Google may have built a better iPhone with the Pixel 6
Macworld|December 2021
The Pixel 6 isn't just a new phone-it's a whole new outlook.
MICHAEL SIMON

Just hours after Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors (fave.co/3pS9xNj) at its “Unleashed” event in October (fave.co/3BDLGCY), it was Google's turn to grab the spotlight with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (fave.co/3Bxm5VL). And while the October events brought very different products, Google's strategy with its newest phones seemed awfully familiar.

It's not like anyone will mistake the new Pixel for an iPhone. After looking like a cheap iPhone knockoff for years (fave.co/2ZH6tbG), Google finally broke out with a unique design that actually looks pretty good. The marquee feature is the camera bar, a bulbous strip across the back of the phone that houses a row of cameras. It's a nice departure from the square array used by the iPhone and previous Pixel and Galaxy phones and gives the Pixel 6 real character.

But aside from how it looks, the new Pixel phones are more Apple-like than ever. For starters, they have a Google-made chip, dubbed Tensor. Google claims it's up to 80 percent faster than the Pixel 5, but it's less about speed than it is about bringing the things that Google does best onto the device: Al, computational photography, and power efficiency.

Tensor isn't just Google's first CPU—it's also a recognition that off-the-shelf processors are limiting. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 may be fast and power efficient, but it falls short in the things Google needs it to do, in a scenario that's not unlike Apple's Intel troubles. By making its own CPU, Google is able to build a phone from the inside out and focus on the features that make the Pixel stand out. It might not be the fastest Android phone you can buy, but it'll be the most capable.

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