“In pitching the new device, Google appears to once again be highlighting its imaging capabilities, which include a low-light-optimized ‘Night Sight’ mode for selfies and new stabilization modes for video.”
Google has given the mobile biometrics industry a big surprise this week, announcing a new flagship smartphone that doesn’t feature the splashy facial recognition system it delivered in last year’s Pixel 4.
The tech giant’s official announcement of the Pixel 5 validated at least one leak from the late summer that predicted the return of a fingerprint sensor on the new smartphone. But it’s probably fair to say that few in the industry, if any, had predicted that Google would ditch any kind of face unlock system in the Pixel 5, especially after the company had made such a big deal of the 3D facial recognition system that debuted in the Pixel 4 and reappeared in the Pixel 4a.
That 3D facial recognition was enabled by Google’s Soli radar chip, which also enabled “Motion Sense” gesture control on the previous devices. But the chip has been eliminated from the Pixel 5.
As is so often the case, the motive appears to be financial. Speaking to The Verge, Google’s head of hardware, Rick Osterloh, explained that the Soli chip was too expensive for the Pixel 5, which is $100 cheaper than the $799 Pixel 4. He also said that the Soli chip and gesture recognition, at least, will “be used in the future,” though he didn’t specify what kind of device would house them.
Besides a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, other features of the latest Pixel device include a 6″ FHD+ OLED screen, an 8MP front-facing camera, a multi-sensor rear camera system including a 16MP wide-angle lens and a 12.2MP lens with ƒ/1.7 aperture, and an octa-core Snapdragon 765G processor with 8GB of RAM.
In pitching the new device, Google appears to once again be highlighting its imaging capabilities, which include a low-light-optimized ‘Night Sight’ mode for selfies and new stabilization modes for video.
The device is slated to go on sale on October 15, and is available in just two colors: black and a “Sorta Sage” option.