The Google Pixel series did start out well but Google’s been having trouble keeping pace with rivals. Pixel 4 sales have apparently been very poor, and part of it can be attributed to dismal battery life, the missing ultra-wide camera, and the design.
With the upcoming Pixel 5, Google reportedly plans to go back to the basics and give up some innovative features like Motion Sense. This leak comes from 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall, who claims that his sources say that the Pixel 5 will not have the Soli radar chip — yes, that was the chip because of which the Pixel 4 series never came to India.
In yesterday’s show, we also touched on some things we’re hearing about Pixel 5 from sources — specifically that it will likely leave behind hobbies like Soli
— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) May 15, 2020
Well, for the uninitiated, this miniature radar enables certain features (although gimmicky) on the Pixel 4 that you cannot do on other smartphones. It can determine whether you are in close proximity to your phone to illuminate the always-on display, and figure out if you are trying to reach the phone to, for instance, fire up the Face Unlock sensor. In fact, the presence of the Soli chip is the reason why Pixel 4’s Face Unlock works so seamlessly. But that not the only thing it helps with. The Soli radar chip also enables air gestures to let you perform certain actions such as rejecting a call or skipping an audio track.
In theory, it sounds great, but a lot of users found Motion Sense to be a battery hog and some even think it’s inconsistent. While the radar itself is a novelty on smartphones, it doesn’t really make the Pixel 4 do anything groundbreaking. In fact, it has widely earned a reputation of being a gimmicky feature. Besides, it also takes up a lot of real estate, and it’s removal from the Pixel 5 could help Google modernize the look of the phone.
Motion Sense is an utter waste of a feature though. It truly has promise and because the Pixel 4 was just its first run, it just appears to be something that’s still a while away from being a core utility. Given how poorly Pixel has performed over the past two years perhaps it makes sense to focus on the basics for now and put features like Motion Sense on hold for sometime.