New photos of Google's upcoming smartphone leak out weeks before going on sale
It has become a running joke in the last few years that Google's new Pixel smartphone always leak out before the company announces them.
For 2019, Google has tried to quash this by teasing the phone itself. But that hasn't stopped a pair of photos appearing online several weeks before the new Android handset is due to go on sale.
The latest images were published this week by XDA Developers, which received them anonymously via the Telegram messaging app. The pair of photos shows the front and back of the handset - something Google itself has only revealed in part so far - and we can see the phone is connected to Sprint. This is likely a pre-production phone being used by the network for testing purposes.
Although it is tricky to tell if this is the Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL (because both are expected to have the same 'forehead' at the top of the display), there are some key design takeaways to be had here.
First, there's that forehead. We had hoped the rumor mill was wrong this time around, as with companies like Samsung offering phones with edge-to-edge displays and pin-hole front cameras, it's a shame to see the large black segment at the top of the Pixel 4. That said, the area will house an all-new facial recognition system and Google's Project Soli near-field radar technology. It at least looks like the lower bezel, or 'chin' of the phone, is reasonably compact.
We can also see from these images that the Pixel 4 does not have a two-tone back. On previous models, Google laser-etched the upper-third of the phone's glass back, creating a matt finish which was grippy and made for an interesting and recognizable design quirk.
Leaked photos of the Google Pixel 4XDA Developers
For the Pixel 4, it looks like Google has gone with a regular sheet of polished glass, just like everyone else. Again, we think this is a shame as the two-tone look of the Pixel 3 helped set it apart from the crowd.
The photos also show the lack of a rear fingerprint sensor. Instead, the fourth-generation Pixel will be unlocked using the aforementioned face-scanning system, similar to Face ID on recent iPhones.
Finally, the rear of the phone has a large square camera module with dual lenses - this represents a major shift from previous Pixel phones, which managed to produce the best photos of any handset, but by using a single rear camera. We're excited to see what changes the extra lens will bring, and if Google's superior AI can continue to keep the Pixels' photo game ahead of the competition.
With the launch of the Pixel 4 not expected until October, we can almost guarantee that more leaks will emerge in the coming weeks - and perhaps Google itself will tease out more information between now and then, especially with the iPhone 11 likely to turn up in September.