Motion Sense, formerly known as Project Soli, was one thing we were all looking forward to checking out when the Pixel 4 was released. When the phone was released Motion Sense showed potential but just did not do enough and was inconsistent.

Over time Google have improved it and added a couple of functions to it but according to one source that could be where it ends. Stephen Hall of 9to5Google has been told by a source that Google will not be including Motion Sense in the Pixel 5.

Of interest is that Stephen refers to it as a “hobby” insinuating that Google did not ever really take it seriously. If that is the case that is extremely disappointing. The idea of Motion Sense is one that led to great excitement — the ability to control your phone with just hand gestures would be amazing, if it did in fact work as advertised.

In the end though Motion Sense was inconsistent with very few actual uses and actually made the battery run out even faster — something that was already average to start with. The radar chip inside the Pixel 4 required for Motion Sense is also apparently quite expensive and with Google attempting to keep costs down this year by going for a Snapdragon 765G processor adding an expensive chip that does very little would seem a very strange decision.

Also, although Motion Sense got the approval to be used here in Australia it did not everywhere in the world. Maybe Google has put it in the too hard basket for now.

Then the question is what do they do with their face unlock. Part of the face unlock experience was the phone “sensing” you going to pick it up and turning the face unlock function on. Maybe they will have to use the other sensors to turn it on making you move the phone in some way — the same way other phones do so. I certainly cannot see Google going back to a fingerprint sensor in its flagship but they will need to improve the consistency of their face unlock.

Of course the Pixel 4a has not even been released and we are a good four months or so until the Pixel 5 is launched so these rumours should be taken with a grain of salt — in saying that where there’s smoke there is fire. It is possible that Google are having that discussion about what to include in their 2020 flagship phone — will they prioritise a third lens on the rear and / or a bigger battery over a Soli radar chip?

One thing for sure is that we will all be watching closely to what Google bring to the table with their flagship this year. Expect an extremely high quality camera but aside from that it has been hit and miss with Google in recent years. Hopefully this is the year they can put it all together delivering a great Pixel experience across all facets of the phone with a battery life to match.

Anyone heard that before?

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To can turn off motion sense and face unlock works just fine. Lift to wake is enough and that does not using Soli chip technology.


Not really surprising, I don’t think I’ve ever used it besides trying it out once. No killer apps were made using it and there’s been no buzz about it after it launched.