Monday, January 24, 2022

Google Pixel 4 huge bezel packs iPhone-like Face Unlock plus Project Soli

Google has been struggling with design of its Pixel line of phones. Last year, they had a stupidly large notch which they tried to justify by having two selfie cameras, though no reviewer believed that.

This year, following leaks, they decided to go ahead and just slowly launch the Pixel 4. First they confirmed the look of the phone some weeks back, and now they’ve confirmed the tech that makes the front bezel huge.

As you see in the image above, the front bezel packs:

  • Infra-Red Camera
  • Main front Camera
  • Light Sensor
  • Speaker
  • Soli Radar Chip
  • DOT projector
  • Another Infra-Red Camera and a
  • Flood illumiator

So this year, Google is sort of saying that huge bezel has a purpose. And to show that the design isn’t just copying from Apple, the new Pixel 4 will bring Project Soli alive.

Project Soli

Image result for project soli

Approved earlier this year, Soli tech enables touch-free gesture control. You don’t have to touch the screen to interact with your phone. The chip that will be on the front bezel of the device can sense very precisely how you move your hand. From the tracking, specific gestures can be mapped to do certain things like tap, scroll, increase volume etc.

“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.” – Official Google Blog.

With the Soli Chip on the Pixel 4, you’ll be able to: skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, just by waving your hand. More capabilities will be added slowly as Google continues to learn. However, features will only be available in certain Pixel countries on launch.

Back to the Face Unlock tech, Google says you’ll be able to unlock the Pixel 4 in any orientation, even upside down. Google also says you’ll be able to use face unlock even for payments and authentication, and that the Soli chip will make face unlock faster, and easier.

What I am not sure if the huge bezel is justified, over say a normal compact notch. Wouldn’t it be possible to have all the same tech in a more compact notch, or tinier bezels? Or even the exact iPhone design? What are your thoughts on this?

The Pixel 4 is expected in October. Here’s Google’s official teaser video:


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Dickson Otieno
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