Last week Google showed off its upcoming Pixel 6 phone, but in true Google fashion, not too many details were revealed, but enough to create interest in the products.
Despite the lack of details, it still gives an indication of what smartphones will look like in 2021. So far, Google does not manufacture premium phones, a market that they more or less released to Samsung. But as the manager of the Android platform, Google has a clear interest in its success. Therefore, it is not surprising that Google is copying Apple.
Google was probably hoping to steal attention from Apple when they unveiled their Pixel 6, as the next Iphone will be released within a month. It is a strategy that can pay off. But what it means above all is that it is possible to determine where these two players have chosen to put gunpowder and energy – which gives us an insight into what the future holds for smartphones.
Cameras are among the most integrated hardware in a smartphone. Apart from the phone’s processor, few things get the same attention as the camera year after year, when Apple, or their competitors, release new phones. It’s almost ridiculous that we still say ‘phone’, given that most people probably call less than they use it to take pictures.
Smartphone manufacturers are constantly trying to outdo each other when it comes to the camera, Google is no exception. With Pixel 6, they have invested in a remarkable novelty: a 4x “curved” zoom lens in Pixel 6 Pro, which exceeds the Iphone 12 Pro 2x zoom lens.
If patents are an indication, then Apple already has experimented with curved lenses, and while it is unclear if this feature will appear in the Iphone 13, it is likely that Apple will implement a similar camera in a future Iphone.
Google has also taken the camera’s hump to the next level. Instead of trying to hide it, they have made it a detail that spans the width of the phone. Something I do not expect to see on Iphone 13, but since the camera development shows no signs of stagnation, maybe it’s time to consider a thicker phone? If Apple were to choose to do this, it would not only reduce the camera hump but also satisfy one requirement everyone has: battery life.
Apple has long been among the best when it comes to the screen, but the Pixel 6 Pro’s screen seems to surpass the Iphone when it comes to the screen’s refresh rate. Google’s top phone will have a screen that can handle 120 Hz, a feature that provides smoother movement and animations.
If you think that number sounds familiar, it’s because Apple already in 2017 implemented that type of screen in the iPad Pro. Then it was not only the smoother experience that was praised, but also the ability to adjust the screen frequency to match the content and thus save battery.
Since then, it has been a technology that is expected to make its entrance to the Iphone. 2021 may be that year and it will not be a cold shower if it is only implemented in the Pro models (by the way, it is only Pixel 6 Pro as a 120 Hz screen).
Tensor is the future
One idea that Google grabbed for the Pixel 6 from Apple, which was also the biggest news, was their new SoC (System on a Chip) Tensor, which Google itself was involved in developing. So far, it is unclear exactly which parts Google itself has developed, but what is obvious, based on the name Tensor, is that it originates in Google’s Tensor Processing Unit, their cloud-based neural network system – whose focus is machine learning and artificial intelligence. .
Tensor seems to be Google’s answer to Apple’s own neural engine, which first appeared in Apple’s A11 Bionic Chip. Google says Tensor will promote photography and video recording. Most of the examples that were shown to those who had the opportunity to see the Pixel 6 event were just photos and video.
If you take a step back to see the bigger picture, it shows that Google quietly admits that if you want to move forward in the smartphone industry, the old adage weighs from Alan Kay still heavy: “People who take software seriously should make their own hardware.”
This gives potential to the smartphone arms race. The good news is that the competition between Apple and Google will be tougher than ever. And it’s something that benefits all users, no matter what platform they use.
Original article by Dan Moren
Translated and edited by Petter Ahrnstedt