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Google Announces Pixel 4 (store.google.com)
88 points by exacube 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 139 comments



> 3 years of security and OS updates will keep your phone performing at its best.

I’m still using an iPhone 6s which has gotten its last major iOS update after owning the device for 5 years. It will continue getting security fixes for another year until iOS 14 is released.

iPhones last twice as long as Pixel devices, which is a big plus when you must have a secure phone.


I'm using Google/Motorola's Nexus 6 with LineageOS, which was released a year before your iPhone 6s and it still gets the latest updates.

Meanwhile, my mid-2011 Mac Mini was cut off from getting macOS updates after High Sierra last year. But because it allows the installation of other operating systems it still can dual-boot the latest Windows 10 and the latest Debian Bullseye just fine.

The only way for any general computing device to last is if it gives the user freedom to control the software that runs on the device. All iPhones suppress this freedom which means game over for longevity.


with checkm8 theoretically we will see greater longevity, against apple's will that is


On the other hand I'm using an LG G4 running LineageOS (16) since more than 4 years, and it will probably continue getting updates for as long as it doesn't break. Only Android devices allow this.


* Only Android devices that are compatible with Lineage OS allow this.


> I’m still using an iPhone 6s which has gotten its last major iOS update after owning the device for 5 years.

Note that the iPhone 6s debuted in 2015. Also, we don’t yet know that support will be dropped with iOS 14.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_6S


Same still have my 6s although I might just upgrade soon.


Seems like Motion Sense is not working in some countries, specifically, Japan:

"²Not functional in Japan and may not be functional in other Pixel countries. Motion Sense is functional in the US, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan and most European countries."

"Check that you’re in a country where Motion Sense is approved. Currently, Motion Sense will work in the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and most European countries. If you travel to a country where it’s not approved, it won’t work."

What's up with that? Is there any regulation against moving your hands in front of the phone?

The only thing I can think of is the "kind of" mandatory shutter noise when using the camera on Japanese phones, to avoid up-skirt photos and the like. An I say "kind of", because depending on who I've talked to, some say it's a mandatory law, some others say it's a good faith agreement between manufacturers.

Anyway, maybe, if the hand waving stuff is detected using the camera, might be problematic on some countries as in Japan.


Perhaps it's regulation around whatever technology Motion Sense uses? The keynote suggested it's some kind of radar.


It uses a radar device in the phone, so it's probably due to airwave regulations.


It is quite near 5g frequencies in some countries.


The star tracking feature of the astrophotography mode definitely has me interested. I'm disappointed to see the continued lack of battery capacity on the smaller phone though. While I'd love a larger battery, I'm one of the unfortunate ones whose small hands can already barely reach across my Pixel 2's phone screen -- much less the top section.

I'm also incredibly excited about the face unlocking feature -- I owned a Pixel Xs for about a week before returning it, and face unlock was my absolute favorite feature. It's very seamless especially compared to fingerprint unlock.

As an aside, Marc Levoy, who spoke at the Google event today is a Professor Emeritus at Stanford, and has a great series titled "Lectures on Digital Photography" available for free on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7HrM-fk_Rc


Fingerprint sensors are so convenient that they have become must-have features on my phones. Removing it from the Pixel 4 is an unfortunate step backward in terms of everyday usability.


How is the removal of a fingerprint sensor a step back in usability? The facial unlock is less intrusive and requires the user to do less to interface securely (minus any privacy concerns) with the phone.


I can unlock my phone with my fingerprint while pulling it out of my pocket, so that it's ready to use as soon as my gaze falls upon it. It takes two seconds longer with face unlock - one second to get it up to my face (and make sure it's aimed in just the right spot), and another second waiting for it to actually recognize me and unlock. Easier, faster, and, hence, more usable.


>I can unlock my phone with my fingerprint while pulling it out of my pocket

This, I can do it without thinking.


The iPhone 11 has the second generation FaceID sensors which is much faster and has lower error rates (to the point that it's not very noticeable anymore). Also, while you do "lose" the TouchID sensor, all FaceID-equipped iPhones have tap to wake and raise to wake functionality which is much more useful than being able to unlock my phone in my pocket, IMO.


