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  1. In renders, the Pixel 4 trades a giant notch for a giant forehead Google is once again going with a, uh, "unique" design for the Pixel line. When we last checked in on the Pixel 4, Google itself was leaking the device by posting renders of the back design to Twitter. Today, we're getting a better look at the front of the Pixel 4 XL thanks to a new set of renders from OnLeaks and Pricebaba. OnLeaks has nailed the design of several devices in the past, so these are worth paying attention to. With the Pixel 3 XL design, Google chose to embrace the notched display design trend with what was probably the biggest notch ever fitted to a smartphone. It was twice as tall as other notch designs, and Google used that space for two front-facing cameras (the extra one was wide-angle) and an earpiece/speaker. That notch design was not very popular or good-looking. This year, according to the render, it looks like Google is going back to a traditional top bezel. Despite the extra space reserved at the top of the phone for components, this render doesn't show any additional hardware compared to the Pixel 3. There are still two front cameras, an earpiece, and two front sensors, which are typically a proximity sensor and an auto-brightness sensor. The bottom bezel is being shrunk down to almost nothing. On the Pixel 3 (and Pixel 2), the bottom bezel was there to house a big front speaker grill. This year, again according to the render, the bottom speaker is moving to the bottom edge of the phone next to the USB-C port. With no headphone jack to worry about, the render shows two "speaker grills" on either side of the USB-C port. If the Pixel 4 is set up like most other smartphones, you'll get one bottom firing speaker, with the other grill there for symmetry and usually the voice microphone. The typical setup is to have stereo sound by combining the bottom-firing speaker with the front-firing earpiece, which can double as a normal speaker. These renders are technically of the Pixel 4 XL, which OnLeaks says will have a 6.25-inch display. We already have official Google-provided renders of the back of the phone, but Google's image wasn't very clear about the number of cameras. This OnLeaks render shows three cameras. XDA Developers recently found a reference to a "rear telephoto" lens in the Google Camera app. Since the Google Camera app only works on Pixel phones, and none of the existing Pixels have rear telephoto lenses, it's a good bet that the camera lens #2 on the Pixel 4 is a telephoto lens. We don't know what the third smaller lens is for. A good guess would be a time-of-flight sensor for 3D sensing, since these are usually smaller than a normal camera lens and since Google loves AR camera technology. With all these extra cameras, there's a chance we'll finally see a smartphone that can match the 3D sensing of the old Project Tango smartphones from 2016. Google has been implementing a watered-down version of the Project Tango technology on single-camera smartphones called ARCore, but ARCore can only really detect flat surfaces like walls, floors, and tables. Tango was a full 3D sensing smartphone and could even be set up to be a 3D scanner. It was awesome. Anyway, this top-heavy design sure does look strange. It looks like Google will once again be marching to the beat of its own drum and choosing not to compete with the best all-screen smartphone designs out there. Next to a OnePlus 7 Pro, the Pixel 4 looks positively dated, and it isn't even out yet! As has been typical with the Pixel line, Google will have to sell people on a feature other than the design. Maybe the headline feature will be the return of Project Tango features? Maybe it's air gestures powered by Project Soli? The Pixel 3 saw sales fall year over year, and the Pixel 4 doesn't seem like a huge departure in terms of Google's strategy. It's hard to imagine a huge drop in price, either: the bill of materials will obviously be higher this year with those extra cameras, and the Pixel 3A takes up the mid-range pricing slot. For now, we'll be keeping an eye out for more leaks between now and the launch, which should be sometime around October. Listing image by Onleaks Source: In renders, the Pixel 4 trades a giant notch for a giant forehead (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  2. Google’s Pixel 4 rumored to support air gesture system Pause music and skip tracks with a radar-based air gesture system? Enlarge / Project Soli in action. We're at least four months out from the typical Google Pixel smartphone unveiling, but that isn't stopping the rumor mill from churning. There are already a pair of reports pointing toward a Project Soli-based gesture system being in development for the Pixel 4. First, a refresher on what the