Google is doing a pretty good job of spilling the beans on its upcoming Pixel 4 handset. We’ve already had a glimpse at what it looks like, and now the company has officially revealed that – as rumours had suggested – it will use Project Soli tech for some pretty advanced features.
In a blog post, Google has revealed that the Pixel 4 will use Project Soli – which is based around radar technology – to pick up motions and gestures. “Radar, of course, is the same technology that has been used for decades to detect planes and other large objects. We’ve developed a miniature version located at the top of Pixel 4 that senses small motions around the phone, combining unique software algorithms with the advanced hardware sensor, so it can recognize gestures and detect when you’re nearby.”
Pixel 4 will be the first device with Soli, but Google isn’t using this as a one-off gimmick. “These capabilities are just the start, and just as Pixels get better over time, Motion Sense will evolve as well,” the blog post reads. Google is clearly investing a lot into Soli so you can expect to see it on future Pixel – and Android – phones as well. However, rather worryingly, Google concludes by saying that “Motion Sense will be available in select Pixel countries”.
Pixel 4 Features Are Starting To Leak Out
High-level motion-sensing capabilities are one thing, but that’s not all Google has planned for the Pixel 4. Just as Apple revolutionized the way we unlock our phones with the iPhone X a few years back, Google aims to change things up with the Pixel 4. “Face unlock may be a familiar feature for smartphones, but we’re engineering it differently,” the company says.
“Other phones require you to lift the device all the way up, pose in a certain way, wait for it to unlock, and then swipe to get to the home screen. Pixel 4 does all of that in a much more streamlined way. As you reach for Pixel 4, Soli proactively turns on the face unlock sensors, recognizing that you may want to unlock your phone. If the face unlock sensors and algorithms recognize you, the phone will open as you pick it up, all in one motion. Better yet, face unlock works in almost any orientation—even if you’re holding it upside down—and you can use it for secure payments and app authentication too.”
Indeed, security is another thing that is high on Google’s list of priorities. “Face unlock uses facial recognition technology that is processed on your device, so that image data never leaves your phone. The images used for face unlock are never saved or shared with other Google services. To protect your privacy and security, your face data is securely stored in Pixel’s Titan M security chip. Similarly, Soli sensor data is also processed on your phone, and it’s never saved or shared with other Google services.”
Ironically, just as Google seems to be embracing the power of face unlock tech, its rivals are apparently looking for ways around it. It is rumored that Apple will be dropping the tech for its future iPhones, and will instead use in-screen fingerprint scanners. The reasoning seems simple enough’ face unlock requires large, front-mounted cameras, and this means having big bezels or a notch. Indeed, with the Pixel 4, there’s a very pronounced bezel at the top of the screen, something which is going to make the phone seem rather old-fashioned when compared to other high-end Android phones – many of which sport pop-up cameras.
The Pixel 4 is expected to launch later this year. We’ll no doubt find out more about the phone soon, but for now, we’ve got quite a bit of information to digest.