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Technology Google's Pixel 4 turns up the heat on Android rivals, but not because of its camera

12:40  21 october  2019
12:40  21 october  2019 Source:   cnet.com

The original Google Pixel will get one final update in December

  The original Google Pixel will get one final update in December Pour one out for Pixel

Commentary: Face unlock doesn't just catch Google up to the iPhone. It ' s the first time any Android phone has potentially even surpassed Apple's most buzzed-about innovation. With the blink of an eye, Google ' s Pixel 4 has accomplished something that no other significant Android phone-maker has.

With the blink of an eye, Google ' s Pixel 4 accomplishes something that no other significant Android phone-maker has. Versions that are less secure create optical images with the camera , which are easy enough to fool with Because of Google ' s considerable resources and reach, its blueprint for

With the blink of an eye, Google's Pixel 4 has accomplished something that no other significant Android phone-maker has. It finally caught up to iPhone's Face ID -- a biometric unlocking feature that Apple popularized two years ago -- to unlock the phone and buy things with a scan of your face. Now that a secure version exists in Android phones , face unlock will be the killer feature every Android user will want.

a bunch of items that are sitting on a table: Face unlock on the Pixel 4 could inspire other Android phones. Sarah Tew/CNET© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Face unlock on the Pixel 4 could inspire other Android phones. Sarah Tew/CNET

The face unlock feature on Android phones has existed for years, but mostly as a convenience that's been flimsy enough to fool with photos. Face ID's more rigorous process meant it was secure enough for transactions.

Original Google Pixel will only get one more software update

  Original Google Pixel will only get one more software update It's not quite done yet, but Google has only one update left for its original Pixel flagship.It marks the first time Google has dropped one of its Pixel phones from its standard monthly updates, as the company has confirmed to The Verge that the next upgrade will be "one final software update".

With a moment, Google ' s Pixel 4 accomplishes something no other major Android phone manufacturer has. Less secure versions create optical images with the camera , which are easy enough to fool with photos, masks or Because of Google ' s significant resources and reach, its

The Google Pixel 4 series represents the next step in Google ’ s quest to become a successful smartphone brand. Its latest phones seem to 3D face unlock has since appeared on Android phones too, such as the Huawei Mate series. Google has followed by bringing the feature to the Pixel

Some Huawei phones, like the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, use the same technology as Apple to unlock the phone, but they don't support mobile payments. This year, Samsung killed its iris scanning after three years. That left Apple as the only real game in town.

  Google's Pixel 4 turns up the heat on Android rivals, but not because of its camera © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
Should you upgrade to the Pixel 4?

With consumers more aware of the value of their privacy, being able to offer secure face unlock is potentially even more convenient than scanning your fingerprint or entering a pin code. Closing the gap with Face ID also gives Google an edge over Samsung , LG , Huawei and all the rest at a time when Google can sell its phones across all major US carriers, providing an opportunity to make the Pixel, which hasn't historically sold well, more of a household name.

Google Pixel XL purportedly shows up again in leaked photos

Google Pixel XL purportedly shows up again in leaked photos Twenty or so shots purport to show a white "test model" of the XL version of Google's upcoming flagship phone.

Google has a lot riding on the Pixel 4 . When it ’ s released later this year—call it mid-fall—the flagship smartphone will represent the Google opted not to endure that. Instead, it showed off the Pixel 4 on its own terms, and not just in It turns the conversation back to what Google ’ s really selling: Android .

But Google ' s sketch of the Pixel 4 , which was used to show where the Soli radar chip was located Up until this year, Google OS names were alphabetical, and the upcoming update was temporarily Google has typically relied on its camera software to do things like taking portrait photos that other

a bunch of items that are sitting on a table© Sarah Tew/CNET

But more importantly, the Pixel 4's adoption of this secure version of face unlock could have ripple effects throughout the rest of the Android world. If Google folds the blueprint for this secure version of face unlock into the Android OS, it will all but guarantee that every midrange and premium phone will use the feature, since roughly 90% of all smartphones run on the platform.

The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL embrace that industrial chic look

Why face unlock matters

Face scanning, along with fingerprint scanning, is one of the few biometrically secure methods of verifying your identity. On a phone, it's meant to be a fast, convenient and mostly hands-free alternative to fingerprint readers. Using face unlock instead of a fingerprint reader can free up space on the screen and keep you from fumbling on the back or side of the phone to unlock it.

