Wed. Dec 7th, 2022

Google first showed off the Pixel 7 series in May at its I/O 2022 conference, revealing two phones that seemed more iterative than revolutionary.

Both devices offer similar designs to the Pixel 6 series, with those camera viewfinders, center-mounted punch-hole cutouts, and near-identical camera specs as last year. You’d be forgiven if you thought these were Pixel 6 variants. But there’s a strong argument to be made that this is exactly what the Pixel lineup needs.

A flip-flopping story

Google Pixel 5 Pixel 4 Pixel 3 backs

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It’s easy to see a historical lack of commitment to consistency when looking at older Pixel hardware. Each successive device often felt like an experimental launch rather than part of a cohesive product line and long-term strategy. It’s almost as if the company decides the features by throwing darts at a board.

Perhaps the most prominent example of this was the Pixel 4 series which ditched the Pixel 3 line’s rear fingerprint scanner, dual selfie cameras, and single rear camera in favor of 3D face unlock, a single selfie camera, and dual cameras. dual rear main/tele. The switch to 3D facial unlocking meant the phones couldn’t be sold in some markets (such as India), due to Soli’s use of radar technology to initiate facial recognition as soon as you reached for the phone.

Historically, Google has taken a scattershot approach to its Pixel phone strategy, making major changes on what seems like a whim.

Then there was the Pixel 5, which ditched the Pixel 4’s flagship powerhouse 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 the Pixel hardware.

This inconsistency is also reflected in the many problems we’ve seen with Google phones over the years. Whether it was the original Pixel’s bootloop and mic issues or the Pixel 3 and 4’s back cover coming off, it seemed like every release was accompanied by a serious issue of some sort.

The Pixel line’s lack of focus could also be partially to blame for numerous hardware and software issues.

These defects are not a thing of the past either; Google’s current Pixel 6 series suffers from numerous issues. The company’s semi-custom Tensor chipset is prone to running hot, while its poor wireless connectivity has also been well-documented. The phones also suffered from software bugs related to fingerprint scanners, phone calls, Bluetooth, and more.

Why consistency would help the Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7 series color schemes Google

The upcoming Pixel 7 series phones, on the other hand, seem to represent a more iterative Google rather than a company starting from scratch once again. And there are many reasons why this is a good thing.

The main reason to welcome the launch of an evolutionary Pixel series is that it gives Google a chance to focus on fixing these aforementioned issues it encountered with the Pixel 6 family. After all, you’re not just starting over from scratch. meaning you don’t need to spend a lot of time on things like hardware and overall design.

So hopefully the time that would have been spent on a complete rework is spent on fixing software issues, for example making the swarm of bugs from the Pixel 6 series launch a thing of the past. It also means that Google can theoretically refine its Tensor processor in a bid to reduce overheating and unreliable connectivity.

Google can focus on solving the weak points of the Pixel 6, since it’s not starting from scratch with the Pixel 7.

An evolutionary approach also means that Google can focus on refining what already works, like cameras. Google stuck with a 12MP main camera for years, allowing it to polish its image processing with each successive Pixel release until it decided to go with a 50MP sensor with the Pixel 6 series. All signs point to it retaining the 50MP sensor, which will give Google a chance to fine-tune its image processing and algorithms once again.

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Finally, this approach also potentially frees up resources for future Pixel feature updates. Also, the shared hardware DNA between the two Pixel generations could allow the Pixel 6 to get the features of the Pixel 7 in the future.

In addition to software fixes and product refinement, there is also an overall potential benefit to taking an evolutionary approach. This strategy could help Google lay the groundwork for future growth.

An opportunity to address what the Pixel really is

Close-up of the Google Pixel 6 color camera bar in Sorta Seafoam

Jimmy Westenberg/Android Authority

Even if Google can’t address all of the Pixel 6’s major issues with the launch of the Pixel 7, a more familiar phone will allow the company to refine its overall smartphone strategy. Although its phones offer excellent camera processing, years of updates, and some innovative software features (eg Call Screening, Recorder), Google hasn’t really done a great job of communicating why people should buy its phones in years past. . At least not for the general public, which was reflected in shipping numbers for a longer time before the launch of the Pixel 6 family. But that’s changing.

The move to semi-custom silicon and a consistent design language suggests that Google is finding its Pixel strategy.

There are signs that the company is really delving into a strategy, with the company’s Tensor processor playing a crucial role. The semi-custom chipset has plenty of machine learning power, which Google uses to differentiate features like offline voice dictation, Magic Eraser, and facial blur. We already know that the Tensor G2 is coming to 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 adopting a consistent strategy for the Pixel lineup is simply the look of the Pixel 7. The design is broadly in line with the Pixel 6 series, featuring the distinctive rear camera bar that shows an effort to maintain a cohesive design language across generations. We haven’t seen this in a flagship Pixel lineup since the Pixel 3 series. That’s really important; You certainly won’t mistake the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series for Samsung or Apple copycats.

A more iterative Pixel 7 allows Google to keep going uphill instead of stopping to change wheels yet again.

All of these points suggest that Google and the Pixel team are finally pulling in one direction. A more iterative launch of the Pixel 7 means Google isn’t reinventing the wheel this year, but it allows the company to keep going uphill instead of stopping to change wheels yet again.

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