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Google may kill off hand-gestured controls in the Pixel 5 by removing a motion-sensing radar chip

Google may kill off hand-gestured controls in its upcoming Pixel phone by removing the device’s motion-sensing radar chip

  • Google may remove one of its biggest features in the Pixel 4
  • Sources tell 9to5Google that the company may do away with hand gestures
  • The move would nix Google’s motion-sensing radar chip
  • It could reduce cost and also open the phone to more markets 

Google’s next Pixel phone may do away with one of its predecessor’s key features.

According to a 9to5Google, which cited sources from Google in a recent podcast, the tech giant may forego the inclusion of its Soli radar chip in its upcoming Pixel 5.

Notably, Soli powers one of the Pixel 4’s initial selling points, motion-controls. Using radar, the chip enables features like hand gestures that allow users to control their device from a distance. 

Specifically Soli enabled users are able to wave a hand over phones to change music, take a call, interact with digital avatars, and more. 

The chip will also be used to predict certain actions before users even tell the phone to carry them out. 

For instance, if the Pixel 4’s alarm is going off, the phone will automatically quiet the ring once it senses a hand coming to shut it off. 

While the chip and the hand gesture controls were a major part of the Pixel 4’s launch, the features haven’t always been easy to use.

Users report hand gestures were sometimes glitchy and complained about lack of functionality with with most apps.

As pointed out by TechRadar, Google’s Soli chip also faced regulatory issues in certain countries like India.

The chip uses a 60GHz mmWave, a frequency that means the chip isn’t allowed for public use.

Google’s new Pixel 4 smartphone will use a radar chip that enables the device to be controlled via hand gesture

By removing Soli, Google could simultaneously ensure that the next Pixel phone can be sold in markets everywhere and could also reduce the price of the phone.

In addition to the next-generation Pixel, Google is also reportedly developing a budget version of the Pixel 4. 

According to frequent leaker, Evan Blass, the Pixel 4A will debut at $399 which is on par with the tech giant’s previous budget offering, the Pixel 3A.

Blass discovered news of the price via leaked renders of billboard ads for the Google-made device.