Raise to wake is available on older non-FaceID phones. I think this feature was enabled by the M7 motion coprocessor chip https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_motion_coprocessors which first showed up in the iPhone 6.


Very cool, I did not know that.


> ... than being able to unlock my phone in my pocket...

I see what you did there. But that's not what OP said.


This is exactly why I bought an iPhone 8 earlier this year. The fingerprint reader combined with rest to open means my phone is ready to go before my eyes/face are anywhere near the screen. There simply is no competition (against face id) as far as speed is concerned.


This might be a dumb question, but how does Face ID work with beards and other facial hair?


As far as I understand FaceID makes a "map" of your face using a series of sensors (including IR) that is then compared against with when unlocking the phone or using a FaceID compatible login in an app. The beard/facial hair is part of that map, and the way Apple designed FaceID is to learn details that slightly change over time like a beard growing. It does (from experience) fail if the change is drastic, such as shaving a long beard or being in direct sunlight when you haven't been in a long time, but you can then enter the PIN/password and it will learn the "new map data" of your face and will work during subsequent tries. I would guess it does somehow combine old and new data when you enter a PIN and update the map, as it doesn't get tripped up if you, for example, unlock your phone in direct sunlight and then unlock in lower light shortly after, but I can't be certain.


Would giving my pin to someone with a very similar face mean that over time my phone would start to map their face as mine?


I would guess that it would only add to the model if the new face is recognized by the existing model.


Having just switched from a Pixel 3 to and iPhone 11 I’m inclined to agree that FaceID is a step backward. It has a great high tech feel, but:

1. It’s much less reliable. Especially in bed when I get paged at night I almost always have to revert to PIN auth, which is unfortunate when I’m disoriented and seconds count.

2. It’s much slower. With the placement of fingerprint sensors on Pixel phones it is totally natural to have the phone unlocked and open by the time the screen comes into view. With FaceID I don’t even start that process until then, and it’s a several step process: assuming the screen is already on (this works well) I have to look at the phone, wait a moment... then swipe up to actually unlock the phone. Facial recognition aside, the act of swiping up alone is way more work than fingerprinting into a Pixel phone.

3. The thing I like most about FaceID is checking notifications - I can simply look at the screen and Signal messages unlock, etc.

I’m convinced that most of the hate iPhone users have for fingerprint unlock relates to the placement of the sensor, and (never having used an iPhone fingerprint reader this is speculation) maybe it’s speed or reliability. The implementation on Pixel phones was really great and I’ll be sad to see it go.


> 1. It’s much less reliable. Especially in bed when I get paged at night I almost always have to revert to PIN auth, which is unfortunate when I’m disoriented and seconds count.

This is a tangent, but oncall roles where seconds count but you need to sleep during your shift are an idea as bad as it is ubiquitous.


> 1. It’s much less reliable. Especially in bed when I get paged at night I almost always have to revert to PIN auth, which is unfortunate when I’m disoriented and seconds count.

Not sure, my fingerprint sensor in Pixel 3 is unreliable during cold season (in Poland it is about 7 months) - my fingers are dry then (a side affect of allergy) and I basically have to teach it my fingerprint every week because it stops recognizing it.

And when it does it takes too much time in my opinion, so I plan to buy Pixel 4 solely because of Face Unlock (but I hope my ever changing beard won't be an issue).

Pixel 3 is my first phone with fingerprint sensor and I was really looking forward to it, but after almost a year of having it I basically hate it.


I’’ve found that I just need to move my phone several inches farther from my face for it to work properly in bed.


A major issue I run into that it doesn't work reliably with a lot of PPE headgear (welding gear, face shields, etc). At work, I'm often in a situation where I can't take off my headgear, but I do need to use the phone to take pictures or check my messages. It also is pretty flakey in the winter when I'm wearing scarves and a cap that cover almost all of my face. In both cases, I have to take my gloves off to use the phone anyhow, and so I can just unlock it with the fingerprint reader.

On my Galaxy S9, I use both the face unlock and fingerprint reader all the time. I was just thinking this morning that face unlock is proving very useful in the autumn chill, as I can actually use my phone's touchscreen with thin gloves, but don't have to take them off to use the fingerprint reader.

