Google is going big with Soli radar technology on the long-awaited Pixel 4, the company’s new flagship smartphone which will no doubt be the centre of many techy discussions for the rest of 2019. Not only this, but they’ve taken more than a few of their product lines a step forward, announcing a new laptop, new wireless earbuds, and a range of other smart devices to keep up with competitors.
There was much talk about “ambient technology” at Google’s annual hardware showcase event in New York City early this week, bringing the focus to unobtrusive smart devices designed to enhance daily life, and do so seamlessly. Gestures seem to be key for this, rethinking the way we interact with devices, which sits at the core of Pixel 4.
The biggest talking point is that the Pixel 4 range (Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL) will be the first smartphones on the market to introduce Motion Sense technology, powered by a radar chip that allows users to seamlessly access certain controls by waving their hands over the screen. This includes actions like skipping songs, silencing or rejecting calls, and lowering the volume of an alarm.
The list of Quick Gestures and the uses for these will be the subject of reviews as the world starts getting their hands on the devices, but for now it’s an intriguing development which should speak to a range of activities requiring users to control the phone without physically touching it. Cooking comes to mind, as does driving.
Super fast face unlock, a 5.7-inch 90hz OLED display (6.3 on the XL), and an upgraded camera (with more than one lens) are the other more notable features which should come to mark the Pixel 4 over the next few weeks.
The speed and efficiency of Face Unlock, complemented by the phone’s defining Motion Sense, was a big talking point from the launch event. As was the new and improved Google Assistant integration, which forms a bunch of privacy improvements, like the ability to ask Google to delete data from the last day or week. This is also where the new Natural Core chip will come in use, being able to recognise and quickly respond to natural language without having to send data to Google’s servers.
Google are picking their game up when it comes to content creation too, giving users the ability to transcribe audio text in real time from a new recording app. This should be especially handy during lectures, interviews and meetings.
The 12MP primary camera makes it return on the back, but this time is augmented by a 16MP 2x telephoto camera offering up to 10x hybrid zoom. This should take an already leading Portrait Mode even further, as well as assist the improved AI which brings in a new-gen of Google’s acclaimed “Night Sight” tech, promising several new low-light tricks including long exposures of stars in the new astrophotography mode.
Another promising aspect of the camera set-up is a reworked HDR+ computational photography system which now works in real-time and displays the final image on the display, before the photo is taken.
Interestingly enough, users can also adjust shadow in addition to exposure, before taking a shot.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will come in three different colours: “Clearly White”, “Just Black”, and the interesting new “Oh So Orange”. Storage will start at 64GB.
Stay tuned for our full review in the coming weeks.
Prices start at AU$1,049 for the Pixel 4, and AU$1,279 for the Pixel XL. You can pick one up from 24th October, with retail in Telstra, Vodaphone, Optus, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Normal, Officeworks and Google stores.