Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL: Everything we know

As we inch closer to October, leaks about Google’s next phone — the Pixel 4 — are growing by the day. The Google Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3a have established Google’s prowess with smartphone photography, so how will the Pixel 4 take it all further?

For starters, we know what the back of the Pixel 4 will look like because Google posted a photo of it on Twitter. Here’s everything you need to know.


Google Pixel 4

What will the Pixel 4 look like? We have an official look, months before the Pixel 4 is expected to release. Google has tweeted an image of the back of the upcoming Google Pixel 4, showing off a square camera bump. In the camera bump, it looks as though there are two cameras, marking a change for the Pixel series that has traditionally stuck with a single lens. Not only that, but the image appears to show that the company is getting rid of the two-tone look for the Pixel 4.

There may be another sensor above the two cameras, and this could be a time-of-flight camera to measure depth. We can’t be sure just yet.

Before Google officially showed off the design of the upcoming device, we had an idea that it might have a square camera bump. A pair of design test pieces, the kind used by accessory manufacturers to create cases, said to be the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL were shown in a YouTube video. The metal mockups potentially show the final design, but the origins are not known, meaning the design could be tweaked before the phone is released.

This doesn’t make them less interesting, as the pair clearly show the square camera lens cutout in the top left of the back panel, a controversial design trait associated with the next iPhone. Otherwise, the mockups show the volume and power buttons on the side of the device, and a body with rounded corners. The screens are not visible, but a cutout for a speaker suggests it will have a notch. There’s no visible fingerprint sensor.

These dark renders also show the same square camera bump design on the back, but the screen is not shown in detail. However, it’s claimed the notch will remain. The Pixel 4 range will still lack a headphone jack, apparently, and also a visually obvious fingerprint sensor. This most likely means Google is either aiming to implement an under-display fingerprint scanner, or more powerful facial recognition on the level of Apple’s Face ID.

Previously, our only look at the Pixel 4 came from a sketch published on Slashleaks. This also claims to have the first look at the Google Pixel 4 XL’s design, showing off a hole-punch front-facing camera and a perhaps a dual-sensor rear-facing camera on the back. However, at the time there was doubt to the legitimacy of this sketch, and with other leakers having brought out radically different designs, this design now seems unlikely.

eSIM support

A previous rumor about the Pixel 4 is that it could have much better dual SIM support, according to a Google engineer who posted comments on code for the Android Open Source Project. In those comments, the engineer noted that the device may have better support for dual SIMs, which will likely mean that the device will support being able to connect to two cellular networks at once.

It’s not surprising to see Google add dual SIM support for the Pixel 4, but how it ends up working could be very different from previous Pixel phones. Both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 3 have both an eSIM and a physical SIM tray, but they can’t both be used at the same time.

On the Google Pixel 4, Google could include two SIM card slots, or space for two SIM cards on the one tray — though that will still require a few software tweaks. More likely than that is that Google would include an eSIM, or an electronic SIM that can be connected to different networks through software, on top of the physical SIM tray.

Because of the fact that the Pixel 2 and 3 already have both an eSIM and physical SIM, it’s possible the feature could roll out as part of a software update, which would bring the functionality to the older phones. Google appears to be testing ways for stock Android to handle dual SIM cards. There are two ways the company could go about it. One of those ways is called “Dual SIM Dual Active,” in which both SIM cards can be used at any time. The other is called “Dual SIM Dual Standby,” where the second SIM isn’t always active, but can receive calls and texts.

Dual SIM functionality is relatively important to a lot of people, especially those that travel a lot. With a dual SIM, users can keep their regular SIM installed in their device, while also connecting to a second local network to use while they’re in a different country.

We’ll update this article as we hear more about the upcoming Google Pixel 4.

Updated on June 12, 2019: Added Google tweet showing back of Pixel 4.

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