Have you ever found touching your phone to be a mild inconvenience?
Don’t worry, Google’s got you covered.
“Radar sensors have always been way too big to fit in a phone, so we shrunk it down into a tiny chip – but that still wasn’t small enough, so had to shrink it down even more,” said Sabrina Ellis, Google’s VP of Product Management, at the launch event.
“Pixel 4 is the first smartphone with a radar sensor.
“It powers the new motion sense capabilities for a more human interaction with your phone.”
That means you can silence potential human interaction – like phone calls – with a Jedi hand wave.
The Pixel 4 also knows when you walk away so it can power down before turning back on as you approach it.
And no, you don’t have worry about privacy because, as Ellis said, “you can turn motion sense on or off at any time and when it’s on all of the sensor’s data is processed right on your Pixel – it’s never saved or shared with other Google services.”
At least for now.
If you’re in the market for a new phone, and don’t mind one that can feel you reaching for it, the Pixel 4’s price point is a big positive.
The base model is clocking in just over $1,000, with the XL going for $1,279 – much cheaper than the iPhone 11 Pro that was almost $2,000 at launch.
As far as specs go, the Pixel 4 is what you would expect in an upgrade: a higher pixels-per-inch display, higher capacity battery, more RAM, and an upgraded processor.
Like Apple, Google is upping the number of cameras on their latest smartphone, adding a 16 MP telephoto camera to sit alongside the 12.2 MP camera that was standard on the Pixel 3.
All of this will be running on the Android 10 operating system that includes more integration with the Google assistant.
Oh, and it comes in orange.
Who cares about ‘ambient computing’?
It’s not just a new phone that Google unveiled this week. Google also updated its full suite of pervasive technology that gives the tech giant many more data points on its customers/products.
Rick Osterloh, Google’s Senior VP of Devices, trotted out the the company’s new taglines saying that the products are ‘helpful’ and part of what he calls ‘ambient computing’.
“If you look across all of Google’s products … our mission is to bring a more helpful Google to you, bringing tools that help increase your knowledge success help and happiness,” he said.
“Help is anywhere you want it – and it’s fluid. The tech just fades into the background when you don’t need it.
“The devices aren’t the centre of the system, you are.”
A major part of that data-gathering system is Google’s series of smart home devices, rebranded as Nest – a company Google acquired in 2014.
Home speakers, cameras, and home networking products called Nest Wifi are part of what makes up the Nest line.
All home devices have a minimalist designs and come in different colours – including orange.
Keep in mind that, along with Silicon Valley’s other major players, Google has been caught storing and listening to what users say to its devices but, of course, Osterloh said that “everything is designed with your privacy in mind”.
Google also announced a set of earbuds (Pixel Buds), a laptop (Pixelbook Go), and the date its Stadia gaming service will be available to the public – November 19.
Stadia promises to use cloud processing to let people play high-end video games on almost any screen.
You’re going to need a really stable internet connection to use Stadia, which might explain why Australia was not one of 14 countries chosen for its release.