Google Pixel 4: Release date, price, specs and rumours so far

Matthew Field
The Google Pixel 4 - Evan Blass

Google's Pixel smartphone launches never used to elicit the awestruck reactions of say Apple's iPhone reveals, but gradually the Android phone maker has solidified its place among premier phone designs and garnered a following of fans.

While the Google Pixel 4, which the search giant is expected to reveal on Tuesday, is not going to sell in anything like the numbers of Apple's device, it represents a chance for it to show its chops as a hardware maker.

Some of the upgrades we are likely to see on the new Pixel include a completely redesigned camera, improved screen technology, secure facial unlocking, and the ability to control your device without picking it up or touching it using gestures.

The new devices come just a few months after Google revealed its Pixel 3a phones, a cheaper version of its flagship range, and a follow on from its flagship Pixel 3 devices last year.

Google is hosting a launch event in New York. Plenty of alleged details and images have already leaked. Here is everything we know so far about what it has planned:

Google Pixel 4 release date?

Google is due to announce the Pixel 4 among a range of other new devices at an event in New York at 10am local time, 3pm UK time.

After this, it is normally a little over a week until the company launches the phone in stores and online. Last year there was a nine-day gap, so we can probably expect the new phone to come out late next week.

Google Pixel 4 new features

Pixel 4 design

Google's Pixel 4 could come with a dramatic redesign. Gone is Google sticking to its single rear camera of recent years, instead we may see a camera block, similar to what has been featured on the iPhone 11. 

Google has not been quite as secretive as its big tech rivals in recent years about its design choices, preferring to try and stay ahead of the leaks.

As early as June the official Made by Google page tweeted what the new design might look like.

The phone has also removed any fingerprint sensors from the rear of the device, suggesting it may make full use of facial recognition technology. This is some way behind rivals which have already turned fully to facial recognition, or have included in-screen fingerprint readers.

One key break from the main competition will be a lack of the infamous notch. This indent at the top of phone screens has become something of a love-it-or-hate-it feature, although it does allow more screen space. The model will have a glass front and back design.

It will come in at least two sizes - a 5.7-inch screen model and a 6.3-inch screen size model. There are also reports of an additional 5G device, which will include faster network technology, although it is not clear if Google will debut this at the event.

How the Pixel 4 will apparently look Credit: Evan Blass

Pixel 4 screen size

The Pixel 4 is due to have a 5.7-inch screen, while a larger XL model will have a 6.3-inch screen. The regular phone will have a full HD display, while the larger a Quad HD display. Google is planning to include new screen technology that should lend a smoother viewing experience.

According to 9to5Google, this is being called "Smooth Motion", with the screen responding at 90Hz, making it far faster than the previous models. Most major devices use a 60Hz refresh rate - that could mean that Google's screen speed, for scrolling or gaming, appears superior to rivals.

Google Pixel 4 colours

Google often goes along a slightly more unusual route with its colour scheme (its original model featured the bizarrely named "quite black"). This year, we are expecting to see a white and black model. There has also been a big banner advert in New York showing off an orange model, which is believed to be dubbed "Oh So Orange". 

The Google Pixel in Orange advertised in New York Credit: Imgur

'Motion sense' and Project Soli

One of the more exciting features Google is expected to debut on the Pixel 4 is a new way of controlling your device. This technology has been tentatively dubbed "motion sense" (or "Aware" in other accounts).

Google has been testing a technology known as Project Soli since as long ago as 2015. A research project it has showed off on occasion at its developer conferences, Soli is a chip that uses ultra-accurate close range radar technology to pick up movements and gestures.

Now, this technology is getting closer to reality. According to 9to5Google, the company has gained clearance from US regulators to deploy the chips in devices. And technology site XDA Developers has found code in the beta version of its Android Q software. Some of the gestures include music controls, such as a motion for skipping songs or pausing them.

How Google envisioned Project Soli might look on a table in an early concept Credit: Google

Camera specs

Google's Pixel has always featured camera technology that punches above its weight. But until now, it has stuck to using just one camera lens, while rivals have added two, three or even four, which combine together to create even more detailed shots.

This time, Google is believed to have followed the crowd with a dual rear camera that forms a distinctive rear bump on the model. The two cameras will feature a 12MP and 16MP lenses. The phone is expected to come with features like a night mode and a portrait mode.

The larger model will also have a dual selfie camera, although this is missing from the smaller Pixel 4.

A 5G Pixel?

Most smartphone makers are working on how they can upgrade their phones to include the latest 5G network technology, with models from Samsung, Huawei and others all sporting the new faster network tech. Apple has noticeably held off from the technology this year, but there are reports that Google could get out in front.

According to Japan's Nikkei, Google has been working on 5G technology for the Pixel 4. However, it may not release this or even show it off at Tuesday's event, debuting a 5G model early next year.

What else will Google announce?

Google has been making more of its product events in recent years. Google is expected to unveil several devices alongside the Pixel, these will include a new Pixelbook Go laptop, a successor to its Google Pixelbook Chromebook design first launched in 2017. It is expected to be more of a "true" laptop build, without a two-in-one design or a supporting stylus pen. It will come with a 4K display.

As well as this, Google is due to release new devices from its smart speaker line. These voice controlled speakers are Google's rival to Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo speakers. According to 9to5Google, it is gradually rebranding its previous Google Home Mini speakers as Nest Mini models. The device will cost around £49 and come with features like a wall-mount. 

What about a Google Pixel Watch?

One item that some fans have been clamouring for is a Google smartwatch. Rumours have been flying around for years that a Pixel Watch is in the works, and speculation increased in January after it agreed to acquire smartwatch technology and personnel from Fossil Group. 

For several years, Google has provided software, called Wear OS, that other companies can use to make their own internet-connected watches. But sales of those devices have lagged well behind the Apple's Watch.

The Nikkei Asian Review caused a buzz in recent weeks after reporting that the company planned to roll out a Pixel Watch at the New York event. But experts have played down the likelihood of a watch being unveiled on Tuesday.

Google Pixel 4 price in the UK

It's not clear how expensive the new Google Pixel will be in the UK. Reports suggest the regular model will start at around $999 (£790) in the US. Separately, however, mobile phone expert Evan Blass has suggested they could be somewhat cheaper, having seen a pricing breakdown for the models in Canada. These suggest the cheapest version could be as little as CAD$1,050 (£629).