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You Could Control the Pixel 4 XL Without Touching It (Report)

Pixel 4
(Image credit: Slashleaks)

Leaked 3D models of the Pixel 4 XL reveal a mysterious large hole on the top right of the forehead. This may indicate that the 4 XL could get radar technology that will allow you to control the phone’s functions without touching it.

According to Steve Hemmerstoffer — aka @onleaks, a phone news leaker with an impressive track record — the hollow is “pretty deep” and “it’s likely there to accommodate Soli Radar components.” Hemmerstoffer adds that this is “just an assumption” based on the location, size, and shape of the hole. 

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Hemmerstoffer also points out that the hole will not be covered by glass. The hole is opposite to all the camera sensors, which include both visible light and infrared sensors for selfie photos and facial ID recognition similar to Apple’s FaceID. It appears these sensors are covered by glass.

It was rumored that Soli radar chip could debut in the Pixel 4, but this detail may be the first physical evidence that it’s actually coming.

Soli technology has been in development at Google since 2015. The tech, developed by a team led by Ivan Poupyrev at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group, can sense the position of your hands with an incredible resolution. 

Soli can sense the tiniest motion and can work all the way from smartwatches — think about using your fingers to manipulate a virtual crown with the same precision as a real one — to TVs — to pause, play, scrub, or change the volume. And of course, phones. The technology has advanced fast and, by now, it may have been miniaturized to fit in the Pixel 4XL.

This is the first time that anyone has found physical evidence that may support the theory that Soli is perhaps coming to the 4 XL. Rumors about the next Google flagship phone have been leaking a long while now. Google took the unprecedented move to confirm the them shortly after they spilled. 

Since then, we have seen a true tsunami of allegedly leaked renders and specs, including the rumored top forehead in which Soli’s sensors may be located. Hemmerstoffer himself made renders based on the CAD designs that are allegedly in his possession.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.