Pixel 4 is coming, and we all know about it. But we didn’t know about the flagship smartphone was that it will feature something called Motion Sense that will allow you to control the phone with your hands.
Google being Google is making a lot of hype around a new technology called Motion Sense. In case you’re curious to know, Motion Sense (or simply motion air gestures) is powered by Project Soli. So essentially, Motion Sense uses Soli’s radar technology that will allow you to control your phone by simply waving your hands like silence phone calls, snooze alarms and control music playback, etc.
Soli’s radar technology has been in the works for at least five years, and Pixel 4 is the first device to take advantage of Soli tech. Interestingly, however, it appears that Motion Sense won’t be available in every region where the Pixel 4 will be sold, possibly due to the feature requiring regulatory approval due to the use of radar.
It looks cool on paper, at least, as seen in the above video.
With Motion Sense, Google is trying to explore different ways of controlling the phone without needing to touch it. Combined with Google Assistant, users will be able to control a lot of Pixel’s 4 features hands-free. But we need to remember that Google isn’t the first company to bring air gestures to smartphones. In fact, Samsung was the first company to bring air gestures in 2013 with the Galaxy S4. Those air gestures allowed users to scroll web pages or download apps on your phone.
At that time, Samsung made a lot of buzz around air gestures on the Galaxy S4. But there is a difference between hype and reality. Sure it was useful for certain situations, but it wasn’t responsive. Probably the reason why won’t find air gestures in any Samsung smartphone today.
Recently, LG also tried to add air gestures in the G8 ThinQ flagship, where you need to move your fingers and hands to control music playback. Unlike Pixel 4 which uses Radar technology, the G8 takes advantage of the phone’s front-facing 3D time-of-flight (ToF) sensors. Unfortunately, leading critics and reviewer found motion controls on the G8 “useless” and “gimmicky.”
Neither Samsung nor LG have been successful with air gestures on their phones. Look, the problem with motion gestures on phones is that there is no use case that intrigues people to use them beyond moving their hands left or right to control music playback or play the next video on YouTube. That is the reason why motion gestures haven’t been adopted as part of the phone’s user interface yet.
Will Pixel 4 make motion gestures mainstream? We won’t have the until we ourself try the Pixel 4, but for that you have to wait until October when the device reportedly gets released.