Google launched the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a (5G) yesterday, marking the return of the rear-mounted fingerprint reader on the company's flagship phones — the innovative Soli radar and the spacious face unlock mechanism are nowhere to be seen. But in an interview with The Verge, Google hardware lead Rick Osterloh said that the radar and the gestures it enables aren't gone for good. "They'll be used in the future," he stated.
Soli and face unlock take up a lot of space.
We assume that the decision to exclude Motion Sense from Google's latest flagship phones arose due to space and price cutting measures. When you look at the Pixel 4 schematics, the sensor took up the whole top of the phone, making it one of the last few handsets to have a huge top bezel in 2019. The omission of the technology might also help extend battery life. In any case, Motion Sense never really lived up to its potential, only ever slowly receiving new features. For a long time, it felt like nothing more than a gimmick, and due to regulations revolving around radar use, Motion Sense never went live outside a few select countries.
Rick Osterloh didn't specify where exactly Motion Sense and Soli could reappear, but he didn't exclude the possibility that we might get it in a phone again. It's more likely that we'll first see the launch of a Soli-equipped Nest thermostat that hit the FCC a while back, though.
- The Verge