Google Pixel 4 XL purportedly shows up again in leaked photos

Google Pixel 4 XL purportedly shows up again in leaked photos Twenty or so shots purport to show a white "test model" of the XL version of Google's upcoming flagship phone.

Earlier this week, Google unveiled its flagship Pixel 4 phone. It ' s a premium device with a high-end camera , radar chip for motion controls and facial Earlier this year, Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on an earnings call that Pixel sales had dropped because of "recent pressures in the

It ' s Google ' s turn to take the phone spotlight, and the Pixel 4 has improved cameras and a new design. The Pixel 4 comes with a new design and square camera element all belted in neatly around the In fact, Google launched its first audio recorder app built upon the same technology for instant

Proponents of face unlock also claim that it's more secure than fingerprint readers and harder to fool with images and synthetic appendages, like dummy fingers. It has the power to authenticate password autofill in addition to mobile payments.

The technology works by scanning your features and creating a stored image that the phone then compares to your face whenever you attempt to unlock your device. Versions that are less secure create optical images with the camera, which are easy enough to fool with photos, masks or other spoofs.

This is how Google visualizes the Pixel 4's Soli radar sensor to detect your presence and motion. Sarah Tew/CNET© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. This is how Google visualizes the Pixel 4's Soli radar sensor to detect your presence and motion. Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple, and now Google, uses an infrared sensor to project tens of thousands of dots onto your face. This creates a 3D depth map with far more data on the length, shape, span and width of your unique features.

While the iPhone requires you to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to finish unlocking the phone (after it's verified your identity), the Pixel 4 uses Motion Sense, a collection of motion-sensing features that are driven by radar to recognize when you're reaching for your device. That alone will trigger the Pixel 4 to unlock the screen.

Pixel 4 update lets Smooth Display kick in more often

  Pixel 4 update lets Smooth Display kick in more often Frustrated that the Pixel 4's signature Smooth Display (aka 90Hz refresh rate) only kicks in under very specific circumstances? You might want to give it another look. Google has released a November update that invokes Smooth Display in more conditions. Based on early reports, the faster screen tech is considerably more likely to appear -- you don't need a brightness of 75 percent or higher, for example. There's no verdict on battery life at this point, although it won't be surprising if longevity takes a hit with more frequent 90Hz use.

Then, on Monday, Google surprised Android fans loyal to the Pixel brand with an unexpected Google said it wanted to make up for the absence of a second camera with algorithms and Machine Contradicting moves, it turns out, is a signature feature of the Pixel line. Google mocked Apple for

Because the Pixel 4 and 4 XL don't seem to be trying very hard to be taken seriously as premium rivals What if the Pixel 4 a is Google ' s true flagship? I fully realize that may sound absurd at first, but while That's the beauty of a mid-range segment that Google could end up dominating pretty soon

Using gestures and a glance to unlock the phone should be faster than swiping it -- at least, according to Google. This is something we'll test soon.

You can't see the radar chip inside, but it's to the right of the speaker grille. Angela Lang/CNET© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. You can't see the radar chip inside, but it's to the right of the speaker grille. Angela Lang/CNET

Why only now?

It isn't clear why the Android competition has lagged so far behind when it comes to truly secure face unlock. Qualcomm bundled support for a 50,000-dot projector into its Snapdragon 845 chipset a year after the iPhone X launched in 2017, but rivals were slow to take up the technology.

Perhaps some of these device-makers lacked the technology or software teams to get the feature secure enough, or perhaps they wanted to put their own spin on the secure face unlock realm, as Google has now done.

Either way, Google's opportunity to innovate on hardware by pairing Motion Sense gestures to the face unlock mechanism isn't just a long-overdue way for the brand to flex its technical muscle. And it isn't just a way for Pixel phones to race ahead. Because of Google's considerable resources and reach, its blueprint for face unlock on Android phones has the potential to push biometrics even further into the future.

a hand holding a cell phone© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
The Pixel 4 is losing a lifelong fan

Originally published earlier this week.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL Google flagship phones are now on sale .
These are the best Google phones for 2019, and you can now buy Google Pixel 4 deals direct from your favorite retailer.The smaller 5.7-inch Pixel 4 phone will cost you $799 / £669 / AU$1,049 if you're paying up front and are happy with 64GB of storage; the 128GB variant will set you back $899 / £769 / AU$1,199.

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