The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are officially launched but it could be good news for those #TeamPixel fans only in some markets as a few markets are going to see the launch being either canceled or delayed. One of the major markets where you are seeing this situation is the Indian market.
Why is Google skipping the India launch for Pixel 4 for now?
It has to do with the Project Soli, a motion-sensing radar. Now, if you know what a radar means, you should know how it would work on a smartphone. There’s a whole lot of things that you can do with the Motion Sense features based on Project Soli, but this feature has its own restricting based on the regions.
While explaining Soli a few weeks ago, Google had mentioned “1. This device may not be sold or otherwise distributed until required legal authorizations have been obtained.”
Now, what the Google’s official Pixel 4 page mentions is:
Motion Sense functional in the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and most European countries. Not all phone features are controlled by Motion Sense.
Sad news is that Google isn’t getting the permissions and legal authorizations to bring the Project Soli functionality to India and thus, at least for now, we won’t see the Pixel 4 in India any time soon. Or we might not see Pixel 4 at all in the country. Even later. The Soli radar chips used in the phone do not meet the requirements of hardware in India.
Back in January, Alphabet Inc’s Google unit won approval from US regulators to deploy a radar-based motion sensing device known as Project Soli. The FCC said the sensors can also be operated aboard aircraft. Since this is a radar and its usage can affect the communications of the aircrafts with the ATC (Air Traffic Control), the usage of it is restricted in some regions. In India, you cannot still use your mobile network while on a flight, and in some regions, it is allowed to not just have your phone actively connected to a network but also to make calls and use the Internet on mobile data.
Even before the launch, Facebook Inc had raised concerns that the Soli sensors operating in the spectrum band at higher power levels might have issues coexisting with other technologies, after Google had asked FCC for the permission of Soli to operate in the 57- to 64-GHz frequency band at power levels consistent with European Telecommunications Standards Institute standards.
Now, one could argue that Google can turn the Motion Sense features off and still launch, but Google hasn’t included any other security feature apart from the Face Unlock, which relies on the sensors in Project Soli. So, in the end, Soli has to be active for even the biometric security and authentication on the phone.
Now, it would be interesting to see how the agencies in India allow the usage of Project Soli. For now, the hardware used in the radar does not meet the requirements in the country.