Google’s next Android phone, the Pixel 4, isn’t coming until the fall, but we may already know a number of key details about it.
Once again, internet leaks may have revealed what to expect. Will the phone be enough to topple mega phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S10, Huawei’s P30 Pro, the OnePlus 7 Pro, and the upcoming Galaxy Note 10?
Hard to say, but at least we have an idea what kind of design, display, and cameras the Pixel 4 might come with.
Update: Google’s @madebygoogle Twitter account sent the following tweet confirming the Pixel 4 will have a square-shaped camera bump with at least two cameras, an LED flash, microphone, and what appears to be the “spectral sensor.”
As always, take all of the following information with a grain of salt. While these rumors are from reputable sources who’ve been accurate on unreleased products before, it’s always possible they could be wrong or features change between now and launch time.
Alright, now that we got the disclaimer out of the way, here’s what we’re hearing about the Pixel 4.
1. Dual cameras in a huge square camera bump
It’s no secret this year’s iPhones — successors to the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max — will likely feature a massive square-shaped camera bump to fit in more cameras. But now rumors are saying the Pixel 4 will have a giant square camera bump of its own, too.
Prolific phone leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks) teamed up with Pricebaba to share renders of what they claim the Pixel 4 will look like and, as you can see for yourself, the rear looks eerily similar to what we’re expecting from this year’s new iPhones.
According to Pricebaba, the Pixel 4’s big-ass bump will house at least two cameras — a first for a Pixel phone — but could also have room for a third one. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t detail what kind of cameras the second or third ones might be. Will there be a telephoto lens, or an ultra-wide camera, or both?
Leaks are easy to fake, but YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger, host of the Unbox Therapy tech channel, corroborates the Pixel 4 design.
Hilsenteger managed to get metal molds of what he claims are for two versions of the Pixel 4. In his video, you can see the square camera bump on the purported molds match up with Pricebaba’s report and renders.
Hilsenteger says the Pixel 4 will have two rear cameras and a third “spectral sensor.” The Pixel 3 and 3XL utilize a spectral sensor to mitigate light flickering when capturing video.
2. No fingerprint reader on the back
Google’s Pixel 3 phones are some of the last remaining premium Android phones with a physical fingerprint sensor on the rear.
But like the headphone jack, this beloved sensor, might be going away. Both, Pricebaba’s report and the Unbox Therapy video suggest the Pixel 4 will not have a fingerprint reader on the backside.
It’s not clear what will replace the fingerprint reader. Will Google switch to an in-display fingerprint reader like the ones on the Galaxy S10/S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro? Or will the Pixel 4 ditch fingerprint readers altogether and incorporate some kind of 3D facial recognition system like Face ID on iPhone?
3. Goodbye notch?
The Pixel 3 easily has one of the ugliest notches on any smartphone; it’s commonly called the “bathtub” notch because of how deep it cuts into the display.
As of this writing, there are conflicting reports on whether or not the notch will return on the Pixel 4. Pricebaba says the phone might have a notch, but Hilsenteger says it won’t.
In fact, Hilsenteger says Google will replace the notch with a top “forehead” bezel that’ll house the earpiece and “five different imaging units.”
Again, it’s not yet clear what kind of imaging units Google might include inside of this bezel. Hilsenteger says they could be similar to the tech inside of the TrueDepth camera system on iPhone X, XR, and XS, meaning there might be an IR sensor, dot projector, and flood illuminator alongside the two selfie cameras.
4. Jedi-like gesture controls using Project Soli
Remember Project Soli, Google’s experiment that used radar to detect small hand and finger movements and provide Jedi-like gesture controls to devices?
We’ve heard almost nothing about the motion controller technology since its announcement in 2015, but it looks like Google might be ready to bring Soli to the Pixel 4.
9to5Google says it’s “heard the Soli radar chip is integrated in the Google Pixel 4.” XDA Developers backs up those claims, saying it’ll be called “Aware.” Like many Pixel 4 features, it’s too early to know what the Soli chip might be used for. Guesses range from using Soli to activate the Google Assistant to using it for controlling various UI elements (think volume and media controls).
If the Soli chip does make it into the Pixel 4, it could usher in a new era of gesture controls on phones. We just hope it’s not worse than the awful air gestures in the LG G8.
5. True Tone-like display
One of the most underrated features on iPhones is True Tone. The display tech automatically adjusts the screen’s color temperature to match that of the lighting around it. With True Tone, the screen’s never too cool (blue) or too warm (yellow), but just right.
While it’s not a confirmation by any means, sleuths over at XDA Developers have discovered placeholder settings for a True Tone-like display feature. Detail code within the latest beta versions of Android Q suggest Google is at least experimenting with the idea of adding a way for a phone’s screen to adapt to ambient lighting.
UPDATE: June 12, 2019, 2:44 p.m. EDT: Added tweet from Google’s official @madebygoogle confirming Pixel 4 design.