heck Project Soli is. The project has been in development for years inside Google's ATAP group, with the first public showing happening all the way back in 2015. Soli aims to embed a tiny radar system into a chip that can be used to detect hand motion above a device. Google demoed gestures like moving the thumb and index finger together for a virtual button press or rubbing the two fingers together to scroll or turn a dial. It has always seemed like something that would be a good fit for a smartwatch, where the tiny touchscreens and UIs limit how much can be done on with smartphone-style input. Like many ATAP projects, Soli kept a low profile for years, and you would have been forgiven for assuming it was dead—until the project surprisingly gained FCC approval this January. Now, about those reports. 9to5Google was the first to float the rumor that Google's next smartphone would be equipped with the radar-based gesture system, and then XDA Developers quickly followed up with actual code evidence. XDA has been tracking a feature in Android Q that uses an "Aware" sensor, which would be a good fit for a consumer-facing name for Soli. The latest Android Q betas allow for Aware-based control of lock screen notifications and gestures to skip and silence music. Google has been experimenting with air gestures since the second-gen Moto X, which was equipped with IR sensors that would let you wake the display or dismiss alarms or phone calls just by waving your hand across the display.That feature, from before Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, was not useful enough to be brought forward to future Google phones. The Pixel line has been experimenting with weird input methods, too. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 are squeezable—sensors embedded in the sides of the device allow you to call up the Google Assistant with just a firm squish. Does anyone out there want air gestures in their smartphone? If Soli does make it to the Pixel 4, Google has some work to do to convince everyone the feature isn't just a gimmick. Source: Google’s Pixel 4 rumored to support air gesture system (Ars Technica)
  3. Google engineer reveals the Pixel 4 will likely have better dual-SIM support Just like the iPhone Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge According to comments from a Google engineer on code in the Android Open Source Project, Google is working on a new “2019 Pixel.” Well, duh, of course Google is working on new smartphones for this year. But what’s interesting, as XDA Developers discovered over the weekend, is that the new handset should have better support for dual SIMs. That could mean that the Google Pixel 4 could work better on two different cellular carriers’ networks simultaneously instead of having just one enabled and the other disabled (and forcing you to choose which is which). In fact, the dual-SIM functionality is in active “dogfooding” on the Google Pixel 3 right now, meaning that Google is already testing it internally on a phone you might be using today. We know this because of the Google engineer’s comment — which you can read below — but first, here’s some context. The Google Pixel 2 and 3 have both a physical SIM card slot and an eSIM, but you can’t have both active at the same time. That’s in direct opposition to how the latest iPhones work, which are able to receive calls and texts from either network. Other Android phones can do similar multi-network tricks, and that feature is actually pretty important to some people. In some regions of the world it’s common to quickly switch between networks to get the best data rate — and it’s also a boon for people who travel a lot. The Pixel 3’s inability to have two SIMs active is a hassle for a lot of people. Here’s that Googler’s comment, which points out both that a “2019 Pixel” is coming and that dual-SIM functionality is being tested inside Google: The code here is essentially an engineer working out how Android itself will know whether a phone supports dual SIM. XDA also points out something you should know: there’s more than one way to handle dual-SIM functionality. One is “Dual SIM Dual Active” (DSDA) where both SIM cards are active and able to be used for calls, text, and data. The other is “Dual SIM Dual Standby” (DSDS) where the secondary SIM can only receive calls and texts, but isn’t fully active. iPhones use DSDS and presumably that’s what will arrive on the Google Pixel 4. Whether dual-SIM functionality for current Pixels will ever make it out of Google’s internal testing to your Pixel 3 is an open question. If I were Google, though, I’d work hard to ensure it works on the rumored Google Pixel Lite, because it will be a better fit for markets like India where dual SIM is more valued. Source
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