Google's Pixel 6 could bring new feature to keep pace with iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21

Pixel 5 ahead of Pixel 6
Will the Pixel 6 pack a fancy extra piece of text? (Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6 launch is approaching, tipped to be shown at Google IO 2021, and it now look like it will come with a key piece of tech found in competing phones, such as the iPhone 12.

The tech in question is ultra-wideband (UWB) support, and both Mishaal Rahman at XDA Developers and the team at 9to5Google have heard that the Google Pixel 6 could well arrive with UWB capabilities built in.

UWB is a short-range communication protocol a bit like NFC or Bluetooth – it enables devices to talk to each other with great precision. The particular benefits of UWB are that it can report a location very precisely, and it doesn't use up much power at all.

As well as appearing in the iPhone 12 (and iPhone 11), you can find UWB in a growing number of devices, including some of the Galaxy S21 models, and the Apple AirTags and Galaxy SmartTags trackers that help you track down your lost possessions.

Pixel 6, Pixel Trackers?

Right now both Rahman and 9to5Google are emphasizing that UWB technology is by no means nailed on to appear in the Pixel 6 - however if it did, it would allow Google to consider creating a Pixel-based rival to Apple's item-tracking AirTag.

At this point there haven't been any indications that Google is working on some smart device trackers of its own to rival Apple's newly-launched device.

It would make sense for Google to put UWB support inside the Pixel 6 though – the technology is starting to appear in the majority of flagship phones now, and it has plenty of potential uses in relation to smart home connectivity and augmented reality.

The Google Pixel 6 predictions are now starting to come through thick and fast as we get towards the middle of the year, hinting strongly that an official launch is on the way. 

So far we've heard that Google might be working on its own chipset for the phone and that the larger XL model could be making a return.

We're expecting Google to unveil the phone towards the end of 2021 – perhaps in October – but it's worth keeping an eye on the Google IO event that starts on May 18, because we might get an early tease of the upcoming handset there.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.