Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL names briefly confirmed by Google

A recent Pixel 6 leak gave us plenty of information to chew on regarding the upcoming handsets, but it seems at least one detail may be incorrect if Google’s own documents are to be believed.

The company has recently been touting a new Android 12 feature for developers called Game Mode where app makers can make device-specific optimisations for their titles. XDA spotted that a form for developers to ask for said optimisations on Google handsets suggested both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL as possible answers.

References to both handsets have since been removed from the form. 

While the XL naming convention has been used multiple times by Google (with the Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4 XL and Pixel 3a XL handsets), the name does go against the recent Jon Prosser leak which claimed that the larger 2021 handset would simply be called the Pixel 6 Pro.

There are all kinds of possible explanations for this, from a simple typo to the form being written by someone only casually familiar with the company’s upcoming handsets, but it is also possible that the XL name could be returning after a brief hiatus with the Pixel 5.

While few companies acknowledge the existence of upcoming handsets until they’re actually formally announced, Google is a little different in that respect. It famously tweeted early pictures of the Pixel 4 after a leak indicated it was on the way, and it recently confirmed that the Pixel 5a is on schedule in the face of cancellation rumours

This casual mention of the Pixel 6, however, feels completely unplanned – especially as references to the handset were removed pretty quickly.

While it’s certainly true that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the name that Google ultimately plumps for could indicate how the company sees the two handsets relative to each other. While “XL” suggests a handset that’s largely the same but bigger, “Pro” points to a device with several key improvements. If Prosser’s report is correct, the latter is more accurate, with upgrades including a 48-megapixel telephoto lens and 12GB RAM mooted.

Both devices will apparently be powered by Google’s brand new GS101 chip, so it will be fascinating to see how the handsets do in our benchmarks when we finally get our hands on them. Typically Google holds Pixel-specific events around October time, so we likely have a while to wait, unfortunately.

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