If you’re a Pixel 4 owner, you’ll be familiar with Motion Sense – the feature that lets you wave your hands about to operate your phone without touching it, like a third-rate magician. It’s not great, and it seems that Google agrees, with rumours that it’s being ditched for the tech giant’s next flagship smartphone.
Motion Sense was a product of Google’s Project Soli, and uses motion-sensing radar technology in the top of the Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL to detect when you’re flapping your hands about trying to get it attention, effectively letting you use your phone without the hassle of touching it – a pretty nifty concept, especially during a pandemic when people can’t top touching germ-infested services and inserting their hands into a facial orifice just seconds later apparently. Unfortunately, Soli’s capabilities are too limited to be of any real use outside of playing music, and even then, it’s not performing with enough accuracy to forgo just touching the screen.
So perhaps that’s why Soli won’t be making into the Pixel 5, according to a recent podcast from noted rumour website 9to5Google. Managing editor Stephen Hall tweeted out a link to the episode, saying that the site’s sources have indicated that Google will “likely leave behind hobbies like Soli” from its next handset.
Soli is also used for face unlock on the Pixel 4, so if it’s really been booted, Google will either be implementing an alternative means to do this, or simply not bothering with a replacement. It’ll certainly keep the costs down if it decides to pass on savings to the consumer, and given that Soli ended up taking the Pixel 4 out of certain territories because of certain regions’ laws regarding the frequency at which the tech operates, the move will do away with that problem as well; Soli radar operates at 60GHz frequency is regulated in markets like India, and was disabled in them at launch.
It’s still just a rumour for now, but if Soli is scrapped it’s certainly not going to missed. [TechRadar]
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.