Google & # 39; s new Pixel 4 represents the first time that radar appeared on every mobile phone. The Pixel 4 is powered by a motion sensor that Google uses to control a range of functions, including gestures to operate the device hands-free and faster face unlocking (but here is a big reservation). Google calls the sensor aptly Motion Sense.
Phone producers have been experimenting with motion control for years, using the camera sensor to know where you are and to interpret what you want to do hands-free, such as by swiping photos in a gallery and switching tracks in a music app . Some, such as the LG G8 have even made up complex motions to launch certain apps by pinching your fingers in the mouth of a bird or adjusting audio by simulating a twist of a dial.
The missing ingredient in these clumsy earlier tests, at least according to Google, is radar, which the company hopes is quick and easy to use when it comes to your phone when you know where you are.
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Radar is not what makes face unlocking possible
Before we continue, know that radar is not the same as face unlocking. Google Motion Sense understands when you reach for the Pixel 4 and lights up the screen, so that your face is braced and does the rest. But that is all that the radar-powered chip does inside. The sensor, which Google Soli calls, does not actually scan your mug to ensure that you are really yourself.
Before that, Google relies on an infrared camera to project dots on your face, just as Apple uses in the iPhone ($ 699 for Amazon) for Face ID. We are not sure how many points are projected on your face (we asked), but it is this depth chart that actually unlocks. Motion Sense simply speeds up the process, so you don't have to swipe to unlock the phone, or even pick it up to activate to activate.
What Motion Sense does on the Pixel 4
Motion Sense can detect your presence if you grab hold of the phone and gestures that you decide to swipe left or right with your hand. With Motion Sense enabled, you can:
Swipe to switch songs back and forth, such as with the YouTube Music app
Swipe to reject an incoming call or ignore an alarm or timer
Activating the Pixel 4 screen to wake up when you reach for the device (to enable faster face unlocking)
Reduce the volume of an alarm or timer when you reach for the phone
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How radar works on the Pixel 4
Google chose radar for Motion Sense, instead of relying on the camera to "see" you, because of the greater range and low power consumption. Radar uses radio waves to sniff the size, location and proximity of objects. Although you can disable any of the Motion Sense functions on the Pixel 4 (individually or all together), Motion Sense always detects you when it is turned on.
Google says its technology uses a 60 GHz radio frequency, does not travel very far and meets all required safety requirements.
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The chip of the Pixel 4 has a field of view of 180 degrees, which means that it has spatial insight everywhere in front and on the sides. In terms of depth – how far ahead of the phone it detects – a Google representative told me that at least 0.6 inches (about 1.1 cm) for the phone is looking for presence, and detects gestures on almost a foot (30 cm) away from the sensor.
Radar and Privacy
To address privacy issues about the use of radar in the Pixel 4 phone, Google confirmed in its launch event that all radar data is stored locally on the device and not on Google & # 39; s servers. Radar is also not clear enough to get a detailed picture of your hands or face, for example. The Soli sensor is tuned to look for bulbs mass and movement, not people.
Will Google add more gestures to Motion Sense?
The company is silent about future plans, including whether it also adds a radar sensor on the back of the phone. However, one representative said that Google could possibly use Soli's environmental awareness to increase your productivity on the phone and build a larger vocabulary.
Do other telephones also get radar?
When Google does something, rivals pay attention. Google's Android operating system supports around nine out of 10 smartphones in the world, but it is likely that the company wants to keep its Motion Sense and unlock secrets for itself. (It even developed its Titan M-chip on top of the base of Qualcomm to add its own security layer.)
That said, it would be easy to see that other phone makers both had a better system pursuit of gesture control than using the camera to make you feel, as well as the level of safe face unlocking found in the Pixel 4, a feat that few have achieved.
There is much more to learn about the specifications of the Pixel 4, looks and functions including a bundle of new camera enhancements that promise incredible bravery in low light and how it relates to its largest competing phones that you can buy now. Here is all that Google has announced at its event this week.