Rumor mill: Google had big plans for its Project Soli radar technology. However, its implementation in the Pixel 4 seemed half-baked and may not show up in the Pixel 5 at all.
Motion Sense was one of the headline features of the Pixel 4 last year. Unfortunately, it seems that Motion Sense is one and done as Google is rumored to be axing the feature in the next Pixel phone.
As first reported by Phone Arena, Stephen Hall of 9to5Google revealed on the Alphabet Scoop podcast about Google’s intention to remove the radar system that powers Motion Sense. He later tweeted out the same news.
Project Soli utilizes a miniature radar system to sense motion. Motion Sense was an implementation of Soli that allowed the use of hand gestures to perform certain actions on the Pixel 4 such as silencing alarms, skipping music tracks, and reject incoming calls. Google’s initial marketing for Project Soli showed off impressive use-cases, including using minute finger movements for control functions. It was pitched as a way to add a more “human” level of control for our devices.
However, while Google may still have future plans for the Soli radar tech, it didn’t seem fully fleshed out in the Pixel 4. As I detailed in my own experience, the Motion Sense gestures worked well for me but they were only limited to skipping songs or alarms. Google later added the ability to stop and start songs using gestures but never fully delivered on its lofty promises (as is the case with many of Google’s initiatives).
The underwhelming feature set combined with the lack of an API for third-party developers may have made Motion Sense dead in the water for now.