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Google Pixel 6 event: Pixel 6, 6 Pro, Android 12 and all the launch news – TechRadar


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An image of the Google Tensor chipset

(Image credit: Google)

Oh, and what about that chipset running these two new PIxel 6 phones? The Tensor one (that we keep wanting to call the Tencent)?

It looks like it’ll power some really great photography capabilities – but there’s surely more to it, right?

Right. And we’ve got all the information you need in our ‘What is the Google Tensor chip, anyway?‘ piece. Read it if you’ve got some time to kill. It’s a good toilet read.

Pixel foldable patent

(Image credit: Google / Patently Mobile)

We’re guessing that, if you’re reading this the next day after launch, you’re curious as to what’s going on with Google.

So you’re likely with us in being really annoyed that the Pixel Fold still hasn’t emerged as an actual thing, as the rumored model sounds really good.

It’s mostly because this could be one of the first mainstream rollable phones, among a host of other fancy features – but that’s all moot now as it didn’t happen.

Anyway, it hasn’t dulled our desire to bring you all the important rumors and leaks we hear about this phone, so you can still catch up on the latest Google Pixel Fold facts.

Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Google)

OK, maybe it’s less about the best of the best, but how about the two new phones compared? How are the screens different – does 120Hz make a difference? What about battery? What about price, availability, release date or internal storage? So much to know… so we’ve gone to the trouble of finding out for you.

Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: how do the new phones compare?

Google pixel 6 pro next to iPhone 13

(Image credit: TechRadar / Google / Apple)

Right, how about the thought of two of the very best flagship phones on the market compared? That’s what we’ve done for you – taken the Google Pixel 6 Pro, and our early impressions, and compared it to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

While they share very similar screens, they also come with a big disparity in power… and what about the cameras? We need to test side-by-side, but can the Pixel 6 pick things back up?

Check it all out and tell us which one you prefer – at this early stage – over on Twitter.

Android 12

(Image credit: Google)

The switch has been flipped! Android 12 is released, and it’s coming to the Pixel range of phones first.

Android 12 is launching with plenty of upgrades, but the biggest one is Material You, a user interface overhaul that lets users choose from color palettes and then makes all the icons and menus sync to those colors. 

We’ve confirmed it’s available on our Pixel 5a, although the regions and rollout may vary – and if you’re on a non-Pixel phone, get ready for a longer wait as the brand build their software and connect it up to the relevant hardware.

Let’s talk first about the price: it’s all over the place. 

The Pixel 6 Pro is fine, starting at the $899 / £849 / AU$1,299 price we’ve been told. But in the US, the Pixel 6 comes at $599 if you’ve only got one flavor of 5G, either sub-6 or mmWave.

The other two US mega-carriers, Verizon and AT&T, both confirmed to TechRadar that the Pixel 6 models they sell connect to their respective sub-6 and mmWave networks. These versions are pricier as a result: the Verizon Pixel 6 starts at $699, while AT&T’s Pixel 6 pricetag is $739.

Confusing, ain’t it?

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So, we’re now on the day after the big Pixel 6 launch event – and a lot has happened since. Let’s catch you up.

Yep, that’s it – thank you for joining us for our Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro launch event live blog. We’ll be covering these smartphones more over the next few hours and days.

A sum up is happening on screen, and we can hear pianos starting. That seems like it’ll be the end of the big event.

That’s it – the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are fully announced, and you’re able to pre-order the handsets today. You’ll then be able to buy them on October 28.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Marie Kondo – yep, that Marie Kondo – just turned up during the live stream. The company is showing off how the phone can live translate, and Kondo is saying the features work fantastically well.

It’ll be interesting to see how quickly these features work in real life and whether this video has been trimmed down to make it easier to watch. Either way, this is still a very big upgrade for anyone who wants to be able to translate quickly.

These translation features are also included on the camera app, so that should allow you to read signs in foregin languages or menus in restaurants when you’re on holiday.

Another new feature is called Live Translate, which allows you to reply to messages in English and then it’ll automatically translate to your chosen language. The idea here is it’ll be useful when speaking to friends and family who speak in another language.

