Back in June, Google took the unprecedented step of confirming its next flagship phone and shared a back render in response to leaks. Made by Google today confirmed face unlock and Project Soli for the Pixel 4 in an official teaser.
In an official Pixel 4 teaser video and blog post titled “(Don’t) hold the phone,” Google detailed “new features coming to Pixel 4.” The company is focusing on face unlock and Soli — publicly branded as “Motion Sense.” We first reported early last month that the Project Soli radar chip could debut on the Pixel 4.
Pixel 4 Face unlock
With the Pixel 4, Google says it is “engineering [face unlock] differently.” A full lift of the device or pose — a likely shot at the iPhone’s Face ID — is not required to get into your phone.
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 homescreen. Pixel 4 does all of that in a much more streamlined way.
Rather, “Soli proactively turns on the face unlock sensors” as you reach for the Pixel 4. The process happens “all in one motion” and in any orientation, including upside down.
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.
On the security and privacy, image data for facial recognition is processed on your device and “never saved or shared with other Google services.” All face data is stored on the Pixel’s Titan M chip.
Pixel 4 Motion Sense
Google has developed a miniature version of Soli’s motion-sensing radar technology. At a high-level, it detects “small motions around the phone.” The official Pixel 4 teaser breaks down what sensors will be used, and shows the top bezel which has only leaked in renders and screen protectors.
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.
In terms of functionality, Motion Sense will allow you to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls by waving your hand. This is the initial set, with Google promising that “Motion Sense will evolve as well.” A blob of white light in the status bar acts as a visual indicator as you interact and swipe with the Soli technology.
Soli sensor data is also processed on your phone, and never saved or shared with other Google services. Due to likely regulatory approval related to radar, the feature will only “be available in select Pixel countries.”