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(Don’t) hold the phone: new features coming to Pixel 4

July 29th, 2019

As we shared last month, Pixel 4 is in the works1. Today we’re giving you an early look at the technology behind two new features coming to Pixel 4 that make your phone more helpful and represent a next step in our vision for ambient computing

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. 

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.

Soli Pixel 4 Sensors
The sensors and cameras enabling Motion Sense and face unlock in Pixel 4

Face unlock

Unlocking your phone should be easy, fast, and secure. Your device should be able to recognize you—and only you—without any fuss. Face unlock may be a familiar feature for smartphones, but we’re engineering it differently.

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.

Keeping your data safe with Pixel

Security and privacy are core principles for Pixel. Face unlock uses facial recognition technology that is processed on your device, so that image data never leaves your phone. The images used for face unlock are never saved or shared with other Google services. To protect your privacy and security, your face data is securely stored in Pixel’s Titan M security chip. Similarly, Soli sensor data is also processed on your phone, and it’s never saved or shared with other Google services.

We’re busy building these features for Pixel 4 and look forward to sharing more with you and the entire #teampixel later this year. 

1.This device may not be sold or otherwise distributed until required legal authorizations have been obtained.