This happens all on the Pixel 6 device itself, so you won’t need to be online for this to be working.

Plus, you can now enter emojis with your voice. That’s a big deal if you like using messaging apps with your voice, but you find it a hassle to include the little images.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Speech is the next subject, and it sounds like there may be improvements in the way you can talk directly to your smartphone. 

There’s an on-device speech recognition model on the smartphones, and its most the advanced speech recognition the company has ever released. This should make it far more accurate when you’re speaking directly to your smartphone.

One example given in the show was the ability for your phone to realise someone’s name in your contact book and work out that’s who you’re talking about when speaking to your phone.

Think about this being useful when you’re talking about a friend called Katherine, rather than Catherine.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Here’s some more detail on Real Tone.

– Better face detection

– More nuanced auto white balance

– Improved auto exposure

– Reducing stray light

– Less blurry portraits

Real Tone is a new Pixel 6 camera features that is designed to improve the quality when taking photos of people of color. 

Google is talking about how there are biases within traditional imaging technology, and this is an attempt to tackle the problem.

We don’t yet know exactly how this will work, but it sounds like it’ll be a feature that is activated by default on the camera.

Google Pixel 6 event

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Evan Spiegal, Snap CEO is now part of this launch. There’s a new feature coming to Pixel handsets that allows you to double tap on the rear of your handset so Snapchat will openly immediately.

This seems like something you’ll want to change in the settings if you’re keen on Snapchat. It won’t be activated by default.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Onto the next camera feature, which is something called Face Unblur. This is designed to ensure you can fix faces that are blurred in your images. Again, this looks fantastic but we’re keen to try it out for ourselves. 

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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This sounds like a feature that may be exclusive to Tensor-toting phones, so it may just be available on the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. It could be a software upgrade that comes to older Pixel phones, but Google hasn’t made that clear yet.

Now we’re onto some of the software features, and one of those is a feature called Magic Eraser. This is a tool that allows you to erase elements you don’t want from photos, including people.

Your phone will automatically work out the elements you may want to remove, and give you the option to do it quickly. We’d love to try this feature out properly as it looks too good to work properly in every day life. Fingers crossed we’re wrong.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google says this is “the most advanced camera on a phone”. It’s a 50MP wide camera with a 1/1.31″ image sensor size. The primary sensor captures 2.5x as much light as the Pixel 5.

There’s a 12MP ultrawide camera, while the Pixel 6 Pro features a telephoto camera as well. You won’t get great zoom from the Pixel 6, but the Pro is designed to offer 4x optical zoom and 20x digital zoom.

Google says it has been working on Tensor for the last few years, and it’s optimized to work on Google’s ML models. What does that mean for you? It’s still not entirely clear, but it should mean Google has a lot more control over what its chipset is capable of doing.

Here’s some more on Google Tensor, which is the new chipset available on these phones. This is the first time we’ve seen Pixel phones with the company’s own chipset inside.

Google Pixel 6 event

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Security is the next big talking point, and the company is claiming this is the most secure smartphone on the market. A new Titan M2 element of the Tensor chip is designed to help protect the data on your smartphone.

There are five years of security updates on the Pixel 6, too. That’s guranteed by the company.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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We’re onto Android 12, and how it intergrates with the Google Pixel 6. Google says this is the “best expression of Android”.

That’s mostly because the Material You design is available here. Other manufacturers won’t be able to offer this as clearly on other android phones.

What does Material You, do?  It’s designed to allow you to customize your whole phone’s user interface. If you swap to a blue wallpaper, it will then bring that blue shade into the rest of the interface.

It’s an exciting update, but this is mostly something that you’ll find useful on Pixel devices. If you own a device from Samsung or another Android phone maker, it’s currently unclear if you’ll get these features.

Google is talking about its upgrades as if its the best at offering new features to older smartphones. That’s a bold statement considering Apple is much stronger at doing this.

The Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch 90Hz display, while the Pixel 6 Pro comes with a 6.7-inch 120Hz screen. If the want the best refresh rate, you’ll want to opt for the new flagship phone.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google knows this camera design isn’t subtle. It pretty much just said so in its script, but it seems the company had to push its design to be able to fit this camera into its latest smartphone.

This does seem to be more around what the camera can do, rather than it being a specific design choice. You’ll either love it or hate it, in our opinion.

Google Pixel 6 event

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And here’s the Pixel 6 Pro price, which costs $899 / £849 / AU$1,299. That’s remarkably higher than other Pixel phones, but it’s still cheaper than the similar competition from Samsung or Apple.

Oh, Google just told us the price. This phone costs $599 in the US. That’s cheaper than the Google Pixel 5 was at launch. If you live in other regions, you’ll find it costs £599 in the UK and AU$999 in Australia.

The Pixel Camera Bar is the name for that new camera system you’ll find on the Pixel 6 series. It’s a unique look, and we’ve already heard some differing opinions on the design of this smartphone.

There are also new privacy and security features, but there’s no further information yet on what those will be. We’re expecting to hear about those soon.

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Google Pixel 6 event

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Rick from Google is on screen right now, but what you really want to know about is the Pixel 6. So we’ve had both the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro into our labs for testing.

You can read about them both below.

That’s some Material You looking intro slides we’re seeing here. That’s the big upgrade we’ve had from Android 12.

Google Pixel 6 event

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Two minutes until the event starts. Before this all kicks off, I’d just like to thank you for joining TechRadar this evening. Hopefully we can entertain and inform you throughout this big event.

Now, let’s get started…

Ah, we spoke too soon. Here we are – the music has begun and we’re seeing images of the phones on the screen. The caption says “The show starts soon. Stick around to be among the first to meet the brand new Google Pixel 6.”

The music is similar to what you’d find on that lofi hip hop radio, beats to relax/study to on YouTube. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, check out this YouTube channel next time you want some background music.

10 minutes to go, and it’s weirdly silent when these events don’t have hold music playing as the introduction.

With 20 minutes to go, we’re getting settled in ready for the launch. One of the big questions is how long the launch will be? Yesterday’s Apple event was only an hour or so long, so it may be Google aims to keep this one trim as well.

You may be joining us for just half an hour as the company rattles through its Pixel phones, or it may be a longer affair with far more announcements throughout it. Anyhow, you’re here with us ready to learn about everything Pixel 6.

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Getting settled and ready to watch? You don’t have to use the YouTube linked at the top of the screen. The company is also allowing you to use its own event website that you can find in the tweet below:

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Less than 24 hours ahead of the launch, tech leaker Snoopy provided us with some photos of the new Pixel 6. Unlike other launches, this hasn’t set the tech world aflame as we’ve known what the design will be like for some that.

That said, it’s helpful to have some context about what the new smartphones look like in real life. Here’s the examples:

Jeremy Kaplan, Content Director at TechRadar, says, “Frankly, Google gets a bum rap for its Pixel phones. Yes, the battery life has been an issue with some models. But in terms of value for your money, they’re usually unbeatable. And Google has done a really excellent job ensuring that the latest software — and therefore the latest security updates — are immediately available across its devices. 

“This has been a real sore spot for phones from even the biggest brands (I’m looking at you, Samsung!) Throw in the company’s really important work on computational photograph, and a design that at tries to step away from the “it’s a black slab of glass and metal” look and you’ve got a lineup that should stand out in people’s eyes. 

“Is Pixel perfect? Nah, nothing is. But Google deserves more recognition than it gets.”

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Less than two hours to go until the big event so we’re going to run you through what you should expect later today. These are the big elements we expect to hear about directly from Google.

  • Google Pixel 6 – the company’s next flagship handset
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro – the company’s first ever premium tier smartphone
  • An update on Android 12 – perhaps a release date for the new software?
  • Maybe a surprise – Google Pixel Fold, new Pixel Buds or maybe something totally different

How much are these phones set to cost? One leak suggests the Pixel 6 will cost less than the Pixel 5 at $599 (roughly £435 / AU$810) while the Pixel 6 Pro will cost more at $898 (around £655 / AU$1,215).

