Google Pixel 7 – Rumors and What We Know So Far

An Early Look at Google‘s 2022 Android Flagship Contenders

Google‘s Pixel line has shaken up the Android flagship space since its 2016 debut. The company‘s focus on nailing smartphone fundamentals like cameras, software, and design at more affordable pricing consistently wins over reviewers and enthusiasts alike.

The Pixel 6 series launched last fall as Google‘s most premium offering yet, introducing their own Tensor chip to enable market-leading AI and machine learning features. But Google is already gearing up to one-up themselves later this year – enter the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

While Google played coy about specifics during their recent I/O developer conference, they previewed enough to stir excitement for what these next-gen Pixels have cooking. Let‘s dive into the most credible rumors so far around release plans, upgrades in store, and how they size up to last year‘s impressive Pixel 6 generation.

Pixel Release Timeframe and Costs – What‘s Reasonable to Expect?

Google stated outright during their I/O keynote that the Pixel 7 lineup will land this fall. Looking at their track record, Google has launched new Pixel flagships every October since 2016:

ModelAnnouncement DateLaunch Date
PixelOctober 4, 2016October 20, 2016
Pixel 2October 4, 2017October 17, 2017
Pixel 3October 9, 2018October 18, 2018
Pixel 4October 15, 2019October 24, 2019
Pixel 5September 30, 2020October 15, 2020
Pixel 6October 19, 2021October 28, 2021

Barring any surprises, it‘s safe to pencil the Pixel 7 release into October 2022.

As for how Google will price these phones, their strategy has differed from traditional players like Samsung and Apple. Rather than chasing ultra premium price points, they aim to deliver best-in-class camera, software, AI, and design at reasonable prices for flagship-caliber devices.

Here‘s how the Pixel 6 models shook out:

  • Pixel 6 – $599
  • Pixel 6 Pro – $899

Google may inch prices slightly higher on the Pixel 7 generation considering component and shipping cost increases industry-wide lately. But expect them to try keeping devices as affordable as possible while pushing technical boundaries and delivering a uniquely helpful Google experience. I‘d bank on the Pixel 7 landing around $649, with the Pro hitting $949 tops. That keeps them very competitive versus other flagships landing this fall.

Slick Design Stays while Pixel 7 Pro Gains a Camera

Renders shared by Google confirm the Pixel 7 series will retain a very similar aesthetic to the much-praised Pixel 6 look. The bold horizontal camera bar housing lenses and sensors makes a return – now with an aluminum finish rather than glass. This flows nicely into the metal frame for a more unified, premium appearance.

The standard Pixel 7 seems to sport the same dual camera array as its predecessor, while the Pro model gains a third sensor – likely the rumored telephoto zoom lens. Both models are expected to retain IP68 dust and water resistance as well.

While overall sizes stay close to the Pixel 6 generation, a few tweaks stand out:

  • Pixel 7 – 6.3" screen (Pixel 6 was 6.4"), FHD+ 90 Hz OLED
  • Pixel 7 Pro – 6.7” screen, QHD+ 120 Hz LTPO OLED
  • Brighter display on Pro – peaks at 1000 nits brightness versus 800 nits before

The Pro also ramps up peak brightness headroom to 1000 nits – a 25% bump up from the Pixel 6 Pro‘s 800 nits max. This promises better outdoor visibility in bright sunlight. Panel technology remains high-end with the latest LTPO variable refresh rate OLEDs enabling smooth 120 Hz motion.

As for color options, Google confirmed Pixel 7 will land in Snow, Obsidian, and Lemongrass shades. Pixel 7 Pro swaps out Lemongrass for a Hazel gold-ish hue. Unique colors are a pillar of Pixel identity, so nice to see some fresh options to stand out from the black slab crowd.

Expect Camera Upgrades Emphasizing Software over Hardware

The Pixel 6 series already features some of the most impressive smartphone cameras available today – especially where computational photography capabilities are concerned. So while hardware may see modest improvements, expect Google‘s imaging prowess to get an even bigger boost from upgraded processing specs:

  • Pixel 7 main camera: 50MP, f/1.85 aperture (same as Pixel 6)
  • Pixel 7 ultrawide: 12MP, f/2.2 aperture (same as Pixel 6)
  • Pixel 7 Pro telephoto addition: 48MP (new for 7 Pro)

Rumors point to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro otherwise reusing the same Samsung camera sensors as their predecessors. But Google is promising enhanced photography and videography features powered by their next-gen Tensor chip.

Machine learning already helps Google flagship cameras punch far above their hardware weight class. For instance, last year’s Pixel phones introduced:

  • Magic Eraser to remove photobombers automatically
  • Motion Mode for stylized action shots
  • Real Tone for accurately capturing diverse skin tones

And software enhancements enabled by Tensor G2 likely have even more ambitious AI-boosted imaging on tap. I’m personally excited about rumors of new super resolution algorithms via machine learning that approach dSLR quality. Expect great shots – especially details in digital zoom – even from hardware that’s largely standing still spec-wise.

