What you need to know
- Google's uploaded a new teaser video for the Pixel 4.
- It confirms the phone has face unlock and air gestures.
- Only select countries will get the new Motion Sense features.
On June 12, Google took the tech world by storm and shared an official render of the back of the Pixel 4. Now, it's going a step further with the release of a teaser video for the phone that confirms two of its most widely speculated features — face unlock and air gestures.
In the video titled "(Don't) hold the phone: new features coming to Pixel 4", we see a woman walk up to a locked Pixel 4, and without touching the screen or anything, the phone unlocks for her. From there, she proceeds to skip through songs by moving her hand over the front of the Pixel 4 without ever actually touching it.
The teaser video is accompanied by a blog post that Google also published, and in the post, it's confirmed that these new features are powered by something the company is calling "Motion Sense."
For the past five years, our Advanced Technology and Projects team (ATAP) has been working on Soli, a motion-sensing radar. Radar, of course, is the same technology that has been used for decades to detect planes and other large objects. 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.
Soli was first shown off back at Google I/O 2015, and since then we've been waiting and waiting to see what Google would do with it. There have been plenty of rumors suggesting that Google would integrate Soli into the Pixel 4, and just like Google did with the design last month, we now have confirmation that Soli is present in the phone.
The blog post continues:
Pixel 4 will be the first device with Soli, powering our new Motion Sense features to allow you to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, just by waving your hand. These capabilities are just the start, and just as Pixels get better over time, Motion Sense will evolve as well. Motion Sense will be available in select Pixel countries.
That last sentence — Motion Sense will be available in select Pixel countries — is important to take note of. Google's yet to say which countries will get Motion Sense and which won't, or if it'll expand to non-supported countries post-launch. Furthermore, it's unclear why the feature would be limited based on where the Pixel 4 is sold.
In any case, Google also dives a bit deeper into how its face unlock feature will work, saying:
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. As you reach for Pixel 4, Soli proactively turns on the face unlock sensors, recognizing that you may want to unlock your phone. 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.
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