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.