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Image: Google

Google's latest Pixel phones, announced Tuesday, pack a lot more than just a new processor, although the Tensor chip is a key to many of the new features.

Between the lines: Google has been in the smartphone business for years, but with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it is finally striking out in a unique direction.

Details: The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both pack the Tensor chip, Google's first smartphone processor. The cameras are priced lower than much of the competition — $599 for the standard cellphone model and $899 for the Pro version.

  • The camera advances come from both larger sensors as well as new computational photography features that allow for some pretty advanced tricks. The Pixel 6 can create motion blur while keeping a subject sharp or it can remove blur from the subject by combining multiple images. It can even erase an unwanted person or object from the background with a "magic eraser" feature.
  • The Tensor is also put to work for other uses. When you call a company and get an automated system, the Pixel 6 can listen for you and turn the options into buttons with text. It can also wait on hold for you and alert you when a human finally comes on the line.
  • The design also aims to stand out from the competition, featuring a prominent raised camera bar on the back to make room for those larger image sensors, which include a 4x optical zoom on the Pro models.

The phones ship Oct. 28, with pre-orders beginning today.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 20, 2021 - Technology

With Pixel 6, Google's phone finally stands out

Photo courtesy of Google

While Google has been making its own Pixel phones for years, the Pixel 6 marks a turning point, and not just because the company has shifted to using its own Tensor processor to power the device.

Why it matters: Google has invested a great deal in its hardware operations, but it has yet to capture a significant share of the market.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."