Home Android The million-dollar question about Google’s Pixel 6

The million-dollar question about Google’s Pixel 6

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Man, the Pixel 6 sure is shaping up to be one heck of a phone.

Now, don’t get too excited yet. Google’s next Pixel flagship is still far from being official, and we probably won’t hear a peep of confirmation about it (or be able to buy the blasted thing) until sometime ’round October.

But, well, it wouldn’t be a Pixel phone if it didn’t leak like an elderly badger’s mouth after a busy trip to the dentist. (Hey, even those dudes need the occasional crown.) And based on everything we’re hearing about the Pixel 6 so far, it might just be the compromise-free Google flagship phone we’ve been waiting to see since — well, since way back in the Nexus days of yore, really.

The latest leak, in case you haven’t heard, makes it sound like the Pixel 6 will come with five full years of software support — a hefty leap forward from the current three-year standard (and a possibility that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention). Combined with the eye-catching design and top-of-the-line specs we’re also expecting to see with the device, that could make for quite an enticing package.

For all the promising possibilities, though, there’s one big, frothy unknown about this latest Pixel model. And it could have a massive impact on the phone’s positioning, its reception, and its ultimate odds of success.

Stay with me for a sec, ’cause in order to get to the future of Google’s Pixel program, we’ve gotta gallop our way ever so briefly back through the past. With last year’s Pixel 5, y’see, Google made a significant shift with its phone-making strategy. In a sharp contrast to all the Pixels before it, the Pixel 5 took a distinctively value-minded approach. That meant a lower and more Nexus-reminiscent price tag (yay!). But it also meant a noticeable move away from the more premium nature of the first four Pixels and the very vision Google had built up around the brand (aww…).

That, as you can imagine, made for a blessing-and-a-curse sort of situation. I mean, sure, there was plenty to be celebrated about the Pixel 5’s more economical price tag and the phone’s laser-like focus on the most important parts of the smartphone-using experience. But there was also something undeniably lost with the move away from the more cost-requiring, higher-level niceties, including the exceptional face unlocking system Google had introduced to the Pixel line just one year earlier.

As I put it whilst chewing over the change last October:

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