A leaked image purportedly of Pixel 3 screen protectors.
Photo: Ice Universe (Twitter)

Google’s forthcoming Pixel 4 series smartphones will have giant bezels on the front of the device containing space for some kind of mystery component, according to images leaked on Twitter.

Per the Verge, the leaked images (from prolific tipster Ice Universe, via 9to5Google) purport to show mockups for front panels or screen protectors from the forthcoming line of phones. The images show a number of cutouts on the “forehead” bezel, which 9to5Google says are likely for its two cameras, a widely expected facial recognition sensor, the speaker, as well as (by far the largest) a wide one on the right-hand side that could be for a “Project Soli” radar sensor. 9to5Google has previously reported that sensor, which is expected to be included in the Pixel 4 line, could be used for “anything from gesture-based control while driving to new Assistant interaction methods” and seems like a reasonable guess as to what could fill that real estate.

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@OnLeaks and iGeeksBlog issued leaked renders of what the finished product is expected to look like, though they noted there is still no official explanation for what the big cutout on the upper right side is for.

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Other speculative explanations for the wide cutout include a sensor for a feature mimicking Apple’s True Tone dynamic displays.

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As the Verge noted, these bezels are considerably larger than ones on competing Android phones like the S10 Plus or the OnePlus 7 Pro. But owners of Pixel 3 XL phones may be happy to see that this could confirm the giant notch located on the top of the device will be going the way of the dodo in future generations, at least.

Per 9to5Google:

The size difference between the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is also shown with [the @OnLeaks/iGeeksBlog] gallery, and there’s a considerable difference in both height and width. The overall dimensions of the Google Pixel 4 are 147.0 x 68.9 x 8.2 mm, with the camera bump at 9.3mm. That’s compared to the 160.4 x 75.2 x 8.2mm dimensions of the Pixel 4 XL that were previously revealed. It’s also just a bit bigger than 2018’s Pixel 3 which was 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9 mm.

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Google has already released pictures of the back side of the phones, confirming that the Pixel 4 will ship with a bump containing dual rear cameras that were not present on the Pixel 3. So far, Google has relied on software methods to power its portrait mode, low-light Night Sight mode, and Super Res Zoom to more than competitive results, and the addition of even more hardware could juice the line’s photo capabilities even further. (There are also two slots for sensors in the big camera bump, which could be used for anything from a flicker sensor that helps prevents banding to a time-of-flight sensor.) Notably, the fingerprint sensor included in the Pixel 3 has been missing but could possibly be replaced by an in-display scanner or Project Soli tech.

Time will tell. Google is expected to announce the Pixel 4 line in October, though the company had a rough time with leaks the last go-around and more details are all but certain to emerge before then.

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[9to5Google via the Verge]