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An awesome Pixel 4 feature you won’t find on the iPhone 11 might not be available to everyone

Published Sep 5th, 2019 7:31AM EDT
Pixel 4 vs. iPhone 11
Image: Google

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Google will unveil the Pixel 4 in about a month, but we already know what the phone’s signature features will be. That’s thanks to Google, which went on record with Pixel 4 teasers and previews in the past few months, in an attempt to control all the leaks. The Pixel 4 will have a dual-lens camera on the back placed in a square camera module that will look a lot like the iPhone 11’s rear camera. On the front, the phone will pack a classic screen design, as well as a feature that’s not available on any rival device this year, not even the iPhone 11. That feature, however, might not be available to all Pixel 4 buyers this year.

Google announced Project Soli a few years ago, a wild innovation that used radar to recognize hand gestures and turn them into actions on a smart device. We had no idea at the time what Google wanted to do with it, but we know now that Soli is coming to the Pixel 4 phones, with the help of specialized hardware that will sit inside that rather large top bezel — like so:

Image source: Google

This brings us to Best Buy’s unexpectedly early landing page for the Pixel 4 which contained this message initially:

Wave hello to Motion Sense* — You no longer have to touch your phone to make things happen. Motion Sense is a new technology in Pixel 4 that can detect your gestures without you having to touch the screen.

Motion Sense is what Project Soli will be called, but you’ll notice that Best Buy’s page contains an asterisk right next to it. As xda-developers explains, Best Buy said that Motion Sense will not be available in all markets where the Pixel 4 will be sold:

Not functional in Japan. Motion Sense functional in the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and most European countries. Not all phone features are controlled by Motion Sense. For more information see

That URL doesn’t lead to anywhere for the time being, but the description is enough to reveal that one of the Pixel 4’s brand new feature might not be available to users in specific markets, including Japan and some European markets.

Best Buy has modified the landing page of the Pixel 4 since it was discovered, to remove the asterisk and description of Motion Sense.

It’s unclear at this time what restrictions, if any, come with Project Soli use.

We do know that early this year, the FCC granted Google a waiver to develop Project Soli-ready products. Project Soli will use radar in the 57GHz to 64GHz bands, previous reports revealed. Google might need approval from other telecom regulators to enable Project Soli on the Pixel 4, but that’s just speculation at the time. The company will probably explain any Motion Sense restrictions come early October when the Pixel 4 series should be unveiled.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.