Phone business

Pixel 7 leaks show Google finally has consistent phone business

Enlarge / Here is the Pixel 7 Pro. It looks like the Pixel 6.

The Pixel 6 is only a few months old, but the first leaks of the Pixel 7 designs have come out. Google seems to have sent the CAD files to the case manufacturing industry recently, since Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka OnLeaks) and David Kowalski (aka xleaks7) released Pixel 7 renders today.

These unofficial render leaks are usually based on metrics that Google needs to send to third parties to get accessories (like cases) ready for their release dates. That means the shape of everything has to be millimeter-accurate, but finer details (like materials, colors, or the placement of camera lenses inside a camera block) can still be up in the air.

Even with those caveats, there’s no getting around the big picture presented by the two renders: the Pixel 7 looks just like the Pixel 6. We loved the design of the Pixel 6, so bringing it to the Pixel 7 is the best result we could have hoped for. . The upcoming mid-range Pixel 6a is also expected to follow the same design pattern. We actually ended the Pixel 6 review by saying, “Hopefully this is a fresh start for Google Hardware: the start of a stable and consistent product roadmap, consistent hardware design, and process important year after year.” So far, it looks like we’re getting all the stability and consistency we were hoping for.

Having similar designs year over year for hardware is a standard thing for most professional hardware makers. But it’s google we’re talking about, so that level of stability and cohesion is actually a major milestone. Previously, Google’s phone hardware efforts were so turbulent from year to year that this level of consistency was impossible.

The side of the Pixel 7 Pro render.
Enlarge / The side of the Pixel 7 Pro render.

The Pixel 1 XL was built by HTC and the Pixel 2 XL was built by LG, so the phones had almost nothing in common. With the Pixel 3, manufacturing moved to Foxconn, just like an iPhone, and also in 2018 Google struck a $1.1 billion deal to buy much of Foxconn’s smartphone engineering team. HTC. The following year, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL phones were the first versions since the Pixel 1 to look like a pair of devices. Then Google chose to skip the flagship smartphone market for the Pixel 5. The transition from Pixel 6 to Pixel 7 appears to be Google’s first flagship phone cycle where it didn’t reboot everything and start from scratch. This is progress! Progress might be slower than expected from a nearly $2 trillion company, but that East progress.

Speaking of continuity, the Pixel 6 introduced the Google Tensor SoC, which was made in collaboration with Samsung’s Exynos division. For the Pixel 7, we know that a Tensor 2 is already in the works. 9to5Google was able to dig up codenames and model numbers related to the chip, which is believed to come with an unannounced “Exynos Modem 5300”.

The camera block details on these early renders are still the most fragile parts, but both renders show very large lens holes that could indicate upgraded camera hardware. Again, upgrading camera hardware every year is normal for most manufacturers, but it would be a significant maturing point for Google Hardware, which previously recycled the Sony IMX362/3 sensor into Pixel 2s. , 3, 4 and 5. Google seems to have moved the mmWave window to the top edge of the phone in both models. Currently the window is a large plastic cutout in the middle of the phone, and in these renders the window is moved to the side.