Relying on the front camera to replace fingerprint readers is a compromise, and it makes the phone less valuable to me for a lot of every day use cases. I'm glad some other manufacturers make phones with fewer of those kinds compromises.


Lots of people have given their opinion regarding fingerprint vs facial unlock. But for me, personally, the reason I would be loathe to give up the fingerprint sensor on my Pixel 3 is the fact that I can swipe up or down on it to pull down the notifications on the phone. Since I've got the 3XL, it's just a nice little usability thing that makes it slightly easier to use such a large phone with just one hand.

I'd miss it a lot, and it's one of the reasons I think I'll keep my 3XL for another year instead of upgrading to the Pixel 4.


> The facial unlock is less intrusive and requires the user to do less

Errr?

I just pick up my samsung phone and my finger naturally rests on the fingerprint sensor as I'm pulling it out, which instantly unlocks it in any conditions and the phone is ready to go by the time I'm looking at it.

Vs.

I have to tilt my iPhone up so it can see my face and make sure it's not blinded by the sun and then wait 500ms for it to think about whether I'm me or not.

Vs.

I get stopped at the border and they want warantless access to my iPhone. I say no. They just point it at me and unlock it.

Fingerprint ID is superior in every way.


You need to have your eyes opened and pointed at the phone in order to do that and you can easily disable FaceID in the event that were to ever happen to you by just clicking the side button.

I won't comment on the other statements as they're a matter of preference that I simply disagree with.


Face unlock is utterly insecure. Grab the phone and tell the owner "hey, what's this?". It will unlock before they remember not to look at it.

You can be forced to put your finger on the device to unlock it, but at least that has no plausible deniability. the most secure option is still a long PIN/passphrase, but that's too inconvenient.


What's your point? If someone is looking to compromise you and they have physical access to your phone, it's already over. The only situation where this matters is with law enforcement and you can click the power button to disable Face ID or Touch ID.


My point is FaceID trades security for convenience. Seems like you love it, but that doesn't change the trade off.

To temporarily disable FaceID and TouchID, you "just press and hold the side button, and either one of the volume buttons".

Good luck remembering the procedure and having the time to do that in an emergency or mugging.


You can also just tap the Power button 5 times to require your passcode. Seems pretty easy to just tap it a million times while you're handing your phone over.


Having recently 'upgraded' from my old Nexus 5 to a hand-me-down iPhone 5s, my single favourite feature is the fingerprint sensor - it makes logging in automatic - something I can do in my pocket if I wish.


The facial unlock is more intrusive specifically because of privacy concerns. If you meant "easier to use", maybe. Though I never had any difficulty in finding the fingerprint sensor on my phone, usually in blind mode as I pull it out from the pocket.


Face detection doesn't need remote access... especially with every phone having an AI chip built in.


Your phone still has a complete recognition model of your face, and we're required to trust the vendor when they say it doesn't leave your phone.


The Pixel had (*had) the fingerprint reader on the back. For me that worked perfectly ergonomically-speaking. Plus, since it's on the back, I'd have thought it wouldn't be too difficult to have both face/fingerprint.


I used to have a Sony Xperia that had the fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button on the side of the phone. IMO, that was perfect because it could be unlocked either when held in one hand or when sitting on a flat surface. I think a single smartphone manufacturer managed to patent that idea in the US so it's not more widely used.


I have a Pixel 2 and a BlackBerry Key2; I much prefer the thumb reader on the Key2's space bar.


There are a few scenarios, some more pressing than others:

1) Triggering the fingerprint sensor requires an active action, 'touch this sensor', versus Face ID (even with attention-detection enabled). This is important for law-enforcement. It is easier for law enforcement to get you to look at something that it is to compel you to unlock something.

See for instance https://www.wired.com/story/police-unlock-iphone-face-id-leg... Note that some courts have ruled that Face ID should have similar protections as Touch ID, but the issue is far from settled and is likely to end up in court in the future.

2) It's easier in mass-transit and POS scenarios to tap your phone while touching the fingerprint sensor. The flow for Face ID is much more convoluted -- bring the phone near the reader (which may be away from your face) to bring up the payment UI, then bring your phone to your face if the reader is faced away, double-click the home button...

