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Google Pixel 5 could dump the Pixel 4's most unpopular feature

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Google added motion sensors to last year's Pixel 4 to enable users to interact with their phone without having to touch it, but the resulting tech, Motion Sense, didn't work very well. So it would be no surprise if Google dropped Motion Sense from the upcoming Pixel 5 – and a new report suggests that will be the case.

In a podcast from the Google rumors website 9to5Google, the hosts discussed a rumor that the Soli chip will be left out of the Pixel 5. If this turns out to be true, the upcoming Pixel will also lose 3D face unlock, or at least will move to a different implementation, although as with all pre-release leaks it's worth taking this with a pinch of salt.

Motion Sense was the hallmark feature of the Google Pixel 4 series, and was enabled by Google's Soli motion-sensing radar tech. It enabled users to navigate the interface, and control various apps, using gestures, without having to physically interact with their device.

But while the Pixel 4 was the first device to sport Soli, it also seems like it will be the last from Google.

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Motion Sense was novel, but it was far from perfect: many users claimed that it didn’t always work as advertised, and its functionality was limited to just a few apps. It was problematic in other ways, too, as the frequencies at which it operated weren't legal in some countries, which led to the Pixel 4 not launching in markets such as India

By axing Soli, Google will likely be able to sell the Pixel 5 in more markets, and it's also possible that the handset will be more affordable than the Pixel 4 as a result. Google's desire to keep the price of the phone down is also reflected in its rumored choice of chipset, as it's said to be opting for the mid-range Snapdragon 768G, rather than the flagship Snapdragon 865.

Although that chip doesn't have the top-end processing speeds of the 865, the 768G would enable 5G capabilities and bring support for 120Hz displays, superior imaging and gaming. The cameras are expected to remain a standout feature of the Pixel 5, although it remains to be seen how the departure of the brains behind its photography team will affect that. 

We expect to hear much more about the Google Pixel 5 as its launch date nears, and we're expecting that to be around October, so stay tuned to TechRadar for all the latest news and leaks.