16 October 2019
Google's latest generation smartphones Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have been made official but if you are from India, you will not be able to buy them. This is because Google has confirmed that it will not launch the Pixel 4 series in India. The reason behind this unexpected decision is related to the marquee feature of the lineup i.e. Soli radar chip.
Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are the world's first smartphones to come with Soli radar chip that enables some unique features. The chip allows the smartphone to detect and recognize hand gestures of the user and perform certain tasks accordingly. For example, a user can wave his hand in the air and over the Pixel 4 to control music playback. The same can be done to put the phone ringer on silent when you receive a call but you don't want to pick it. The same chip is also integrated with facial recognition tech used by Google and since there is no fingerprint scanner, it becomes crucial for biometric authentication purposes.
While all that is cool for sure, Soli radar chip works on a 60GHz frequency band which is not meant to be used by civilians in India. The Indian government has restricted the band only for government and military projects. This prevents all companies from releasing any consumer product that makes use of any feature based on 60GHz frequency. It means if Google had to release Pixel 4 in India, it would have to produce custom units of the phone with no Solari chip. While this not only additional work, it will result in the smartphone coming with its most unique and highlighting feature that is likely to impact the sales as well.
In an official statement, a Google India spokesperson said:
"Google has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features. We decided not to make Pixel 4 available in India. We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India."
With no Pixel 4 for India, we can hope that Google would be releasing Pixel 4a (a speculated name for Pixel 3a successor) in the country as and when it is announced. Since it will be a mid-range smartphone, it would not be surprising if Google chooses to release it without the Soli radar chip.