3) During meetings, it's easy to sneak a glance at notifications (if your notifications are set to show only when authenticated) by touching your fingerprint sensor -- there's no need to bring your phone to your face and make it obvious you're checking your phone.

I don't mind Face ID, to be clear. But I always felt Touch ID was more unobtrusive.


To be fair, on your second point, some transit systems that are not paid for with contactless, like Suica in Japan, do not require biometric authentication to be used, if it is set up in a specific configuration.


>Face ID should have similar protections as Touch ID

It already does. Biometrics of any kind are not protected if the police have a warrant which is what happened in the story you linked.


> Biometrics of any kind are not protected if the police have a warrant

It is not as black-and-white as you make it out to be (which was my point -- this will likely end up in the Supreme Court at some point). Specifically, some courts disagree with your position, and hold that even with a warrant, you have a fifth-amendment right not to incriminate yourself.

See for instance https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/01/14/feds-...

> But in a more significant part of the ruling, Judge Westmore declared that the government did not have the right, even with a warrant, to force suspects to incriminate themselves by unlocking their devices with their biological features.

The issue is, of course, in the meantime, it's far easier for law enforcement to execute a fait accompli and get a suspect to look at their phone to unlock it.


The fingerprint sensor did more than just unlock. I frequently used it to pull down the notifications view. It made one-handed usage of today's giant phones so much easier.


> interface securely...with the phone.

That remains to be seen. I've seen several implementations of face unlock that can be unlocked with a video playing on a phone.


Not the implementation on the iPhone or Pixel.


Try unlocking your phone when it is flat on the table.


While I keep reading of the ease of fingerprint compromise, I too would have liked leaving the sensor, unless Google simply said it was not securable - my finger naturally falls on the sensor in the Pixel 2 design. However, I'm sure it'll take all of 5 minutes to get used to the face unlock.


Because it's easier to just put your finger on a sensor to unlock it.


Yep, plus works in the dark, works when you're not able to look at the phone, generally works faster than facial unlock.


"plus works in the dark"

the iphone has no problems in the dark


Fingerprint also works with a mask on. Think cold places and big polluted cities. Almost everyone wears a mask in Shanghai if they can.


Face unlock works with gloves on, think winter :) Oh, and it works when your hands a slightly wet, or when they are very dry.


Some of the higher quality face unlock uses a dot matrix of IR projected onto the face. Should be visible in dark. Might be hard in areas that are bright in the IR spectrum though.


That is arguable. Stop saying that as if it's an objective fact.


My fingers are already on the phone when I'm unlocking it.


It's not usable for some people because of those privacy concerns.


Fingerprint sensors work in the dark. Facial unlock doesn't.

Edit: looks like I'm probably wrong on this one


I've been able to unlock my iPhone 11 in nearly complete darkness.


Infrared does not work like that


Facial Unlock does work in the dark because it uses IR, and not just a camera.


As long as it's a proper implementation of a face unlock. When the iPhone X came out, OnePlus was quick to jump on the bandwagon and start advertising their new face unlock, which was completely reliant on the front-facing camera.


Which tells you it can be tricked with just the IR picture.


Mind explaining what an IR picture is?

Facial Unlocking isn't just using image recognition. Face ID, specifically, using point mapping across a face, creating a 3D map of the face and reference points to unlock the device. I don't think a flat 2D image, even with IR photography, could trick a system like this.

A Hollywood grade prop mask of someone's face might be able to trick it, but that seems like a huge outlier.


Even a hollywood mask wouldn't trick it unless it had some way to simulate the temperatures across the face. IR determines the points and the relative temperature to make sure the face is live.


I mean that it is not including features from the visible spectrum when making its decision, only IR & time of flight (depth). IR makes it easy to track the eyes (basically all eye tracking systems use IR) but misses skin tone cues.

A prop mask is one approach, but adversarial machine learning techniques might be even more effective, especially if you can study the adaption to a particular face.


This is not true


Yes, it does.


I have sweaty hands, the fingerprint sensor on my iPhone 6 worked maybe 50% of the time. Since upgrading to an iPhone 11, I've found Face ID to be a huge improvement.


