new phones, we wonder what remains for Google to tell us at the Pixel Fall Launch event other than an official price and release date.
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Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.