The Soli radar, which allowed the Pixel 4 to be controlled without touching the screen, is not present on the Pixel 5. However, Google assures that it has not yet abandoned this technology.
For years, Google has been working on the Soli project, a small radar that allows you to control electronic devices without touching a screen or physical button. How does it work? In essence, the radar detects hand gestures and then converts these gestures into controls for the electronic device.
And in 2019, Google finally decided to use this technology on a commercial product: the Pixel 4 (and the Pixel 4 XL). On this smartphone, thanks to the radar, it is possible, for example, to control music playback with hand gestures and without touching the screen. Google certainly hoped that this feature would make a difference in its devices. But unfortunately, this one was not very popular. Moreover, it would also seem that the sales of Pixel 4 have not been at all good.
The Soli radar is not used on the Pixel 5
This week, Google finally lifted the lid on its new high-end smartphone, the Pixel 5. With this new device, Google is trying a new formula. This one costs 629 euros, which is a relatively affordable price compared to those of high-end models of 2020 like the Galaxy Note 20 or the Mi 10 Pro.
On the other hand, the device has quite modest features (which Google compensates with the software). For example, while most premium models in 2020 use the Snapdragon 865 processor, the Pixel 5 is content with the cheaper and less efficient Snapdragon 765G.
On the other hand, Pixel 5 does not use the Soli radar that was on its predecessor. This has an advantage: since this radar is missing, the screen of the Pixel 5 has very thin borders. However, while the Soli radar and Motion Sense feature is missing on Google’s new flagship, the firm says it has not yet abandoned the technology.
In an interview with The Verge, Rick Osterloh, Google’s hardware boss, explained that the Soli radar was too expensive for the smartphone that Google wanted to offer. He also assured that this technology will still be used in the future (which makes sense given Google’s investments to develop it).
Osterloh did not specify which products Google might use later on. But rumors are already suggesting that the Mountain View firm could use the technology on its next Nest thermostat. Of course, as this information is not yet official, it should be viewed with caution. But we can already imagine how Google could use Soli technology for presence detection or allow us to control a thermostat with hand gestures.
Otherwise, as a reminder, in addition to the Pixel 5, Google also introduced the 5G version of the Pixel 4a, a new Chromecast that comes with remote control, as well as the Nest Audio speaker that succeeds the Google Home launched in 2016.