Google launches Tensor chip, new Pixel 6 smartphones - but probably not for NZ

The new chip promises a "transformed" camera experience, the company says.
The new chip promises a "transformed" camera experience, the company says. Photo credit: Supplied

Google has unveiled its new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones - but New Zealanders wanting to buy one are looking at a long wait.

The Pixel, first launched in 2016, is unavailable to buy from Google's online New Zealand store, with Kiwis having to order via online stores who import the phones themselves.

Google had no comment to make when asked by Newshub whether the latest models would be available in Aotearoa or what advice they would have for Kiwis who wanted to parallel import them from Australia, where they are sold.

The new phones are due out later this year and, as part of the upgrade, Google has taken a leaf out of Apple's book by announcing a move to its own custom chip, this one called Tensor.

Google CEO Sundar Picahi said the chip was four years in the making, building off two decades of computing experience. He also said it was the biggest innovation in the Pixel to date.

Tensor replaces Qualcomm's Snapdragon series of chips which have mostly driven the Pixel since its launch.

Apple has been building its own A-series chips for iPhones, iPads and Watches since 2010 and, last year, announced its M-series chips, which power the most recent versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and iPad Pro.

According to Google, the Tensor can process the company's most powerful artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models directly on the phone.

That promises "a transformed experience for the camera, speech recognition and many other Pixel 6 features," Google said.

Other details about the specifications of the phones were absent from the announcement, although both versions will come in three colours.

The Pro version also comes with a telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom. That lens isn't on the non-Pro version, although the three cameras remain otherwise identical.