As we get further from the release of Pixel 6, we’ll learn more about Pixel 7. So far, what we’ve heard about Pixel 7 has made it seem like it power be a relatively small upgrade, but that’s not a bad thing. Here’s why.
What do we know about the Pixel 7 so far?
First of all, let’s summarize what we know so far about the Pixel 7. As we first reported back in October last year, Google is working on a second-generation Tensor chipset, something we all expected to see. Earlier this year, we were also able to link this new chip, the GS201, directly to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Along with that, our talented team of Kyle Bradshaw and Dylan Roussel established “Cheetah” and “Panther” as the codenames for Pixel 7 and 7 Pro and found out that these devices come with an updated mobile modem with the new chipset.
Reproductions of Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, according to the well-known @OnLeaks, also help draw a picture of what to expect from Google’s new phones. The designs are largely unchanged, as seen below, with the most notable change being an adjustment to the appearance of the camera module. The Pixel 7 also appears to be a slightly smaller phone compared to what came before, while the Pro model has roughly the same size.
Also this week a demand has been spread around that Google will keep roughly the same camera hardware on the Pixel 7 series, despite the tweaked visual design. According to that claim, the only meaningful changes will come from optimization and software changes. While the design leaks we’ve seen to date open up the possibility of different hardware, the several years Google kept with its original camera sensor support this idea of reusing the GN1 and other existing sensors.
Is Google adopting a “tick-tock” cycle?
Given what we’ve learned so far, it certainly looks like Google’s Pixel 7 will be a minor upgrade over its predecessor, which is definitely a change of pace compared to what we’ve seen over the course of Pixels. life. The original Pixel and its successor are distinctly different phones, and each subsequent generation has seen at least a handful of updates and changes over the course of a year.
What Pixel 7 could start with is what is known as a “tick-tock” cycle. Generally, a “tick” year is where not many notable updates are made, while a “tock” year delivers more significant changes. This is a pattern that other brands like Apple and Intel have been following for years.
Here’s why this cycle could be a good idea for Google in the future.
Why a minor Pixel 7 upgrade is a good thing
Refinement is the key to modern smartphones
Smartphones have had a plateau, at least in their traditional forms. Collapsible and other new form factors are exciting, but the good old record has largely peaked. A “tick-tock” cycle for Google means that one year focuses on a major update and another that focuses on refining the big idea and squashing the bugs and problems instead of the next big thing.
Following the laundry list of issues that Pixel 6 has faced in the last few months, this is the best possible course Google could follow. What could a “tick” year look like for Google in Pixel 7? It can be a device with better network performance, more consistent software updates and a replaced fingerprint sensor. These would be minor updates after most measurements, but in a year focused on refinement, they are exactly what we would like to see.
Tensor needs time
Another benefit of spending less resources on the next big thing is that it opens the door for Google to put more focus on Tensor. While the first generation of the Tensor chip was impressive for being a first show, it’s not hard to see where it fell short.
As mentioned, the connection on the Pixel 6 is significantly less reliable compared to smartphones that use Qualcomm chips. It also seems clear at this point that the switch to Google’s own chipset led to a lot of software issues, particularly in terms of update speed. We’ll probably never know what’s specifically delayed so many Pixel 6 updates over the last many months, but it’s not hard to imagine that a change in workflow was a major contributing factor for Google’s teams.
If Google is able to spend less time building a new design or delivering on some great new feature, it’s giving the company a little more to throw on Tensor’s sophistication. Of course, with Google’s teams usually split up, there’s a good chance this will not happen, but one can certainly hope.
Accessories do not need to be reinvented
While you will often hear from enthusiasts that cases are unnecessary, the truth is that smartphone accessories, and especially cases, are incredibly popular. The problem with Google’s Pixel lineup to date is that the series has changed so much that it is difficult for some of these brands to invest in continued support. If a year is disappointing in terms of sales, it has traditionally been a loss for case-makers on that generation of Pixel. The research and development costs that have sunk into that year have been largely wasted.
With a “tick-tock” cycle, Google would ease that burden and risk a bit. The leaky dimensions of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are different from the current Pixel 6 series, which means that case manufacturers will still have to make some adjustments to their cases, and existing models will not be reusable, but it will still ease the burden a bit. Plus, Google could double this in the future if a “tick-tock” cycle were to continue for a while.
Since beloved brands from previous years no longer make cases for newer Pixels, this is important in the future!
What is the disadvantage?
Delays the acquisition of new features
Adopting a release cycle that ignores large features, of course, means that the addition of new features is slowed down, usually quite dramatically. This can result in Google falling behind the rest of the Android crowd.
A good example of this is Apple, which is traditionally slow to adopt new features. Part of it is Apple’s mindset of waiting until something is up to a certain standard, but the company’s long “tick-tock” cycle, which is apparently happy to double “ticket”, is also partly responsible for the slow introduction of faster refresh rates, wireless charging and new camera features such as periscope lenses.
However, it’s clear that this has all worked out in Apple’s favor. There is probably also a balance that Google can strike with this. New features such as faster charging speeds, an updated fingerprint sensor or tweaked optics are all things that in theory are fully possible in this existing design.
The unbearable weight of massive expectations
However, the biggest problem that Google will face if it continues to move forward with a “tick-tock” cycle is the huge expectations that the company has built up in its fanbase. Pixel is more thoroughly analyzed and scrutinized than any other Android smartphone, especially by the enthusiast community. Just look at the Pixel 6 Pro, which is constantly being missed by enthusiasts, but which is often praised by those who buy it as their personal phone.
Our Damien Wilde recently focused on that situation in his recent revisit of the Pixel 6 Pro.
Word of mouth is a big deal for a small player in the smartphone field, and there are certainly vocal groups swearing by the Pixel series and some who have very valid complaints due to the perceived lack of quality in both hardware and software.
My own retail unit has had almost no issues. Which, according to the internet, means I’m probably in the minority. Without ruling out the experiences of certain owners when things are good, and in most cases they are, the Pixel 6 Pro is still among the very best on Android.
The enthusiast market is one that wants the next big thing immediately and is very vocal when things are not going quite right. The average consumer that Google really wants is not so preoccupied with that sort of thing, but enthusiasts have a voice influencing other markets. A Pixel 7 that turns out to be a minor upgrade will be fine for some, but not enough for others. This is a line that Google needs to balance.
What do you want Google to do?
Personally, I really want Google to stick with a “tick-tock” cycle that starts with this Pixel 7’s upgrade. I think it will be better for the lineup in the long run. But what do you think? Should Google try to keep up with the latest and greatest, perhaps at the expense of the overall experience? Let’s discuss in the comments!
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