Face unlock on the Pixel 4 XLSource: Android Central

What you need to know

  • Google's Pixel 5 may ditch the Soli radar chip.
  • Project Soli powered the Motion Sense feature of the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
  • It also drained battery and added little benefit to the phone's experience as a whole.

With the Pixel 4, Google brought a new feature -- Motion Sense -- to the Pixel line. Powered by the innovative Project Soli, Motion Sense added a layer of mystique to the Pixel 4. You'd be able to control your phone from a distance. It's a fancy feature undercut by the inconvenient fact that a smartphone is 99% of the time located in your hand, but you have to give Google points for trying. With the Pixel 5, Google seems set to drop that feature, according to the folks over at 9to5Google (via The Next Web.)

As it stands, while Motion Sense is a "nice to have gesture", it doesn't really add much that can't be accomplished by more conventional (and convenient) means.
Earlier this year, Android Central's Harish Jonnalagadda wrote:

Three months after its launch, Motion Sense is still limited in its capabilities. There isn't any compelling reason to use the feature, and that makes it all the more frustrating because it was due to Motion Sense that Google didn't launch the Pixel 4 in India.

The real issue for Google here is that the firm's attempts to build a successful phone business has been a failure. A focus on esoteric software features, shipping phones with underpowered specs, and building awkward designs have led to the Pixel line underperforming in the market. A back to basics approach, as Google seems to want to do, is one option out of this rut.

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