Things have been quiet on the Pixel 4 front recently, which means we’ve been starved for reliable rumors and leaks, despite having had recent looks at alleged production handsets.
This has changed over the weekend though, with a host of exciting feature leaks materialising over the past few days.
The first comes from 9to5Google, via an unnamed “reliable source”, and speaks of a new ability given to Google Assistant that allows it to manage on-hold calls for you. Potentially called "Hold my Phone," this feature will allow you to tap a button to keep the call to customer support, the bank or whoever else going while you navigate away from the call screen to do something else. When someone eventually picks up at the other end, Google Assistant will notify you so you can finally get your questions answered.
This seems like a natural expansion of Google’s call screening technology to tackle another common phone annoyance. Unfortunately, the source claims this technology isn’t going to be ready for the launch of the Pixel 4, as it’s still early in development, and that it will likely appear later.
Our next rumor is another from 9to5Google, likely taken from the same anonymous source. These relate to the camera, which is receiving an upgraded Night Sight mode, and also a new toy for photographers in the form of "Motion Mode."
To remind you, Night Sight is Google’s low-light photography mode, which already produces formidable photos on the Pixel 3 and 3a. The claimed upcoming changes, affecting shutter speed and other aspects, are going to be sold on their merits for taking pictures of the night sky, an approach we’ve seen with many other smartphone manufacturers looking to show off the capabilities of their phone’s cameras.
"Motion Mode" is a brand new feature designed for action photography, so says the source. This will let you keep the focus of the shot on a moving object in the foreground, while the background blurs. This is a setting you could have found on dedicated cameras for a while, but having it on the Pixel 4 would be another exciting step forward for smartphone photography.
Finally, we look to some information published by XDA Developers, who found some leaked Pixel 4 XL images on Weibo (they’ve since been deleted however, so make of that what you will). These images show the phone in white (pictured above), like Google’s existing Clearly White color option for the Pixel 3 and 3a, but also some off-screen pictures that tell us some new information about the internal hardware.
First off, the RAM. We’ve already heard about the Pixel 4 getting a boost to 6GB RAM over 4GB on every previous Pixel model, but the Weibo images, which show a third-party device information app displaying 6GB RAM, would appear to confirm it.
Looking at the camera app, this leaker finds that the Pixel 4 is capable of 8x zoom. We know that the Pixel 4 is getting a 16MP telephoto camera to accompany the 12MP sensor already present on the Pixel 3, but we don’t know what kind of optical magnification it’s capable. If, in the best case scenario, this was the Pixel 4’s max lossless zoom, this would a great improvement, although still behind magnification masters like the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom or the Huawei P30 Pro, which can both manage 10x lossless zoom with a 5x optical zoom sensor.
We’re still expecting a Pixel 4 reveal to happen in early October, with the handsets shipping later that month. So while we’re potentially less than a month out from seeing the phone in the metal, we’ve still got time for new leaks or more confirmations of information we’ve already heard. Either way, we’ll be regularly updating our Pixel 4 rumor hub page with all the latest news and rumors, so you can always find an up-to-date summary of what is and might be happening with Google’s next smartphone.