As the Google Pixel 6 Pro release date neared, it seemed like we knew everything there was to know about the upcoming Google phones. We’ve seen renderings, spec sheets, even teardowns, camera samples, and pricing for some markets. What we’re learning now is that Google can go Apple’s way and make it harder to repair the Pixel 6 Pro, especially the camera module.
According to a leaked page of the Google Pixel 6 Pro technical repair manual, Google appears to be pairing a triple camera module with a single device from the factory. The document states that “the RL rear camera is calibrated at the supplier’s site to ensure image / video quality after repair”. This page was posted for Repair.Wiki and the Wiki page mentions that a replacement module “is different from the production camera module which is mated to the original logic board.”
Source: Repair Wiki
This means that one may not be able to use the camera module from an existing Pixel 6 Pro and install it on another device. It also suggests that a replacement module may need to be hard-coded to work on another Pixel device. The same document says “If you change the motherboard: ASP must also change the rear camera RL to the mark ‘GEO’. For the replaced rear camera of the original device, keep them, and RTV (Return To Vendor). “
In a YouTube video, Louis Rossmann explains that since Apple made camera module repairs with the iPhone 12 more difficult to perform outside of Apple’s authorized repair network, other vendors may see this as a opportunity to do the same. There’s no accusation that Google will make third-party or DIY repairs more difficult, but the clues point to that. Still, this should be confirmed by taking two Pixel 6 Pro devices apart and swapping out the camera modules to see if they work or not.
Rossmann wonders what is the advantage of coupling a camera module to the motherboard. The leaked document claims that it is about “securing the image / video quality after repair”. but this statement is met with skepticism.