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Google exec confirms: new under-screen fingerprint scanner for Pixel 6a

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Ask a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro user to tell you the most aggravating problem he or she has faced since purchasing the new flagship phone from Google and you will probably hear that it is the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor under the screen used by Google is a cheaper optical version and sometimes does not register the user’s fingerprint.

Pixel 6a with improved battery scanner below the screen

To say that Pixel 6 series owners were outraged would be an understatement. Although subsequent software updates have significantly improved the performance of the biometric reader, there is still a lot of room for improvement. There has been speculation that Google was planning to including facial recognition facial recognition system with the Pixel 6 Pro, but decided against it at the last minute.

So what about the under-display fingerprint scanner on the just-announced Pixel 6a mid-ranger? Android Central spoke yesterday with Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, who confirmed that the Pixel 6a will use a different sensor than the one in the Pixel 6 series. Hopefully, Google now understands that trying to save some money on certain components can backfire, especially when it comes to your company’s new premium flagship phone line.
It will be interesting to see how Google approaches the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 7 series that is expected to land in October. If the scanner used on the Pixel 6a passes the audition, that’s the model Google could use for the follow-up models. Another possibility would be that Google would cut its profit margin to equip the 2022 flagship Pixels with an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor similar to the one used on the Samsung Galaxy S22 line.

Want a flagship-sized Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro?

While we don’t know why Samsung put the kibosh on facial recognition for the Pixel 6 Pro, it remains a possibility for the Pixel 7 series. However, Google is dealing with some sort of public relations problem here. How will owners of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro react if the fingerprint scanner on the cheaper Pixel 6a seriously outperforms the scanners on the more expensive flagship units?

With the Pixel 7 less than half a year away, does Google owe those Pixel 6 buyers who took a backseat to the team a special discount/trade-in deal when the Pixel 7 goes on sale?

Pixel 6a is expected to be released on July 28 and will cost $449

As for the Pixel 6a, pre-orders will start on July 21 with a price of $449 or 24 monthly payments of $18.71. The device has 6 GB LPDDR5 memory and 128 GB UFS 3.1 storage. The phone will be released a week later, on July 28, with a 6.1-inch OLED display with an FHD+ resolution of 1080 x 2400 and an aspect ratio of 20:9. The cover glass is protected with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3.

Under the hood, you’ll find the same Google Tensor chipset used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The rear-facing camera array includes a 12.2MP dual-pixel wide camera with an aperture of f/1.7 and Super Res Zoom up to 7x. There is a 12 MP ultrawide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a field of view of 114 degrees.

The battery (4410 mAh) will last more than 24 hours, according to Google, and with the Extreme Battery Saver set to decline power to certain apps, the company says it can expect up to 72 hours between charges.

Color options for the Pixel 6a include sage, chalk, and charcoal.

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