Well, that’s one way to deal with the leaks. Google on Wednesday revealed a key feature of the Pixel 4 months ahead of its presumed release following a leak by YouTube creator Unbox Therapy just 24 hours earlier. In the tweet from its Made by Google account, the company showed off the back of the Pixel 4, featuring a dual camera array and no fingerprint sensor.
That’s a shocking reveal from a company that generally likes to copy Apple’s hype game with its press conferences. Leading up to the release of the Pixel 3a at Google I/O, for example, Google teased the arrival of “a new hero” along with the date of the keynote. However, in true Google fashion, the company downplayed the announcement as a mere appetizer with the tagline: “Wait ‘til you see what it can do.”
In a curious similarity, the image of the Pixel 4 looks a lot like the iPhone 11 renders that have been floating around the web for the past few months. But while Apple’s bulbous bump will reportedly house three cameras, the picture of the Pixel 4’s square housing only has two cameras inside.
Other than the bump and the gray Google logo, the phone doesn’t have the Pixel’s signature two-tone design. A design staple from the start, the rear of Google’s original Pixel had a shiny glass window above the metal back to help with cellular reception and it continued the look with the Pixel 3’s all-glass enclosure. However, if these are final renders—and they seem to be—the back of the Pixel 4 will be very plain.
The image of the Pixel 4 back case curiously lacks a fingerprint sensor, which has been on the rear of the phone since the original Pixel. That could mean Google’s new handset is adopting an in-display fingerprint sensor like the Galaxy S10 or OnePlus 7 Pro, or possibly a Face ID-style camera unlocking method.
Like the rest of the industry, Google’s phones have been subject to rampant leaks. The Pixel 3 rumors were so plentiful, in fact, it spawned a conspiracy theory that Google was playing a game of misdirection and that the actual phone was being kept secret. That turned out to be unfounded when Google unveiled the Pixel 3 during its NYC event.
But while leaks certainly take away some of the excitement leading up to a major launch, revealing such a key feature of the Pixel 4 so early is an equally risky strategy. With confirmation that the Pixel 4 will have a better camera and features than the Pixel 3, why would anyone pay $800 or $900 for Google’s flagship phone now? Google has established a strategy of bringing new camera features to older handsets, but with a second camera, it would seem that the Pixel 4 will have features that aren’t possible with a single lens.
But whatever the reasoning, we now know that the Google Pixel 4 will finally bring a second rear camera to what’s already the best phone for photographers. Now we can all start speculating about how deep the notch on the front will go.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.