Google Pixel 6 adds an under-display fingerprint reader but drops the under-display earpiece speaker
In a surprising announcement yesterday, Google gave us an early look at the new Pixel 6 lineup that will launch later this fall. Featuring the in-house Tensor SoC, capable cameras, an industrial design, and plenty of AI tricks, the new Pixel series is finally ready to ditch its mid-range identity and aim for the flagship status.
The Pixel 6 is a massive upgrade over its predecessor through and through. It also does away with the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and opts for an under-display fingerprint scanner — just like you would expect from a proper flagship. Google confirmed to The Verge that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 come with under-display fingerprint scanners.
We first spotted evidence for this inside the second Developer Preview of Android 12 back in March, which contained several hints suggesting that a future Pixel phone might feature an under-display scanner. This was further corroborated by leaked renders which showed the lack of a physical fingerprint scanner on the back.
Google hasn’t confirmed if the under-display fingerprint scanner is optical or ultrasonic. But it’s very likely to be optical given that the Android 12 code mentions support for “HBM,” or High Brightness Mode, which is used to improve optical fingerprint recognition by increasing the brightness of the display near the scanner.
In addition, both phones seem to drop the under-display earpiece we saw on the Pixel 5, replacing it with a traditional earpiece speaker (via 9to5Google). Again, this is something we knew from leaked renders. This is indeed a welcome change as many Pixel 5 owners have complained about the under-display speaker being too loud and leaking sound all over the place.
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are slated to launch this fall and will be available in at least eight countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, and France. Both phones will pack high refresh rate displays, improved cameras, and offer many AI features, including on-device auto-captions.