Google’s Pixel 6 Pro might be the ultra-premium phone we’ve been asking for (The Daily)

Yesterday, new renders surfaced from Jon Prosser and RendersByIan that show off two new phones from Google: the Pixel 6 and the much longed-for Pixel 6 Pro.

That’s right, folks. As confirmed by a few rumors in the past and these renders (which seem credible according to other leakers), Google is finally gonna make a Pixel phone with an adjective attached to its name to describe how premium it is.

Up until this point, Google hasn’t focused on making the most premium-looking phone, nor has it tried to include the most powerful specs. Instead, it’s wanted to build an experience that relied on software optimization.

That’s proven to be a not-so-successful approach for the company. Early Pixel phones were received pretty well, as were last year’s Pixel 5 and 4a/5G. But devices like the Pixel 3 and 4, phones that weren’t impressive spec-wise, wound up being disappointing due to lacking RAM and small batteries. And while the cameras and software were great, the overall experience was bested by competitors like Samsung and OnePlus.

I’ve been calling for Google to go all-out on specs since rumors sparked up about them switching to a mid-range Snapdragon chip for the Pixel 5. I’ve never run into someone who wouldn’t buy a Pixel phone if it had more powerful hardware like a Galaxy. Could you imagine a Pixel with a Snapdragon 888, 12GB of RAM, gobs of storage, three cameras on the back, and a huge battery? Chances are, you’d at least consider buying it when you go shopping for a new phone.

Fortunately, 2021 might bring a device like that to fruition with the Pixel 6 Pro. The renders in question show off a design that’s nothing short of premium. It’s also unapologetically Google with its strange back design. The camera housing protrudes from the top of the device and stretches the entire width, while multiple different colors are used to add accents and a unique look.

Everything about the phone looks shiny, too, which will definitely grab consumers’ attention. I’d obviously have to hold the phone in my hand to get a good read on it, but early impressions from afar are positive, so long as this is the design Google sticks with.

Even the Pixel 6 looks great. It’s the smaller phone in the photo above, and I’m digging it. It has one less camera lens compared to the larger model (two instead of three), but I’m sure it’ll be just as nice to look at and use.

Obviously, these renders don’t give us any clue as to what specs will be packed inside, but they do seem to reveal an in-display fingerprint reader will be added this year. It also looks like Google’s Soli-powered face unlock won’t be present.

No doubt about it, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are shaping up to be exciting phones from Google. The Pixel 6 Pro, in particular, will receive a ton of attention if it can go head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and Apple’s Pro-grade iPhones.

I’m of the opinion that this is the direction Google needs to go if it wants the Pixel series to survive. Last year’s mid-rangers were nice, and it’s good for Google to focus on the middle of the smartphone market since it’s so good at making phones in that price range. But everyone knows the shiny phones get all the attention, and carriers like to market expensive devices much more often.

Hopefully, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro pan out to be as fantastic as rumors are suggesting they will be. We’ll just have to wait to find out.

ZTE will ship its flagship Axon 30 Ultra in the US starting June 4th

About a month ago, ZTE announced its new Axon 30 and 30 Ultra smartphones. They’re both flagships, and only one of them will be coming to the United States: the latter.

Today, ZTE announced that the Axon 30 Ultra will go up for pre-order in the US on May 27th, with orders beginning to ship June 4th. If you preorder, you’ll get a free pair of ZTE’s Livebuds TWS earbuds, which I guess could be intriguing. The device will retail for $749, the exact price I assumed it would run (hate to brag, just sayin’).

From my initial report on the device:

The Axon 30 Ultra features a usual glass sandwich design with a “ZTE 5G” logo on the back and a huge camera bump. The display measures in at 6.67-inches and uses OLED. Its resolution sits at 1080p, however, but at least you get HDR10 support and a refresh rate of 144Hz.

Under the hood, the device is powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. There’s a 4,600mAh battery which can charge at up to 66W. ZTE also includes an in-display fingerprint reader, 5G connectivity (obviously), and Android 11.

On the back, you’ll find a set of three 64MP cameras consisting of a main shooter, an ultra-wide lens, and a telephoto. There’s also a fourth 8MP periscope lens which gives you 5x optical zoom. Between the various focal lengths, you can zoom up to 60x.

The main camera comes with optical image stabilization while the other cameras do not. You also get 8K video recording, up to a 120-degree field of view thanks to the ultra-wide lens, improved night mode photography, and more.

Meanwhile, there’s a 16MP selfie camera on the front which remains above the display instead of beneath it, unlike the Axon 20.

I’m curious as to how many people actually buy this phone. I haven’t reviewed a ZTE phone in a long time, and I know they haven’t had the best success in the US over the past few years. Maybe things will change with the Axon 30 Ultra, but I doubt it.

Qualcomm pulls out of in-person MWC 2021 appearance

Another one bites the dust.

Just days after both Samsung and Lenovo suspended their physical appearances at MWC 2021, Qualcomm has confirmed it won’t be offering anything in-person at the trade show either. “While we appreciate the health and safety measures being put into place by the GSMA for MWC Barcelona, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and customers for Qualcomm’s participation to be virtual this year,” the company said. “We look forward to engaging with the ecosystem through Cristiano Amon’s virtual keynote on June 28th and through our latest announcements and 5G demonstrations.” (Via TechCrunch)

I’m not sure how many more companies would need to pull out of MWC 2021 for them to switch to an online-only format. They’ve already lost Google, IBM, Samsung, Lenovo, Nokia, Oracle, Sony, and Ericsson. That list will likely continue to grow as concerns over COVID-19 grow.

Expect to hear more on this story as we get closer to MWC’s kick-off date of June 28th.

There’s a new Nokia flip phone in the US that’s compatible with Facebook and the Google Assistant

If you know someone who refuses to upgrade from a flip phone but they need something new, look no further than the Nokia 2720 V Flip that’s coming to the US via Verizon. It costs $79.99 and packs in a ton of features for what it is, including Facebook and the Google Assistant.

Apps like WhatsApp are also available, although I’d imagine it’s a nightmare trying to type on that T9 keyboard. Still, people buying flip phones likely aren’t doing a ton of texting anyway, so this might be the perfect solution for grandparents who like a flip phone and want a more modern feature set.

The phone comes to the states on May 20th.

Twitter announced today that it’s adding the ability to search your DMs on Android. That’s cool and all, but what’s really cool is its pre-announcement that searching for content within your DMs is coming “later this year.”

I don’t really use Twitter DMs a lot, but I can tell this feature will be much appreciated by heavier users. Still, though, you can’t do any sort of advanced searches in the Twitter app for general Twitter content, and there’s no word on when that might come.

Microsoft Surface Duo can be purchased for half its original price

I know there’s not a lot of people who are actually tempted to buy a Microsoft Surface Duo. I get it. The folding thing isn’t for everyone, the software’s bad, the camera’s trash – need I go on?

But there’s gotta be someone out there who’s been tempted to buy one, and they couldn’t justify spending $1,399 on one. Fortunately for them, today’s their lucky day: BuyDig is having a huge sale on the Surface Duo.

Right now, you can get the phone for just $699, 50 percent of the original asking price. That gets you 128GB of storage and GSM carrier support.

BuyDig notes on its website that the discount is good until May 16th so you’ll wanna jump on it ASAP. I, for one, will not be buying one, but you go right ahead if you need to burn $700.