The Google Pixel 5 is finally here — well sort of — it has been announced at least. Already there are people poking around trying to find out more details about the internals of the device, what it has and what it lacks.
The folks over at Reddit are suggesting that the earpiece for the Pixel 5 is hidden away underneath the display. If the hardware diagrams from Google themselves are anything to believe, the top speaker or earpiece is not above the display but instead a bit lower down behind the display.
While of course this is a hardware diagram from Google it does not mean it is entirely accurate. We have seen some other high end devices with under-display speakers, most of those relatively well. If will be interesting to find out just how well this speaker functions and if it is actually underneath the display — this could be a step towards a proper full screen display phone with the camera underneath next year. If Google can put it in a sub-$1000 device then you would think a company installing an in-display camera could and would as well.
One thing Google did not include are the sensors required for their Motion Sense technology. They made an appearance last year in the Pixel 4 phones but they drained the battery quiet a bit, were expensive and had very few real world uses. The main use for them was the fast but secure facial recognition unlocking method.
Google have now said that Motion Sense is not dead but hibernating. Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh told The Verge that they scrapped them for the Pixel 5 as they were too expensive but they will make an appearance in the future. While not specifically mentioned that they would appear in a smartphone it would be strange if they didn’t make a re-appearance in a Pixel phone at some stage. Rumours have them pegged for arriving in other Google products such as a Nest thermostat and likely smart displays and speakers.
Along with the Motion Sensor radar sensors the Pixel Neural Core also was scuppered — most likely as its main function was part of Motion Sense but it did apparently have other “on-device processing and machine learning” functions. Either way it has also made way to fit the phone under the price range they wanted to hit.
It makes you wonder whether Google will return to the premium smartphone market next year if they bring back Motion Sense or will they stick to this mid-premium range and just wait for hardware costs to come down. Considering the Pixel 5 would have been in development long before COVID-19 hit they most likely had their eye on this price range for a reason.
We always thought the Pixel smartphones weren’t about making massive sales — just maybe Google cares more about that than we thought.