The last few Pixel phones have leaked in great detail before launch, and the upcoming Pixel 4 looks like no exception. Google already tried to get ahead of the leaks with a recent tweet, but now it’s providing numerous details on the phone, including the inclusion of face unlock and a Project Soli radar sensor. A few features from the last Pixel appear to be missing, though.
Google’s blog post first off confirms the recent design leaks. The Pixel 4 will indeed have a large top bezel, but now we know why. The phone has a raft of sensors up there. You thought the iPhone was packed with sensors in that notch? That’s nothing compared with the Pixel 4.
On the left side, there’s a front-facing camera. The secondary wide-angle selfie camera appears to be gone this year. Next to that is the standard light and proximity sensor. The left side of the bezel also has an IR camera for face unlock. There’s a matching IR camera on the right side of the bezel. There’s also an IR dot projector and a face unlock flood illuminator on that side.
According to Google, this collection of sensors allows for a much more natural face unlock experience. It can see you from almost any angle and unlock securely. This feature plugs into Google’s platform authentication, so it works with Google Pay and other high-security apps. There’s no mention of a fingerprint sensor in the display, and we know from previous images there isn’t one on the back. With all the work that went into face unlock, it seems unlikely that the Pixel 4 also has a fingerprint sensor.
Google also goes out of its way to mention that face unlock data from your phone never leaves the device. The data remains encrypted with the Pixel’s Titan M security chip, the same piece of hardware Google used to keep biometric data safe in the Pixel 3.
That big bezel has one more surprise: a Project Soli radar module. Google first demoed Soli at Google I/O in 2015. It has barely talked about it since then, but it’s the basis of Motion Sense on the Pixel 4. With Motion Sense, you can use hand gestures to control music, silence alarms, and more. Google says Motion Sense will improve over time, but not everyone will be able to enjoy it. Because of regulatory approvals, Motion Sense will only work in select countries.
At this rate, there won’t be anything to announce at the Pixel 4 unveiling. If Google keeps up with tradition, that will happen this coming October.