Accessory for Pixel 4 series hints at exciting new feature for Google's upcoming phones

Accessory for Pixel 4 series hints at exciting new feature for Google's upcoming phones
While several complaints have already been made about the size of the top bezel seen on renders of the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, there could be a reason for this. The other day, we showed you a sketch that pictured a mysterious cutout on the right side of the top bezel for the Pixel 4 XL. And while it really doesn't show up in the renders that we've seen, the same cutout appears on alleged screen protectors for both upcoming Pixel models.

Thanks to a new tweet from tipster Ice Universe (@Universeice), we can see these cutouts quite clearly. So what could this oval opening be for? Well, the smart money is betting that Google will employ its Project Soli technology on the Pixel 4 series. This is a radar-based system that tracks "micro motions" of the hand. In other words, users will be able to control things like the volume of the phone using subtle hand gestures. Earlier this year, the FCC approved Project Soli and noted in the documentation that it is designed "to enable touchless control of device functions or features, which can benefit users with mobility, speech, and tactile impairments."

Is this why Google didn't show us the front of the Pixel 4?


Last month, Google itself might have given away the use of Project Soli technology in its new phones. The infamous tweet that the company disseminated showing a real photograph of a real Pixel 4 included the words "Wait 'til you see what it can do." In addition, there could be a reason why Google only showed us the back of the phone; it might want to keep this a big surprise for the unveiling which will probably take place in October.


If the cutout has nothing to do with Project Soli, it might have something to do with a rumored new 3D facial recognition system that Google reportedly is including in the 2019 Pixels. While it won't use the structured light technology that Apple uses on the iPhone, it might feature a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor. This measures how long it takes for an infrared beam to make a round trip from the phone, bounce off a subject, and return. Using that data allows the handset to create a 3D map that can not only improve the bokeh effect on portraits but will also provide a secure facial recognition system. Google reportedly will eliminate the fingerprint reader on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL and will go all-in on facial recognition.


The new Pixels are also getting some flak for the square camera module that will be found in the left corner of the back panel. And we know that it will be there because it is included in the picture of the phone that was tweeted by Google itself. Some of the outrage has to do with the actual look of the module, while others are upset that Google seems to be copying the design and location of Apple's rear camera module for the iPhone 11. The Pixel 4 is expected to feature a 12MP primary camera and a 16MP telephoto camera; the Pixel 4 XL will add a third sensor. The screens on both phones are expected to feature a taller and thinner 19:9 aspect ratio with the resolutions of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL displays weighing in at 1080 x 2280 and 1440 x 3040 respectively. And for those wondering when Google would bump the amount of memory in its handsets, it looks like this is finally the year. Leaked specs call for both devices to sport 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage to start. That means we could see a variant of the new Pixels stuffed with 256GB of storage this year.

Related phones

Pixel 4
  • Display 5.7" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2800 mAh
Pixel 4 XL
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3700 mAh

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13 Comments

1. Subie

Posts: 2349; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Based off these images it makes sense why Google is going with a larger bezel up top. There's no room for a notch and cutouts all the way across the screen (if possible) would be a complete waste of time, nor practical IMO. I'm ok with the design and definitely looking forward to Google's official announcement.

8. Cat97

Posts: 1855; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

It's good that there are some less demanding customers that are ok with the design.

10. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

The tech inside this thing will more than compensate for the design. There are some of us who aren't just Interested in the design only. The tech inside this thing dictates the design for this phone. This is most probably the most practical phone of a time imo. No wasted spaces on the front whatsoever. This phone is all about the experience. If there were a chin to make it more symmetrical, people would still complain about the overly big bezels and say there's no change from the pixel 3. This is an absolute win imo. Face id, soli sensor, pixel camera, new Google assistant, dual FF cameras, pure Android and updates are a definite win imo..

14. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Notches and punch holes are so overrated They iterally just save like 3 mm of screen space Can't wait to see what Google do with Soli

11. Vancetastic

Posts: 1086; Member since: May 17, 2017

I like it better than the notch on my iPhone. I’m fairly demanding of my devices, but not hung up on how “pretty” they are.

2. briankeithmays

Posts: 32; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

We have become spoiled by bezeless smartphones. Everything has become a fashion show. Everyone have become self righteous! It's all about look at me I'm better than you. The features inside the phone are the most important thing, and the same goes for the person. If your beautiful on the outside and a wreck on the inside you are nothing.

3. rshanberg unregistered

If you're seriously "outraged" by the camera module, or complaining about bezels, let me kindly suggest that you get a life.

5. BuffaloSouce unregistered

Finally, someone with common sense.

4. Sparkxster

Posts: 1212; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Definitely the best looking pixel by far.

12. chris2k5

Posts: 244; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Pixel 4 dead on arrival. Google lost the smartphone race now too.

13. ProfessorJER

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 01, 2017

All this carry-on about the "enormous" and "gigantic" top bezel is a joke. Provided it's being used to good purpose (i.e., sensors, cameras, speakers), I'd much rather have a bezel than notches, cut-outs, and pop-ups. Give me a clean flat screen and something to hold onto without accidental touches over these wall-to-wall curved screen devices any day. The way some of the tech press are carrying about these "gargantuan" bezels, you'd think we were in iPhone 8 territory. This design looks terrific to me, and the multiple cameras on the XL have the potential to put the Pixel back on the top of camera quality, particularly in concert with the mooted change to colour processing.

15. hamaidx

Posts: 85; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

Looks as ugly as Trump - oops .. I meant Trash ! go figure!

17. TS020

Posts: 33; Member since: Feb 16, 2019

People complaining about a bit of top bezel while iPhone SE sells out within hours of going on sale.

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