Face ID kinda beat the fingerprint sensors a while ago, the only problem was false positive rates were a bit too high which Apple apparently addressed in new iPhones.


I'm curious why you think Face ID beat fingerprint sensors and in what context? Maybe convenience but at a trivial level. Definitely not security, its much easier to hold a phone in front of a person to unlock the device than it is to use a fingerprint.

Even cops can use it to unlock your phone without permission legally[1], but they can't compel you to use your fingerprint on the device.

Of course if you really care about security you won't use either. Historically single factor biometric sensors have historically proven to be weak indicators of identity.

[1]: https://www.wired.com/story/police-unlock-iphone-face-id-leg...


This is just flat-out wrong. Police can absolutely compel you to use your fingerprint on the device if they have a warrant which is exactly what happened in the Face ID context in that article. Any type of biometric identification can be compelled via warrant. Passcodes, on the other hand, cannot because that would violate the search and seizure clause of the Constitution.

And, in either case, that doesn't really matter as Face ID/Touch ID can both be disabled by tapping the power button on every iPhone. In terms of security for that specific case, they're both equally secure. Face ID, however, has a much lower rate of false positives than Touch ID (with the notable exception being twins).


If you have reason to be concerned about security or police for any reason then all biometric stuff should be disabled. The answer is neither when it comes to privacy.

In the real world typing your password a million times is a pain in the ass.


>but they can't compel you to use your fingerprint on the device.

Are you sure? Because I've read the completely opposite and that the only thing that the cops can't force you to do is enter your password.


One thing holding me back from upgrading is how fast my 8's fingerprint sensor is. Sometimes it's too fast for me to use Apple Pay, as it unlocks faster than I can double click. It is so fast, it feels like I'm simply clicking the button to unlock, instead of clicking to wake, read my fingerprint, then unlock.


Agree, they should have kept the fingerprint sensor. Even by implementing the two together, it may have offered a compelling and unique 2FA combination.


First the headphone jack, then the fingerprint sensor. Smartphones are getting dumber by the year.


It's disappointing to see the industry blindly copy Apple for no reason other than it being what Apple did. I am also a big fan of the fingerprint sensor, and think that some Android phones bettered the iPhone by putting on the back of the phone. Shame to say goodbye to all that.


>blindly copy Apple

What makes you think that's what's going on here? You don't think Google did their own market and user research before making this thing?


> You don't think Google did their own market and user research before making this thing?

Yes. I have even heard that they get market research on features after they had launched instead of early enough to use in decision-making. Google's product team is incompetent.


I loved Marc Levoy's presentation. I wonder why no video improvements though - dynamic range is so important in a camera, why limit it to just photos? 10bit h265 would be nice, perhaps with some of that hdr+ tonemapping.

Would have been nice to see a wide angle lens too. The radar thing feels gimmicky.


The photo improvements are a result of taking multiple pictures and processing them into one image which you can't do with video.


You can, Red Epic does it with what they call HDRx, Magic Lantern does it with Dual ISO, zcam E2 do it with WDR - all more or less the same things - you take two exposures for every frame. Doesn't always work for fast action, but for some shots it really helps. This is a really good blog post on the topic - https://medium.com/@jasonzhang_22759/wdr-of-e2-369a12d39a7f

Also, if your image bit depth is high enough, you can create "virtual" multiple exposures from a single image and do exposure fusion. Google already do this with HDR+ on stills.

The bit depth stored from the sensor could be a lot higher than the current 8bits most mobile phones use for video, if you have full control of the ISP. Cinema cameras can process and store 12-16bit video (Red, Blackmagic, Arri).

Even Apple does this to some degree with their "extended dynamic range" video on newer iPhones, though the saved files are still 8bit.


Not impressed at all this iteration. I may have to wait for Pixel 5, or I'm tempted to return to the iPhone solely so I can take advantage of the Apple Watch. I had hoped for better specs, better phone design, and most importantly - I'd have liked the fingerprint reader to have remained. I really don't want to be a voluntary part of facial recognition.


I'm pretty happy with the 3aXL.

It has a fingerprint reader, a headphone jack (yes I use it -- particularly on flights which I unfortunately take a lot of), a 2-3 day battery for my use case, and a reasonable price. When you consider eg skipping the warranty because it's $400 not $700+, it's a great buy.

