Last week, Google did the unexpected by tweeting a photo of the Pixel 4 months ahead of the scheduled launch. Generally, Google unveils its Pixel devices in October of every year. This is a fundamental shift in the way that mobile phone makers unveil their devices as they tend to keep everything secretive until the day it launches. This is the tweet that Google published with a teaser of the Pixel 4:
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) June 12, 2019
You will notice that the Pixel 4 features a square camera housing for its rear camera in the top corner of the device for protecting what appears to be a two- or three-camera system. This design will likely become an industry standard starting this year as this is also what the iPhone 11 is expected to look like (iPhone 11 news). The HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro has a similar housing for a three-camera system already, but it is located at the top-center of the device.
Prior to Google posting the teaser, there were a number of reports featuring leaked renderings of what the Pixel 4 would look like and many of them ended up being accurate.
The Pixel 4 image does not seem to show a rear fingerprint sensor so it will likely be on the side, in the display, or not be included in this year’s model. Rumor has it that the Pixel 4 will have a facial recognition system as the only biometric unlocking mechanism. This comes as a surprise since many consumers appreciated the Pixel Imprint scanner.
There is speculation that the Pixel 4 features a Snapdragon 855 processor, between 6GB and 8GB of RAM, and at least 64GB of storage. And the Pixel 4 may be controllable with gestures via a built-in radar chip codenamed “Project Soli”
Some of the most well-known device leakers who have been posting Pixel 4 renderings include Steve Hemmerstoffer (known as @OnLeaks on Twitter) and Lew Hilsenteger (known for the Unbox Therapy YouTube channel). Hemmerstoffer had recently tweeted a rendering of the Pixel 4 and Hilsenteger posted a metallic mockup of the suspected Pixel 4 design. Before these renderings were leaked, a number of publications also correctly predicted the specifications of the Google Pixel 3a variant of the Pixel 3.
So why did Google unveil its own device well ahead of schedule?
Perhaps Google did not want to be accused of copying Apple as the iPhone 11 — which is expected to be unveiled in September — may have a similar camera housing design. Google’s direct confirmation of an upcoming Pixel 4 may also cause consumers to pause before buying an iPhone 11 in September.
Another reason why Google may have decided to tease the device is to gain better control of the marketing of the Pixel line of devices. While unlocked Google Pixel devices can be used with all major carriers, many people assume that it is only available for Verizon subscribers as that is the only phone carrier retailer that carries the device as part of an exclusive agreement. This strategy shifted with the Pixel 3a, which is available through Sprint and T-Mobile locations along with Verizon.
As long as Google keeps building up the hype for the Pixel 4 as we approach October, I believe that the device could get closer towards putting up some strong unit sales numbers in comparison to its largest rivals.
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