Google Pixel 4: Official picture, Project Soli, leaks, and launch date

If you're waiting to switch from iOS or upgrade to Google's Pixel 4, here's everything you need to know.

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Google's Pixel 4 quickly went from a phone that we expected to learn more about later this year, save for the occasional leak and rumor, of course, to confirmed by Google, complete with the release of an image. Google posted a render of the upcoming phone on Twitter after leaks began to surface showing the Pixel 4 with a new rear-camera design.

There is a lot we don't yet know about the Pixel 4, like price, specs, and new features, but it's safe to say that we've never known this much about a phone this long before its official release. Here's what we do know, and something that Google is working on that is intriguing, to say the least.  

google-pixel-4.jpg

The Google Pixel 4, as revealed by Google on Twitter. 

Google, Inc.

What will it look like?

  • After renders leaked, Google released its own official render.
  • We've already had our first "in the wild" photo.

On June 10, Pricebaba and leaker @OnLeaks posted a render of what was reportedly the Pixel 4. The render showed an all-black device, with a square camera bump on the back. The camera arrangement is a similar design to what Apple may add to the next iPhone.

Then, on June 12, Google took matters into its own hands and posted a photo of the Pixel 4 on the Made By Google Twitter account. It's the first time, that I can recall, a phone has been confirmed so far in advance of its release by a company embracing leaks.

From that single photo, we can gather that the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone isn't present. With nearly all flagship phones now having edge-to-edge displays, it makes sense for Google to move the reader to the front and put it below the display. Either Google is going to use a fingerprint sensor that's embedded in the screen, or it's moving to face unlock method.

We don't know what the front of the Pixel 4 will look like. Will it have a giant notch like the Pixel 3? Or a hole punch design like the Galaxy S10? Hopefully, Google will post more teaser photos leading up to the launch.

If you're a fan of spy shots taken of unreleased phones, then check out the photo below. It was sent to 9to5Google, and appears to show the Pixel 4's camera square on the back. The phone is in a case, so we can't see much else. The person who captured the photo did say that he got a glimpse at the front of the phone, and it appears there are still two front-facing cameras and a bigger "forehead" above the display, which suggests the phone won't have a notch. 

pixel-4-from-9to5google.jpg

9to5Google

What will it be called?

  • The Made By Google Twitter account and a Google SVP confirmed it will be called Pixel 4.

Prior to Google confirming the name of the next Pixel phone, it was presumed the next phone Google released would be called Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Google confirmed the name in the same tweet that gave us a glimpse of the phone, which was then followed up by a tweet from Rick Osterloh, Google's senior vice president of devices and services.

We have to assume that Google will keep the "XL" name for the bigger of the two phones. So, at the end of the day, we're left with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.

When will it launch?

  • Google typically uses October to launch new Pixel hardware.
  • A leak of Verizon's marketing roadmap indicates an October release will once again happen.

Google has launched all three generations of the Pixel phone in October, and we have no reason to believe that will change this year. In fact, prominent leaker Evan Blass posted a screenshot of Verizon's marketing schedule that indicates the Pixel 4 will launch in October of this year.

What is Project Soli?

  • The project was first revealed in 2015.
  • Soli uses radar to detect hand movements that can control a phone or watch, for example.
  • Two reports claim the technology will make its debut in the Pixel 4.

You may be able to use hand gestures to control the Pixel 4, thanks to Project Soli. According to 9to5Google, the Pixel 4 will launch with the ability to wave your hand over the phone and control things like music volume or skip tracks.

Shortly after 9to5Google's report, XDA Developers revealed they have found code in Android Q that indicates a new sensor, referred to as Aware, is being actively integrated into the upcoming operating system.

It's unclear exactly where the Soli sensor will be on the Pixel 4, but looking at the photo posted by Google, there's an extra sensor on the back of the phone (opposite the camera flash). Although, putting a phone face down and waving your hand over it without being able to see the display sounds like an awkward user experience.

What do you think about the Pixel 4 so far? Let us know in the comments.