Also... standard cables (that aren't fragile as shit) and the high speed charger you want is included in the box, rather than used to juice accessory revenue!


I'm currently also tempted to switch over to the iPhone for the first time since 2012. Even though there's a pretty large number of Android phones, I'm not sure if I'd want to buy anything other than a Google or a Nokia phone. And unfortunately, neither of those has any offerings that I find appealing. With other Android manufacturers I just can't trust them to deliver software updates on time or for a prolonged period of time.


I've been on Android since the G1 (G1, Nexus One, Nexus Galaxy, Nexus 5, Nexus 6p, Moto Z2 Force) and recently made the switch to the iphone 11. It's been a little difficult making the transition, but nothing compared to the hell that I've experienced with the last couple of devices I've owned. The Lenovo and Huawei were just disasters. 6p's hardware was utterly unreliable, and Google couldn't care less. Motorola just gave up supporting the device, eventually canceling the planned upgrade to 8.1. Zero security updates for 8 months.

Looking back on this Android journey I have to say that in addition the usual diatribe about what's wrong with Android, I've grown concerned about the disposable nature of Android devices. You effectively get 2 years of use out of an Android if you're lucky. And once their time is up, it's off to the landfill. That doesn't take into consideration all of the replacement devices (3 Nexus 6P's) they sent you due to the quality issues abound.

I see family and friends still using their iphone 5s!!! And even if you upgrade your iphone sooner, rest assured that that phone will end up the used phone market or overseas. When I bought the iphone 11, they offered me $23 for my Motorola. (btw, I was thinking oh well i'll just keep it and use it with my Amazon Alexa moto-mod, but it refuses to work without a SIM card in the phone. More E-waste!!!)

I honestly feel a little better owning an iphone, not just because it's around a better phone, but because my e-waste footprint will be a little less.

(sorry about the rant)


Related, my girlfriend just bought a refurbished iPhone SE for $125. It works flawlessly, I think they were released 3 years ago now?

You can also sell (or trade) your iPhone after 3 years for 30-50% of the original MSRP, while android phones you can probably get zero.


I haven't owned an apple phone for years and I would have to say there has never been a better time to switch.


the 90 Hz screen and camera are pretty cool I think


Pixel 4

2800 mAh

Ughh... why can't they make a phone with bigger battery?

XL model has a decent size battery but it is way to cumbersome to use as mobile device and 2800 mAh is barely enough to last day (not to mention degradation over time).

Is it that i am in a filter bobble? But most of my friends and family complains about low battery or agrees with me that they would love a phone that last more then a day.


Moto G7 Power is great -- 5000mAh, and many features which consume less power and happen to be cheaper (lower res, slower clock). Not the latest and greatest but if you're away from power for a long time it's a good compromise.


Thanks for recommendation, I am actually looking for a replacement (or at least a reason to get newer phone :D ).


Totally agree. I finally went "small" with the Pixel 3 after years of big phones, and the battery life is dismal. I can't see how 2800 is going to keep up with the 90hz refresh rate. If I upgrade I'll probably begrudgingly have to go big again.


The motion tracking / hand gestures / radar thing seems cool, but it also screams "3D Touch" to me. It'll be really interesting to see if apps successfully leverage it, or if it will fade away and disappear by the time Pixel 5 comes around.


Frankly I'm shocked at how anemic the radar chip demonstration and marketing materials are compared to what they demoed about the chip a few years ago.

Google had video showing how they could differentiate individual finger motion and motions like rolling 2 fingers together to adjust volume up and down.

What they're shipping with Pixel 4 seems to have exactly one gesture: swiping a few inches above the screen to skip songs back and forth or silence alarms and calls.

You know what else had this feature? The 2013 Moto X. And it didn't use a radar sensor, just a group of 4 light sensors, one at each corner of the face of the phone.

Granted, if what they demoed a while back is accurate, the radar chip is much more capable than a few light sensors, but what they're shipping and marketing is not that. Either they were not able to make the proof of concept work in a shipping device, or the final product is not as capable as it seemed.


I wonder if the OS could do some of the heavy lifting automatically, such as translating a swipe in the air to a swipe across the screen.


