Google first showed the Pixel 7 series at its I/O 2022 conference in May, unveiling two phones that seemed more iterative than revolutionary.
Both devices offer similar designs to the Pixel 6 series, with those camera bezels, center-mounted punch cutouts, and nearly identical camera specs to last year. You’d be forgiven for thinking these are Pixel 6 variants. But there’s a strong argument that this is exactly what the Pixel line needs.
A History of the Flip-Flop
Robert Triggs/Android Authority
Looking back at older Pixel hardware, it’s easy to see a historical lack of commitment to consistency. Each subsequent device often felt like an experimental release rather than part of a cohesive product line and long-term strategy. It’s almost as if the company decided on features by throwing darts at a board.
Perhaps the most prominent example of this was the Pixel 4 series, which dropped the rear fingerprint scanner, dual selfie cameras and single rear camera of the Pixel 3 range in favor of 3D Face Unlock, a single selfie camera and main/telephoto dual -Reversing cameras were abandoned. The move to 3D Face Unlock meant the phones couldn’t sell in some markets (e.g. India) as Soli radar technology was used to launch face recognition as soon as you reached for the phone.
Google has taken a scattershot approach to its Pixel phone strategy in the past, making big changes in what seems like a whim.
Then there was the Pixel 5, which ditched the Pixel 4’s flagship performance for a mid-range chipset and ditched a main/telephoto camera setup for a main/ultrawide combo. Google has been a bit more consistent with its software features, but you never really knew what you were getting with Pixel hardware.
This inconsistency is also reflected in the numerous issues we’ve seen with Google phones over the years. Whether it’s the original Pixel’s bootloop and microphone issues, or the Pixel 3 and 4’s back cover peeling off, it seemed like every release was accompanied by a serious problem.
The Pixel line’s lack of focus could also be partly to blame for numerous hardware and software issues.
These shortcomings are not a thing of the past either; Google’s current Pixel 6 series suffers from numerous problems. The company’s semi-custom Tensor chipset is prone to heating up, while its poor wireless connectivity is also well-documented. The phones have also suffered from software bugs related to fingerprint scanners, phone calls, Bluetooth and more.
Why consistency would help the Pixel 7
The upcoming Pixel 7 series phones, on the other hand, seem to represent an iterative Google rather than a company starting from scratch. And there are many reasons why that’s a good thing.
The main reason to welcome an evolutionary release of the Pixel series is that it gives Google the opportunity to focus on fixing the above issues that the Pixel 6 family has encountered. After all, it doesn’t start all over again, which means it doesn’t have to spend a lot of time on aspects like hardware and the overall design.
Hopefully, therefore, the time that would have been spent on a complete overhaul will be spent fixing software glitches, making the bug swarm of Pixel 6 series launches a thing of the past. It also means that Google can theoretically refine its Tensor processor to reduce overheating and unreliable connectivity.
Google can focus on solving Pixel 6 pain points because it’s not starting from scratch with Pixel 7.
An evolutionary approach also means Google can focus on refining what is already working, such as B. the cameras. For years, Google stuck with a 12-megapixel main camera, which allowed it to improve its image processing with each successive Pixel release, until it decided to introduce a 50-megapixel sensor with the Pixel 6 series. All indications are that the 50-megapixel sensor will be retained, giving Google another chance to tweak its image processing and algorithms.
Do you think a more iterative Pixel release is a good thing?
Finally, this approach may also free up resources for future Pixel Feature Drop updates. Also, the shared hardware DNA between the two Pixel generations could potentially allow the Pixel 6 to inherit Pixel 7 features across the board.
Aside from software fixes and product improvements, an evolutionary approach also offers an overarching potential benefit. This strategy could help Google lay the groundwork for future growth.
A chance to delve into what the Pixel actually is
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
While Google may not be able to address every single major Pixel 6 issue with the release of the Pixel 7, a more familiar phone will allow the company to fine-tune its smartphone strategy in general. Despite its phones boasting excellent camera processing, years of updates, and some innovative software features (e.g. call monitoring, recorder), Google hasn’t really done a good job of conveying why people should buy its phones over the past few years. At least not for the mainstream public, which was reflected in the shipment figures for the longest time before the release of the Pixel 6 family. But that is changing.
The move to semi-custom silicon and a consistent design language suggest Google is backing its Pixel strategy.
There are signs that the company is indeed pursuing a strategy, with the company’s Tensor processor playing a crucial role. The semi-custom chipset offers plenty of machine learning that Google uses for differentiating features like offline voice dictation, magic eraser, and face unblur. We already know that the Tensor G2 will join the Pixel 7 series, so we expect Google to build on this already impressive foundation for more AI-powered features.
Another sign that Google is finally pursuing a consistent strategy for the Pixel line is simply the look of the Pixel 7. The design is broadly in line with the Pixel 6 series, with the prominent rear camera bar showing an effort to create a coherent Maintaining a design language across generations. We haven’t seen this from a flagship Pixel line since the Pixel 3 series. It’s really important; You certainly won’t confuse the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series with Samsung or Apple imitators.
A more iterative Pixel 7 allows Google to keep going uphill instead of stopping again to switch wheels.
All of these points indicate that Google and the Pixel team are finally pulling together. A more iterative release of the Pixel 7 means Google isn’t reinventing the wheel this year, but it does allow the company to keep going uphill rather than stopping to change wheels again.
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