Google decided today to jump front diapers and post a very early Pixel 4 photo. It is a basic scene that simply shows the back of the phone, but there is much we can see by looking at it: it confirms that this will be the first Pixel with dual camera on the back, confirms that Google is the design language of the Pixel changes considerably and offers a handful of other details about what can be expected from the phone.
This is what we can see so far.
Dual camera & # 39; s
Let's start with the largest one: there are two cameras & # 39; s very clearly positioned in the middle of that spherical square that pops out of the back of the phone. In recent years, Google has made the point of distinguishing the Pixel by holding on to a single camera on the back, but still manages to perform impressive tricks, such as portrait shot. But just about every high-end competitor now has two (if not more) cameras on the back of their flagship phones, and there are a number of things – such as focal length – that simply cannot be copied precisely with the help of software magic.
What we don't know yet is what Google will do with the second lens, hardware or software. Apple gave the second camera of the iPhone a telephoto lens, which offers further zooming options and makes portrait mode possible; but lately, telephone manufacturers have added ultra-wide lenses so that their devices can capture even more of one scene at a time. One is not necessarily better than the other (just kidding, I take the telephoto lens every day) and it is simply not clear which one Google strategically finds more important in 2019. On the front of the Pixel 3, for example, Google has a secondary added ultra-wide lens to make selfies of groups easier.
Perhaps the most interesting is which software tricks Google does with the new lens. Google has already implemented some impressive AR functions with just a single lens, adding augmented reality stickers to the camera app that you can place in a room and then film while floating around.
But Google has shown even more impressive AR technology in the past by combining multiple cameras (and additional sensors) with Google Tango, the AR project that is now defunct and gaming. Apple has made huge leaps in AR in recent years and has one AR game or another with almost every keynote, so it would be a surprise if Google did not pass on the AR skills of Pixel in one way or another.
A mysterious third sensor
Above the two camera lenses is a smaller third something. You can hardly tell that there is something on the photo that Google has placed, but if you brighten up the image a bit, it is clear that there is a cutout.
What is completely unclear is what that extra sensor could be.
Last night, Unbox therapy correctly reported that the Pixel 4 camera bubble would have a sensor above the two & # 39; s, which the host of the show, Lewis Hilsenteger, identified as a & # 39; spectral sensor & # 39 ;. We may well be looking at that: the Pixel 3 already has a spectral sensor – Google also calls it a "flicker sensor", and it is used to help the camera deal with stroboscopic lights or screens.
But the spectral sensor on the Pixel 3 looks a bit smaller than this one. It is possible that the sensor is upgraded (spectral sensors can be used to analyze everything from color to) the composition of food, although neither has been done in a phone before). It is also possible that I am wrong, it is exactly the same size as before and doing exactly the same things, and it is just hard to say because of the small picture that we are looking at.
It may also be that this is just another sensor. Huawei, for example, recently made very good use of a flight time sensor, which measures the distance by tracking how long the light takes to bounce back. On the P30 Pro, the Huawei enabled much more realistic portrait fashion shots, by accurately displaying the decline in background blur by using data in real depth, rather than interpreting it from the difference between two cameras & # 39; s.
There is a double flash and another sensor in the corner
Like any other Pixel so far, the camera will be accompanied by a dual flash system. You can also see another sensor in the corner (it's just a small point), but there are no clear indications as to what it will be. In the past, Google has added an additional microphone, laser autofocus and a spectral / flicker sensor in addition to Pixel cameras & # 39; s. The Pixel 3 only contains the spectral sensor, but the only thing we can get out of here is that this is used for laser autofocus, since Google has used two separate sensors to achieve that in the past, while there is only one point here is.
No fingerprint sensor on the back
This was rumor, and now it's official: this will be the first Pixel without a fingerprint scanner on the back. What does Google use instead? The first speculation was on an in-display fingerprint sensor, because these have been trendy in Android phones this year. But last night, Unbox therapy Google suggested instead using a face recognition system such as the iPhone X. Unbox therapy correctly identified that there would be a third sensor above the two cameras, so there is reason to use it.
Contrast off button on the black model
This is a small detail, but it is a nice change: over the past two years, Google has made the on / off button a contrasting color on all but the black models of its phones (so the current pink pixel has an orange button for example) side, while the black model has a black button). The contrast button adds a nice, subtle pop to the phone, and it looks like the black model will finally get that too, with a white power button this time.
A very different back design
Google has had a fairly consistent design for the first three Pixel generations, distinguishing the phone with a glossy glass section at the top and a larger matte section below. It helps to keep the Pixels apart in a world where phones can look very generic, but for some reason, Google seems to be leaving that design completely behind the next generation.
It is not clear to me from this image whether the back is dull or glossy, but there is clearly only one texture here, except for the camera bag. The next iPhone is expected to have a similarly shaped camera bubble and a similar solid back, so it is possible that these two phones will look about the same.
Otherwise we cannot tell too much about the hardware from this perspective. It does not show us the port or speaker situation at the bottom; and we can see that the Google G remains beautiful and monochrome on the back. There will probably also be other color options – Google really teased the simplest and most obvious option here. Another remarkable question: what is that shiny ring on the edge of the phone? It is not clear whether that is a metal band (that would be new to the Pixel) or just some nice exposure in the photo.
Everything we are waiting for
Google may have had some fun playing early leaks for the Pixel 4, but it really didn't reveal much here. Like what Unbox therapy reports are correct, the front of the phone is perhaps much more interesting – reportedly with five sensors on top for selfies and face recognition and a decent upper bezel (but no notch).
There is also the internal hardware; we expect a Snapdragon 855 and probably a RAM upgrade, but the details are limited. Plus, software tricks, rather than eye-catching hardware, have always been Google & # 39; s strong side, and so far there have been few leaks to that effect.
The Pixel 4 is expected to be released in October, just like previous generations. But if the pace of the early leaks (and the leaks in the last year) is not a problem, we know much earlier about this phone.