Google lifts the lid on the Pixel 4 and its Soli radar chip, hints at a November release date
Google is generating hype about its next flagship differently than most OEMs. While most either companies publish coy press releases or are silent about leaks and rumours before a grand unveiling, Google is drip-feeding information online months ahead of the expected release of the Pixel 4. Previously, it tweeted a glimpse of the device on its @madebygoogle account, and now it has detailed what its Soli radar chip will do.
Dealing with what will be the most talked-about matters first, Soli is a "motion-sensing radar" that converts gestures made in front of the Pixel 4 into actions that "allow you to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls". Google calls this Motion Sense, although it will apparently only be available "in select Pixel countries", so expect the US and other English-speaking countries to receive the feature at least a few months earlier than other countries. The Pixel 4 will also use Soli in conjunction with two IR cameras, a dot projector and a flood illuminator for 3D facial authentication. Google claims that Soli "proactively turns on the face unlock sensors" as you reach for the Pixel 4, which should make unlocking the device with your face quicker than it would be with the likes of the iPhone XS and Mate 20 Pro. Best of all, Google seems to be taking security seriously too, with the Pixel 4 storing any images of your face on its Titan M security chip. Moreover, any data captured by Soli "processed on your phone", and "never saved or shared with other Google services".
So, that is the obvious stuff. The press-release and accompanying YouTube video also contain several other hints at what may be to come for the Pixel 4 too. Firstly, the device will have a colour contrasting power button, as all previous Pixel smartphones have had. Secondly, there is a thin grey bar down the upper-middle of the left-hand side of the display, which we have not seen in any Android Q beta releases. It looks like the new gesture bar in Android Q, so it will be interesting to see whether Google will allow people to customise its positioning.
Moreover, the YouTube video shows a woman changing tracks on an unknown music app. This could well be a refreshed version of Google Play Music, although it has a drastically different UI to the current version or something new entirely. Incidentally, the video shows a short animation appearing after every successful Motion Sense gesture, which is a nice touch. Finally, and this one may be a bit of stretch, but the press-release photo has the time at 11:11. A hint to a November 11 release, perhaps?