Google Pixel 4 might not have any physical buttons

The Google Pixel 3. Image credit: TechRadar

We’ve heard a few Google Pixel 4 leaks at this point, most of which don’t point to anything overly surprising, but the latest leak is a bit strange, as according to one source the phone won’t have any physical buttons.

That’s not to say that it won’t have any buttons at all, but rather than being physical, mechanical buttons that you press down, they’ll apparently be capacitive ones that simply respond to touch.

That’s according to Jon Prosser who said as much in an episode of Front Page Tech. And he’s worth listening to, as he’s got a good track record with Pixel leaks and he claims that this information comes from a “credible” source – though he’s also clearly skeptical of the claim, simply because it’s so unusual.

So we’d certainly take this with a pinch of salt, but there are some possible reasons for the change. For one thing, it could improve the design of the Pixel 4, allowing Google to give it a smooth frame uninterrupted by buttons sticking out.

It could also – as Phone Arena notes – improve Google’s Active Edge feature. This is a feature found on the likes of the Google Pixel 3 which lets you squeeze the sides to launch Google Assistant. But in its current form it only works on some sections of the sides, as the buttons get in the way. With capacitive buttons it might be possible to have Active Edge work along the entire length of the frame.

Speakers, scanner and camera

In more believable news, the same source also claimed that the Google Pixel 4 would have front-firing speakers, and backed up some previous Pixel 4 rumors, saying that the phone would have a punch-hole camera on the front and an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

These things too we’d take with a side of salt, but it’s not the first time we’re hearing them, and nor would it be surprising. We might not know the truth for a while though, as the Google Pixel 4 range is unlikely to land until October.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.