Google just announced the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones in New York, but there’s bad news for India fans who were waiting to upgrade. The new phones will not be coming to India and that’s thanks to the Soli radar chip on the front, which is driving the new Motion Sense and the Face Unlock feature. Google officially confirmed it is not bringing Pixel 4 to India in a statement.
A statement from an official spokesperson said this, “Google has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features. We decided not to make Pixel 4 available in India. We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India.”
The reason is that the Soli radar chip users the 60Ghz spectrum, which is not allowed commercially in India. While most countries have already unlicensed 60 GHz band, India has not delicensed the 60 GHz band and it is not available for commercial use. The 60 GHz band is also known as WiGig band (Wi-Fi at 60 GHz) using IEEE 802.11ad protocol.
According to the Google US store, the Motion Sense feature is functional in the US, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan and most European countries. Interestingly it will not be functional in Japan till Spring 2020, but it looks like the phone is launching there if one goes by the detailed support page.
Google also that if one travels to a country where Motion Sense is not supported, the feature will not work. According to the Motion Sense page, “Check that you’re in a country where Motion Sense is approved. Currently, Motion Sense will work in the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and most European countries. If you travel to a country where it’s not approved, it won’t work. If you travel to a country where it’s not approved, it won’t work.” So clearly if you were to buy a Pixel 4 from abroad, the Motion Sense feature will not work here.
“It is understandable the reasons for why Google had to give India a miss with its Pixel 4, mainly, the Soli Radar chip, that is not listed for commercial use in India, as per National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP). Given that Pixel phones, in the past, have had a rather lukewarm reception in India, the Pixel 4 skipping India will not have significant implications for the company. Google did have a herculean task ahead of itself, to rectify the mistakes of the past, whether it be in terms of marketing, or getting the go-to-market approach right”, Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG) at CMR, said in a statement to indianexpress.com.
Google has not given more details on why the Pixel 4 is not launching in India. There is also the question of whether Google could have disabled the Soli chip and still introduced the phone in India. It is unclear if buying a Pixel 4 from abroad will be deemed legal for use in India.