Perhaps they're just using the Pixel 4's Soli as a test-bed for their future headset?


I bought the original Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus when they were released, and I was excited about the device and Android. Since Snowden, the ever increasing reliance on Google of many people and institutions via its cloud services, and the encroachment into our private lives via constant listening devices like Googles Nest, I want to get Google as far from my life as possible.

In the German version of this announcement, the first thing written under the title is that you if you order soon enough, you'll get a free Google Nest Hub with the phone. Well, uhm, no, please don't.

Further down, Google praises itself with "Stets an deiner Seite: Google Assistant ...", which means "Always at your side: Google Assistant ...". This is just creepy to me now.

I'm astounded by how much my perspective of Google has changed since a couple of years ago. Their marketing is off-putting to me now.


Thanks to Soli now it can track your moves even if you cover the screen and camera.


I was so ready to jump into a Pixel (long time iPhone user). I thought on-board voice recognition would be a game changer. This had to be the most lacklustre event I've seen:

  - Nothing on video.  

  - No details on the processor (or most hardware specs).  

  - Nothing on the forward-facing camera.  

  - Nothing on battery life.

It honestly felt like Google watched Apple's presentation and then cut 2/3 of what they had planned.

Moreover, and this is purely a marketing-spin thing, the event had no energy. There were some super cool demos, and they were received with pure silence from the crowd. It was very weird.


Let's be realistic, though... the type of thing that would be a game-changer and make a big buzz at an event like this just doesn't exist right now. Phones have gotten so advanced that the "next big thing" needs to be paradigm-shifting and completely redefining in order to get a sizable reaction.

Everything else right now is just iterative.


I really thought on-board voice would be a game changer. Not having to do the round-trip to the cloud to determine intent, and providing a conversational interface (i.e. "now send this to Pam") I thought would generate that buzz. It sure seemed to when Google announced that they had reduced this ML model to ~500mb so it could run locally.

In contrast, Apple's A13 chip's contribution to extend battery power is incredibly impressive to me.


Maybe they assumed that you had already read about all of those things from the months of leaks that lead the event.


Maybe. I don't recall seeing leaks on picture/video specs or battery life.

When you build an event like this, I think you put your best foot forward. Google did, it just wasn't terribly impressive IMO.


The radar chip is especially interesting. I remember being intrigued when it was presented by the ATAP team years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QNiZfSsPc0

The team showed an impressive amount of cool stuff back then, it's nice to see one of these projects shipping on a flagship product. There's more info here on how it's used: https://www.blog.google/products/pixel/new-features-pixel4/

EDIT: found the original presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpbWQbkl8_g . I think the touch sensitive cloth project also made it into a few products.


It is project Soli that graduated from ATAP!


I'm not from the US, the store page redirects me to my region

Appending a locale parameter to the url works well [1]

[1] https://store.google.com/us/product/pixel_4?hl=en-US


I want a decent 5" screen phone again. I have the pixel 3, and I swear I'm getting hand cramps because it's too big to use with one-hand. Miss the old Nexus 5.


Nexus 5 was the best... There were considerable regressions since (HW and SW), ... at least Pixel 3A still has the headphone jack.


I also have a pixel 3 and find I work it pretty well one handed. The pixel 2 though was a little wide.


How big are your hands? Do you have a special technique? I've got the one-hand keyboard setting enabled and I still can't type with one hand. My hands aren't big enough to hold it between my palm and finger tips with any sort of stability while using my thumb. It works better if I stretch out my pinky and rest the phone on top of it (not even touching the palm so the thumb has more reach and mobility), but it still falls a lot like that so I end up always reverting to two-hand use. And that's just for typing, I can't do light browsing or anything else with one hand like I did on the Nexus 5

To give a hand size comparison, the length from the very bottom of my palm to the top of my index finger is nearly equal to the height of the pixel 3. My index finger is maybe .25" longer. I'm an average height adult woman (5'5”), with hands proportional to that. I can play a standard size guitar just fine (ok, some bar chords are hard), but I haven't been able to buy an ergonomically comfortable flagship Android device in years now.


Ah, I'm a 5'10" male with average hands for that height and I can see that would make a big difference. Some way of moving the screen inside the phone's physical perimeter might be helpful, anyone got an app for that?


