Google Pixel 4's Screen Attention Feature Not Coming to Older Pixel Devices

Yet another of Google's odd software-related decisions.

Google Pixel 4's Screen Attention Feature Not Coming to Older Pixel Devices

Screen attention keeps the screen on when a user is looking at it

  • Screen attention was introduced on the Google Pixel 4 series
  • The feature keeps the screen on when the user is looking at it
  • It won’t be coming to older Pixel phones, as confirmed by Google

Google recently launched the Pixel 4 series, and with it came new software and hardware features. The most exciting of these are the motion sensing features, which largely make use of the Soli radar chip on the new devices. One of these features is ‘screen attention', which keeps the screen on when the device detects that a user is looking at it, overriding the timer that would have put the phone on standby after a pre-determined period of time. This feature won't be coming to older Google Pixel smartphones, according to a new report.

Screen attention isn't a new feature in the larger scheme of things, with various smartphone makers including Samsung implementing similar features on phones for some years now. According to a report by Android Police, the feature doesn't even seem to use the Soli radar chip on the Pixel 4 series, instead relying on the front camera to detect if a user is looking at the screen. If this is the case, it's simply a matter of a software update to bring the feature to older Google Pixel devices.

Android Police reached out to Google to find out if this could happen, and Google confirmed to the publication that it doesn't have any plans to bring the feature to older Pixel phones ‘for now'. This comes across as a bit strange to us, since it's something that could easily be implemented on older devices.

Google's Pixel 4 series smartphones have been faced with criticism in India, where the devices have not been launched due to spectrum licensing issues for the Soli radar chip. The series has seen limited success in India due to the pricing and the wide availability of more affordable devices that are perceived to be better value.


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Further reading: Google, Google Pixel 4, Android 10
Ali Pardiwala writes about audio and video devices for Gadgets 360 out of Mumbai, and has covered the industry for a decade now. Ali is a Senior Reviewer for Gadgets 360, where he has regularly written about televisions, home entertainment, and mobile gaming as well. He is a firm believer in 4K and HDR on televisions, and believes that true wireless earphones are the future of the personal audio industry. Ali is available on Twitter as @AliusPardius and on email at, so do send in ...More
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