So you want some Pixel 4 news, do you? After rumors started flying
that the Pixel 4 would support Project Soli, Google’s radar-based gesture chip, Google has offered an official response. It’s, uh, a picture
of the Pixel 4.
What you see above comes from Google’s official hardware-focused "Made by Google" Twitter account, which, along with the picture, commented, "Well, since there seems to be some interest, here you go! Wait ’til you see what it can do. #Pixel4." This is certainly not what we’re used to from company PR, but we’ll take it!
With Google’s official picture, we can confirm a number of things about the Pixel 4. First, there’s a giant square camera assembly that looks like it comes out of the phone quite a bit. If the early renderings
of the iPhone 11 from in-the-know people like OnLeaks are any indication, Google and Apple could have rather similar-looking devices—from the back, at least.
The big camera block shows at least two camera lenses, which would be a big change from Google’s current camera strategy. While competitors like Samsung pile more and more rear cameras onto their devices (the Galaxy S10 5G is up to four rear cameras) Google has stubbornly stuck to a single camera, choosing to focus on image quality over lens gimmicks. The two cameras, spaced relatively far apart, could be used for things like 3D sensing for Google’sARCore library (which still doesn’t support input from multiple cameras) or Google could just be doing what everyone else is doing and including a telephoto or wide-angle lens.
Besides the LED flash and the cameras, there are also two holes in the camera block, presumably for sensors. The Pixel 3 has a single sensor hole next to the camera for a "Spectral + flicker sensor" to adjust the camera for things like LED lighting and electronics displays ( here
is an excellent demo of it in action), but two camera sensors would definitely be a change. The Pixel 2 had two sensor holes around the camera for a laser autofocus setup, which was dropped from the Pixel 3. We haven’t seen a phone with a rear microphone for some time, but there is always the possibility that the second hole is just for a microphone.
Another important revelation is what’s not
on the back: a fingerprint sensor. The Pixel line has always had a rear fingerprint sensor, but lately we’ve been seeing more and more devices switch to in-screen fingerprint readers. The flagships (and even some low-end devices) from Samsung, OnePlus, and others all sport them. It would make sense for Google to jump on the latest smartphone biometrics trend. There’s also the possibility that Google goes the iPhone-route and dumps fingerprint sensors entirely in favor of a face-based unlock method.
There’s no telling what the front will look like, but it’s still early days for the Pixel 4. If Google follows the same schedule as the Pixel 3, expect a launch sometime around October.