You could look into Essential's Project Gem. Super thin and long screen.


Another maintenance release from another manufacturer. Are we just in a stagnation cycle until 5g comes around?


5g is already here. They are behind.


Here where? Because where I live, you can use 5G in two places: around the Nokia campus and around a university. In one city, I saw 5G cover about six blocks in the city center.

I'd say 5G is not already here.


*In select small areas of major cities, and sports arenas.


What are the odds that the camera block would look like the iPhone 11 pro!

Edit: a lot of sarcastic answers down there :D


What are the odds that Google designed the Pixel 4 after the iPhone 11 Pro was announced?


What are the odds that designing and engineering in a small volume for desired capabilities would end up with similar looks?


What are the odds that all phones are a black rectangle?

Seriously, though, some problems just have one solution.


What a weird thing to say considering that the whole "rounded corners" thing became so overblown that it's a meme at this point...

Look at Android phones prior to the iPhone and then post-iPhone. There are definitely more solutions to phone designs than just a black rectangle.


That page will not show you the Pixel 4 if it's not available in your country (I'm in Mexico, for example), but if you're still curious here's the blogpost: https://blog.google/products/pixel/pixel-4/


We have some contradictions in our lives.

For example, think about computer releases. As someone who likes to build a PC and install my own operating system, I love how these two things are somewhat decoupled (albeit imperfectly.) So I was excited about individual component releases, of course the CPU and GPU in particular, not to mention the rapid advancement of storage technology! And I was happy to try out a whole new version of Windows. (I particularly like 2000 and 7.)

Computers, on the other hand - well I've all but ignored desktops and announcements about them my whole life. Laptops were more interesting, because I was excited when they started to have decent internal components, nice screens and usable battery life. (I've been less impressed with increasingly closed systems with fewer options for upgrades.)

So back to the point at hand? I'd like to think that new phones should be focused on performance, and in my dream world, decoupling from software. I don't want "new gadgets" to be a thing on a phone. If I want to use it a certain way, i.e. hand waving away my song tracks, I have to now rely on a specific manufacturer running a specific operating system on at least the minimum version. No real options there, though.

I'm still not sure "modular" can work for phones, or maybe it can but we're not there yet, or there hasn't been enough market success to push manufacturers to go that way. But even that feels mostly unnecessary. I haven't had any complaints about my phone hardware, except for batteries wearing out, and being difficult to replace. Cameras have been "good enough" for my needs for several years now. Storage and computing performance has been fine, too. (Of course, new features are compute-intensive and will require hardware to keep up.)

If I have a point, it's that this is a boring phone release to me, but I kind of wish all phone releases were boring at this point. I'm sure some of the imaginative features coming out will become important, but right now, I feel like I don't need them. What I would prefer would be an improvement in decoupling between phone hardware and software.


The better processor is appreciated, but I would prefer that it had 5G and Gorilla Glass 6


I miss my Moto X (2gen) with the infrared sensors to detect your hand and other stuff. It seems pretty similar to the hand gestures. Moreover I could personalize the external materials.


And the best device that Google has remains the Pixel 3a XL. They continue to remove features that people actually use and add things that nobody wants.


I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up with my first iphone when my op6 kicks the bucket (no sign of that anywhere in sight). I've just been so underwhelmed with every Android phone release that now the main thing that matters to me is the years of updates that the iphones get. I never thought I'd care about that but it looks great now.


I'm going back to iPhone soon for privacy support and better features. I had all Pixel/Google phones until Pixel 2 and they all died within a year and half (Google returned me the money).


Looks like the lovechild of Galaxy S9 and iPhone 11. It's good to see project Soli graduating out of Google ATAP!


iOS has UX so well executed compared to Android in my opinion. Android may have better specs and features on paper but falls far short when it comes to a satisfying user journey where everything "Just Works".


Love to see more devices using higher refresh rate.


> Quick Gestures uses radar to sense motion

WTF. I don't want more EMR coming from a phone. I just want a phone. All this extra technology literally noone asked for adding to the price of a phone, same with fingerprint readers, same with face scan.

Ultra-privacy intruding phones.




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