Google has taken a novel approach with the Pixel 4 by sharing some information ahead of time. But, we don't know everything about its next flagship. And there's a big launch event coming up soon. On October 15th in New York City, the company will officially announce the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, as well as a host of other Made by Google devices. So let's take a quick look at what we know, what we think we know and what we know we don't know.
What we know about the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
Soli: Building on a technology Google announced in 2015, the Pixel 4 will feature a motion-sensing chip called Soli that will allow you to control the phone with hand gestures. The chip will also deliver Google's take on facial-authentication. While we don't know how the feature performs compared with Face ID, we did get to see the adorable setup animation Google created for face unlock. This is one of the features we know Pixel 4 will include; not only did Google share a blog post detailing Soli, but it also posted a YouTube video that shows the feature in action.
'Smooth Display': Another safe bet is that both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will feature 90Hz OLED displays. Like on the OnePlus 7 Pro and iPad Pro, the higher refresh rate will make the Pixel 4's interface feel smoother and more responsive. Another display feature the Pixel 4 is likely to borrow from the iPad Pro is True Tone. This feature will allow the phone to adjust the color temperature of its screen to match the ambient light in a room. Apple says this feature reduces eye strain at night, and Google is likely to make the same claim. It's also worth mentioning that neither the Pixel 4 nor the Pixel 4 XL will feature a display notch.
More cameras: When Google announced the Pixel 3 last year, it was one of the only high-end smartphones without multiple rear cameras. This time around, the Pixel 4 will feature two cameras, with the phone rumored to include a 16-megapixel telephoto camera for long-distance shots, in addition to a faster f/1.73 aperture main lens. Just like last year, however, Google will probably put the emphasis on the camera software, not hardware. A recently leaked marketing video suggests there will be an astrophotography mode that will allow you to capture starscapes without a tripod. Another feature called Motion Mode looks to help with taking photos of fast-moving subjects.
Extra RAM: Thanks to prerelease benchmarks, we know a lot about the Pixel 4's internal hardware as well. Highlights include 6GB of RAM and Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 855 processor. The extra RAM is probably the most exciting update because the Pixel 3's 4GB of RAM frequently caused it to restart apps. Less exciting is the fact that the smaller Pixel 4 will reportedly feature a 2,800mAh battery. Battery life is a consistent pain point with the Pixel lineup, and it doesn't look like that's about to change with the new "baby" Pixel.
The 'Panda' phone returns: After a year off, it looks like Google is bringing back its fan-favorite "panda" color variant. In the multiple prerelease hands-on videos that were posted last week, we got to see the black-and-white model from multiple angles. Like its predecessor, it features an accented orange power button and matte finish. Besides the panda model and the usual black color variant, it looks like Google also plans to release a bright-coral model.
What else we know
Nest Mini: After more than two years, it looks like Google will finally update the Home Mini to make a Nest-branded device that better competes against the Echo Dot. Based on FCC documentation, we know the company will add a way to wall-mount the smart speaker. Google is also likely to add a headphone jack to the device, which would help the new Mini fill the gap that was created when Google stopped selling the Chromecast Audio.
Tablets: What we won't see next month is a new Pixel Slate device. Earlier this year, Google effectively announced it was done building new tablets. At the time of the announcement, the company's hardware team had reportedly been working on two new devices. If you're a Chrome OS fan, there's hope, however.
What we don't know
5G: We don't know whether the Pixel 4 will feature 5G connectivity. There were some benchmarks floating around that suggested Google was working on a 5G model, but it turns out those were spoofed by XDA Developers to show how easy it is to manipulate benchmark data. It's a good reminder that there's still a lot about the Pixel 4 we don't know, as well as the nature of pre-release information.
Pixel accessories: When news of the Pixel 4 started leaking, there was some evidence to suggest Google would release a DSLR-like accessory alongside the phone. In all the leaks since we haven't heard anything new about any accessories.
Google Home successor: While a new Home Mini is almost a sure bet, we're less certain Google Home will get an upgrade. The current model is nearly 3 years old, making it a prime candidate for an update. That said, there haven't been any notable leaks suggesting a new model is on the way. At the very least, however, Google should consider rebranding the device. This past quarter, the company shipped almost 20 percent fewer smart speakers than the year before. According to analysts, the company's confusing branding didn't help it move units.
Pixelbook: While Google isn't making new tablets, the company says it's still committed to laptops. "Google's hardware team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward," hardware chief Rick Osterloh tweeted at the time. With the Pixelbook set to turn two years old this fall, it's definitely due for an update. However, as with a new Google Home, it's not obvious when we'll get one. A device codenamed 'Atlas' leaked in March, and then again earlier this week. However, it's not clear if it's the Pixelbook 2.
Yes, there's a lot of information about the Pixel 4 out there already. But it will still be worth tuning in on October 15th. Remember, we thought we knew what to expect with the Pixel 3 as well, yet Google managed to surprise us -- we didn't know about the phone's Night Sight feature until the day of. Be sure to check out Engadget's live coverage of the Pixel 4 launch next month to get the complete story.
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