Skip to main content

The Pixel 4 may have face-sensing tech that goes beyond the iPhone XS

The rumor mill is busy churning out leaks, rumors, and renders of Google’s next expected phone, the Pixel 4. Google stoked those rumors by posting some official renders itself, but it’s remained tight-lipped about the front of the device, and we haven’t seen many leaks that mention the front of the device. That is, until now. Leaker Ice Universe has shared images of screen protectors he claims are intended for the Pixel 4.

The images show the screen protectors have fairly slim bezels to the left, right, and bottom of the display, with a heavier bezel at the top —  matching an earlier statement from a photographer who spotted a possible Pixel 4 out in the wild. While that bezel may be decried as a crime by some, it’s seemingly packed to the brim with tech. There’s the central earpiece speaker, and a number of cutouts in the top-left which may be for two selfie camera lenses and a flash unit.

But it’s the oval-shaped cutout to the right that interests us. This space could be for the facial recognition technology Google is rumored to be including in its next phone. It’s rumored this technology will be based on Google’s Project Soli, which was recently approved for use by the U.S.’s FCC. Project Soli is expected to use radar waves to detect various gestures, and could even be used to detect faces in 3D space — much like the Face ID TrueDepth cameras found on Apple’s iPhone XS. But Soli could go one step further, and could be used in a similar way to Air Gestures in the LG G8 ThinQ — so you could, for example, turn an invisible knob to change volume, or slide your finger in the air to scroll down a screen. We found the gimmick to be, well, a gimmick in the LG G8 ThinQ, so Google certainly has its work cut out for it if this is a track it’s interested in following.

Of course, these leaks may turn out to be based on features that don’t ultimately end up in the phone, so don’t be surprised if the Pixel 4 is revealed and the Project Soli chip is missing. We expect to see the Pixel 4 in October, so there isn’t too long to wait to see if this rumor is true.

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
Google is making it easier to ditch your iPhone for an Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro in hand.

Switching phones is never a smooth process, even if you’re switching between two different Android phones. However, when you’re trying to switch from an iPhone to Android or vice versa, it can be extra complicated -- and you can lose data and apps that you rely on. This is especially the case with Apple-to-Android transfers because the iPhone has a much stronger ecosystem lock-in with things like iMessage, iCloud backups, and exclusive apps like Overcast and Hyperlapse.

The good news is that with its Data Transfer Tool (also called Pixel Migrate on Pixel devices), Google may be trying to mitigate some of the phone-switching problems that arise -- specifically, losing access to your Live Photos. According to an APK teardown from Android Authority, Google’s Data Transfer Tool will finally resolve the problem of migrating iOS Live Photos to Android. It will do this by converting them over as Motion Photos.

Read more
Can a $500 Pixel phone beat a $1,000 iPhone in a camera test? I found out
iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 8a camera modules.

Right before Google I/O 2024, Google showed off the latest Pixel device, the Google Pixel 8a. This is the latest offering from the Pixel A-series, which is a more budget-friendly Pixel for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles of the flagship Pixel 8 or 8 Pro.

The Pixel 8a features a new design with more rounded corners and a matte-finish back. It packs Google’s latest silicon, the Tensor G3, but the camera hardware remains unchanged from its predecessor, the Pixel 7a.

Read more
I have the Google Pixel 8a. Here are 6 things you need to know
A person holding the Google Pixel 8a.

The Google Pixel 8a is in my hand and will have been for a few days by the time you read this. It’s not long enough for me to give it our full in-depth review treatment, as the battery has only just settled down into everyday life and I’m still experimenting with the camera and features.

But there are some things I’ve quickly discovered about the Pixel 8a that you should know about. So, while we work on the review, take a look at what has already piqued our interest in Google’s newest, cheapest phone.
You're going to notice the bezels

Read more