2021 was a big year for Google’s Pixel smartphones as it saw the chipsets switch from Qualcomm Snapdragon to Google’s own Tensor chips.
So, what will 2022 bring to the world of Pixel? We gather together all the news and rumours surrounding the new devices, as well as a few things we’d like to see when the Pixel 7 arrives.
When is the release date for the Google Pixel 7?
Google has yet to confirm that there will be a Pixel 7, but it seems very likely when you consider the move to the new chips, plus the heavy marketing campaign that is currently promoting the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Over the past few generations Google has settled on an October release for the main Pixel devices, with the cheaper versions, such as the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5a 5G appearing in the following August. There was also the Pixel 4a 5G, which appeared in November 2020, and is something of an outlier.
So, if Google sticks to this pattern, you should expect the new Pixel 7 handsets to make their debuts in October 2022.
How much will the Google Pixel 7 cost?
To get an idea of the cash you’ll need to stump up for the latest Google devices when they arrive, here’s how the recent generations have been priced.
- Google Pixel 6: £599/$599
- Google Pixel 6 Pro: £849/$899
- Google Pixel 5: £599/$699
- Google Pixel 4: £669/$799
- Google Pixel 4XL: £829/$899
As you can see, the price for the standard Pixel seems to have settled around the £599/$599 mark, while the Pro tier introduced in 2021 pushes things a bit higher. We would expect to see Google stick with these prices going forward, although the worldwide chip shortages and increased cost of manufacturing caused by Covid could see them creep up when the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are released. Hopefully not.
What features will we see in the Google Pixel 7?
Obviously, with the release of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro still quite recent, there’s little in the way of solid news about what you can expect to see in their successors.
With the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, Google introduced an entirely new design language for its smartphones. Gone were the plastic chassis and more generic aesthetics of the Pixel 5, replaced with premium construction and a bold look that featured a raised strip on the back that acted as a housing for the cameras.
We don’t expect Google will try reinventing the wheel with the Pixel 7 range, as most manufacturers like to keep a consistent aesthetic across a few generations, with Apple’s iPhone being the most obvious example. There will most likely be additional colours to differentiate the 7 from the 6, but aside from that we wouldn’t be surprised to see a more iterative approach to the new models, with the majority of upgrades being reserved for the internal components.
The current Pixel 6 and 6 Pro feature, respectively, 6.4in AMOLED and 6.71 LTPO AMOLED displays. Both support HDR10+, but the Pro version comes with a 120Hz refresh rate and a higher resolution than its more budget friendly brethren.
Google needs to have unique selling points for both tiers, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see these differences maintained in the new models.
We also know that Google is working on designs for an under-display selfie camera. The company has filed at least two patents so far, the most recent of which we've included here. Discovered by Lets Go Digital, it shows broadly the same sort of tech we've seen used for similar cameras in the likes of the ZTE Axon 30 5G and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
We don't know if Google is planning this tech for the Pixel 7 series, the rumoured Pixel Fold, or future phones like the Pixel 8 and beyond - but hopefully it's ready to go and good enough for the upcoming flagships.
Second-generation Google Tensor chips
One of the main talking points with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro was Google’s use of its proprietary Tensor chips. Much like Apple and Samsung, which use their A-series and Exynos chips in their flagships (although in some territories Samsung still uses Qualcomm Snapdragon chips), Google has taken the big step into controlling the design and production of the processors fitted to its devices.
Such an investment is definitely long-term, and 9to5Google has already reported on a potential clue to the arrival of 2nd generation Tensor chips when it spotted the codename ‘Cloudripper’ that is linked to a model number GS201 that could represent the new silicon. It sounds a little complicated, but during product development there are various codes that manufacturers use, and the detective work of 9to5Google is a solid sign that the new Pixels will come with the latest versions of the Tensor chips.
There’s no benchmarking that’s been spotted as yet, so we don’t know how the 2nd gen will compare to their predecessors, but we would expect Google to work on performance enhancements as well as energy efficiency, like any iteration of processors.
One interesting report we’ve seen from Mishaal Rahman on the XDA Developers site is that code he analysed for the Google Camera app, just before the release of the Pixel 6 devices, gave a few indicators of what could be included with the Pixel 7.
The code shows that a 2022 Pixel phone will most likely have an ultra-wide camera, as with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but doesn’t indicate the presence of a telephoto camera. Now this is the same as the Pixel 6, with the telephoto reserved just for the Pro model, but in 2022 that feels a little underwhelming compared to many potential rivals.
There’s good reason to think this might not actually refer to the Pixel 7 though. For one, while the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro had individual codenames (Oriole and Raven), this phone is only listed with one (Pipit). That's a name that other sources have linked with the rumoured Pixel foldable phone rather than the 7, so this may instead be a hint at that phone's camera spec - leaving us entirely in the dark about the Pixel 7 series.
What we’d like to see in the Google Pixel 7
With so little actually known about the Pixel 7, we can take this chance to bring our begging bowls to Google and ask for a little more than we received with the Pixel 6.
One of the main refinements we’d like to see is a reduction in the bulk of the Pixel 6. At 207g it is a hefty beast, so a lowering of the weight would make the whole experience a more pleasant one for the user.
The potential absence of a third camera in the standard Pixel 7 does seem a bit of an oversight when competing against the triple and even quad camera configurations of other phones in this price point, so we’d hope that Google could up the ante a little with the new model.
In our Google Pixel 6 review, we found the battery life to be very good, with the only real downside being the slow 30W charging capabilities, which in fact rarely even hits those speeds. This could do with being bumped up to the kind of speeds often found in Chinese devices across the board, which can see a 0 to 100% recharge in less than 30 minutes.
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro marked an excellent re-interpretation of a pure Google smartphone, so we’re excited to see what will happen when the new versions land in 2022. We’ll keep updating this article as more news becomes available, so be sure to check back regularly. Until then, you can read our roundup of the best news phones coming in 2022.