Those translations are just rough prices, so you should likely expect a higher price in the UK and US.

This matches what we’ve heard directly from Google, even though the company hasn’t yet given us any figures. Google hardware executive Rick Osterloh was quoted in Der Spiegel as saying the Pixel 6 ‘belongs in the upper segment’ of phones as a ‘mainstream premium product.’

He even said the Pixel 6 Pro would be “expensive”, so that may mean this leak is accurate or we may see the prices trickle even higher for this latest series of smartphones.

What’s all this about the Google Pixel Watch, then? We’ve heard of this device for years and years. In fact, this may be one of the most anticpated smartwatches of all time.

Rumors said we may see the Google Pixel Watch debut by the end of 2021, and this is one of the last opportunites for the company to introduce it. A big leak has suggested it won’t be coming today though, so it’s likely we’ll be waiting until 2022 until the Wear OS flagship device rears its head.

What colors will you be able to buy the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in? We already know each colorway for the new phones, but we’ve yet to hear what they’ll be called. As it’s Google, expect them to have some kooky names.

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Three Google Pixel 6 side-by-side, rear view

The Google Pixel 6 (Image credit: Google)
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Three Pixel 6 Pro, from the back, side by side

The Google Pixel 6 Pro (Image credit: Google)

You can see the colors for each above, and we expect to learn the names for each variant at today’s big event.

Daryl Baxter, Software and Downloads Writer for TechRadar, is excited about anything Android 12 related today. The new software isn’t yet available on phones, but we may hear about what it’ll be landing.

He said, “‘After a month of iOS 15 being available, it’ll be interesting to see how Android 12 will work with themes and widgets. That’s something iOS users have long requested.

“If we hear any more about this, such as more themes for the Pixel 6, it could be alluring to many who want to upgrade.”

What surprise would you like to see appear at today’s Pixel event?

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Unlike most phone launches, we actually know what both the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will both look like. This isn’t through leaked information either as the company has been consistently teasing the new handsets.

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Google Pixel 6

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Rear of the Pixel 6 Pro showing the camera bar and lock key

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Side profile of the Pixel 6 Pro

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Front of the Pixel 6 Pro with the display on the homescreen

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We’ve seen the company reveal the handsets online, and it has then followed this up through other events such as installing them in the window of its New York City flagship store.

Usually a company like Google would want to leave this big reveal for when the handsets debut, but this unique approach has meant we’ve had a lot of time to get used to the design and now we’re more excited about the upcoming phone’s features.

There may be a few surprises today, but it’s unlikely we’ll hear anything big around the phone’s design as we know all of those details already.

Will there be anything from Google’s Nest brand today? Carrie Skinner, Homes Editor at TechRadar, said, “I don’t expect Google to launch any new Nest devices tonight because we’ve already seen a number of smart home devices launched during the year. 

“At the end of August, four new Nest home security cameras and video doorbells were announced, while its smallest smart display, the Google Nest Hub, was given an overhaul in March this year.”

So what is the Google Pixel Pass? This has been leaked over the last few weeks, and it’s expected to be a rival to Apple One. It’ll be one subscription service where you can get access to all of Google’s services such as YouTube Premium and Google One cloud storage.

On top of that, the leak suggests it’ll allow you to upgrade your phone yearly with whatever the new Pixel phone is. For example, if you bought into Pixel Pass on the Pixel 6 you’d be able to upgrade in 12 months time to a new Pixel 7.

There’s no gurantee this will be launching alongside the Pixel 6, but one big leak heavily suggests it’ll be ready to go later today.

Olivia Tambini, Audio and Music Editor for TechRadar, says, “Given that the Pixel Buds A-Series launched just a few months ago, we don’t think it’s likely that we’ll see a new pair of Pixel Buds at today’s event. 

Saying that, there is a small chance that Google could use this opportunity to announce an upgrade to its Pixel Buds (2020) and bring us the Pixel Buds (2021). 

