Two sets of images related to the upcoming Pixel 4 have appeared today. In addition to the earlier renders that showed off the smaller Pixel 4 for the first time (that we know of), noted leaker IceUniverse earlier tweeted out a pair of photos showing off what appears to be either the front-facing glass for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL or screen protectors for the two phones. Either way, a honkin' cutout on the right side of that now-familiar top bezel raises some questions — or potentially answers them when it comes to those "Face Authentication" details spotted in Android Q.
The oval opening of the Pixel 4 Series front panel means that the Google Pixel 4 Series will be groundbreaking and new and worth looking forward to. pic.twitter.com/9Pg9bGcWrs
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 20, 2019
That large oval-shaped opening appears in connection with both the Pixel 4 and 4 XL on the right of the earpiece, and we think it could be connected to those "Soli" rumors that were previously circulating in connection with the Pixel 4.
The best shot of the cutout in the top bezel on the Pixel 4 XL.
Project Soli, if you don't remember, was a radar-based system that was previously used for mapping movements such as hand gestures for computer recognition. It's possible that in the four years since Google first showed off the tech, Soli's skills and effective resolution may have expanded.
Mix in the other rumors that the Pixel 4 would debut a new "Face authentication" feature — expected to serve a similar function to Apple's Face ID for biometric security and authentication — plus the fact that this large oval cutout is clearly meant to provide optical or RF transparency, and it's not a big jump to think that something like a Soli-based radar emitter and receiver (or, at least, some other optical or RF-based depth-mapping sensors) could live up there.
At this point in the game, it's still speculation, either raising or answering questions depending on how much of a logical leap you're willing to make, but there's clearly something hiding to the right of the earpiece.
Though Google jumped to show off the Pixel 4 early this year, precise tech details likely won't be revealed by Google itself until the Made by Google event for the Pixel 4, expected to happen as per tradition in October. In the meantime, our curiosity will need to be tempered by patience as we wait for more leaks.