Revamped Tensor Chip Brings More AI Power

At the core of every new Pixel release sits a focus on providing uniquely helpful Google software experiences fueled by AI and machine learning. That custom approach continues with the second-generation Tensor G2 chip confirmed to power the Pixel 7 family.

While details are sparse, you can bet core CPU, GPU and machine learning hardware built into Tensor G2 will benchmark faster and more efficiently than last year’s model. That keeps Pixel devices at the leading edge to handle demanding photography workflows and Android multitasking with ease.

But raw speeds and feeds only tell part of the story. Google custom designed Tensor specifically to handle ML tasks and personalization critical to modern smartphone use. For example powering:

  • Voice-based Google Assistant commands
  • On-device high accuracy automatic speech transcription
  • Real-time camera processing and computer vision
  • Proactive, contextual suggestions from Google apps
  • Enhanced security and privacy safeguards

So Tensor G2 stands to make Pixel phones even smarter by turbocharging areas like real-world speech understanding, photography prowess, and proactively serving you helpful information or suggestions exactly when you need them. Expect the Pixel 7 series to feel downright prescient at times based on Google’s AI advancements here.

Charging Speeds, Fingerprint Reader, and More

Beyond headlines around cameras, performance and software, a few other promising upgrades are rumored for the Pixel 7 family:

Faster charging – 30W wired charging could best the Pixel 6’s mediocre 21W speeds. 23W wireless charging is also said to be on tap. These bumps promise to help offset battery life concerns some felt about the Pixel 6 duo at launch.

Improved fingerprint reader – Pixel 6 owners widely complained about the slow, inaccurate under-display fingerprint performance. Moving to a faster ultrasonic scanner paired with refined software could make unlocking Pixel 7 models much more reliable.

Connectivity – Rumors point to WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 support for faster streaming and accessory connectivity. The Samsung Exynos 5G modem powering 5G networking may be carried over however.

Audio – Stereo speakers are said to be tuned by Sonarworks this cycle for a more balanced, accurate sound profile. Great for media playback.

The Pixel 6 was a watershed release getting so much right while moving the price-to-experience ratio forward in users’ favor. Google seems set to build on those foundations with excellent iterative upgrades via the Pixel 7 family. But there are still a few areas that can stand refinement as we’ll discuss next.

Lingering Pixel 6 Woes that Users Want Addressed

Make no mistake – the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro scored home runs across the board, cementing their spots among 2021’s finest smartphones. But a few nagging issues left some enthusiasts wanting more. Common pain points fans hope get ironed out with the 7 series include:

Battery life

Pixel 6 battery life disappointed many buyers, especially heavier users. Android Police testing showed particularly poor results for the Pixel 6 Pro – it drained a full 19% faster than the Galaxy S21+ despite having a bigger battery.

Google promises gains in both performance and efficiency from Tensor G2 that should directly benefit stamina. Fingers crossed those gains, combined with faster charging, lead to excellent uptime even under demanding workloads.

Charging speed

Complementing battery life woes, Pixel 6 charging velocities are downright sluggish by 2022 flagships standards. The phones peak at just 21W wired which takes nearly 2 hours for a full charge! Google looks to be addressing this with rumored 30W charging capabilities – hopefully putting them back among the fastest charging options this year.

Fingerprint scanner performance

Google bet big on embedding fingerprint readers beneath their Pixel 6 displays. But the scanner proved painfully slow and inaccurate in real-world testing – sometimes taking 4-5 seconds just to unlock. Many users disabled security altogether out of frustration.

Strong rumors suggest Google will rectify this with a next-gen ultrasonic reader and better ML-focused software. If they stick the landing here, it brings sorely needed biometrics convenience back into play.

Cellular connectivity

Some Pixel 6 buyers reported issues like intermittent 5G connectivity or trouble maintaining signals – especially coming from areas with poor coverage. Reliable network connectivity is table stakes, so hopes are high Google will tune the Pixel 7’s Exynos modem and antennas to maximize reliability.

Outlook on Google‘s 2022 Android Flagship Contenders

Google massively leveled up fundamentals like photography, software smarts and value with the Pixel 6 generation. Early returns suggest they’ll stick to a winning formula with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro – introducing subtle but meaningful upgrades focused on real user benefits versus gimmicks.

I’m especially bullish about the assistant and camera improvements an upgraded Tensor chip stands to unlock. Google already sets the pace pushing AI/ML advancements that make smartphones radically more helpful. And the Pixel 7 series looks ready to stretch those leads even further while keeping prices reasonable relative to rivals.

Of course rumors don’t always materialize, and Google could have surprises up their sleeves outside leaked tidbits. But based on what we know today, I’d absolutely keep the Pixel 7 series on your shopping lists if eyeing a smartphone upgrade later this year. Pre-orders will kick off soon once Google takes the stage this October to launch their stellar new flagships!

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