The Pixel Buds A-Series are a cheaper, less premium version of the 2020 Pixel Buds, so a new version of the latter could see some upscale features like active noise cancellation introduced to the range.

How can you watch the Pixel 6 launch event? The link below will allow you to tune in directly from Google’s own stream.

When the event kicks off you’ll be able to watch the live stream directly above, or click through to the video on YouTube itself. You can also set a reminder so you don’t miss the event.

Beyond that there is one other way to watch: Google has set up a website for the event which you can find by clicking here. The site gives the basic event information, and lets you change the appearance of the website by holding the space key (a reference to Android 12‘s Material You feature).

There’s no actual reference to an event live stream on the site, but other parts of Google’s product website suggest the video will be streamed there.

It’s very possible that Android 12 could roll out to eligible phones after the unveiling event later – that’s full-fat Android, not the beta. By ‘eligible’ we mean one of the last few generations of Pixel phone, as other brands need to create their own versions of Android 12.

We don’t know this for sure, but there’s no harm in getting your Pixel phone ready if you’re excited. Perhaps back up your data and charge up your phone ready for official news on the matter.

If you do have a Pixel phone and are excited for Android 12, you might get an extra bonus, as it seems likely that the update’s biggest feature won’t actually come to other phones, at least until 2022. That’s Material You, the theme redesigning feature, and Google hasn’t actually shared the code for it with other phone brands yet.

If you were hoping the Google Pixel Watch could show up today… sorry, but we’ve been hearing unsubstantiated leaks about its debut before every Pixel event since time began, so you’ve only got yourself to blame at this point.

Case in point, a big leaker has just said the smartwatch isn’t coming today – apparently, it’ll more likely come in the first few months of 2022, though that again sounds like a vague guesstimate.

Either way, don’t hold your breath for the anticipated Wear OS showcase, and it sounds this is a mobile-focused launch.

A Pixel 6 in Kinda Coral, held by someone wearing a red dress

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Oh Google (or Amazon, we’re not sure who’s at fault here): the Google Pixel 6 Pro has already been listed, complete with all the specs.

The page ‘confirms’ that the phone will pack an OLED screen, a 120Hz refresh rate, a powerful 12GB of RAM, an under-display fingerprint camera… it’s all listed over on Amazon if you want to see the full specs(although we imagine it may get taken down soon).

We are saying ‘confirms’ because this doesn’t mean it’s certain to be the final spec list – time and again we’ve seen retailers put a product page live before the announcement, only to find out it’s based on the rumored specs we’ve been bringing you.

In this case though, it seems far more concrete, based on some of the detail. Saying “~89.0% screen-to-body ratio” and “Triple 50 MP, (wide), PDAF, OIS, 48 MP, (telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 4x optical zoom, 12 MP, (ultrawide), Features Dual-LED flash, Pixel Shift, Auto-HDR, panorama, Video 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS” for the camera feels far more of a spec sheet reprint than an intern copying down info from the web.

Well, only a few hours left to find out if this one is right…

Welcome to Google Pixel 6 launch day. This is one of the strangest smartphone launches of the year as we’ve seen this handset teased multiple times online, appear in TV adverts, and even in the shop windows of the company’s New York City store.

However, there are still a few key details we don’t know. We don’t know how much it’ll cost, when it’ll be released, a few of the core specs and we don’t know what the company’s new Tensor chip is really capable of.

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Google Pixel 6 phones on display

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Google Pixel 6 phones on display

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Google Pixel 6 phones on display

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Google Pixel 6 phones on display

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Google Pixel 6 phones on display

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The Google Pixel 6 will be fully revealed later today during the company’s big launch event. What else can we anticipate to see? There will certainly be a reveal for the Google Pixel 6 Pro.

Other potential announcements include further details on Android 12 and when it’ll arrive on other Pixel phones as well as reveals for the Google Pixel Watch or Google Pixel Fold.

Stick with us throughout the day to hear everything we see in the runup to the big event such as last-minute leaks and teasers we see from Google HQ.





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