We’re a few days away from the big reveal of the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, but the leaks aren’t likely to dry up until the launch event. The latest information appearing on flagship phones covers details of face unlock and eSIM features.
This comes from an Android expert Mishaal Rahman (Opens in a new tab) (via Android Police (Opens in a new tab)), who was searching the code in the Google Play Console – this is the platform developers use to manage the availability of their apps on Android.
Google is doing some groundwork for the arrival of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — codenamed Panther and Cheetah respectively — and that means some of the new phones’ features are now flagged in the Google Play Console database.
Oh, and also, both Pixel 7s advertise support for “android.hardware.biometrics.face”, which means they support secure face unlock! pic.twitter.com/vjGdkWgvj9September 29, 2022
Based on the code in force now, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will fully unlock the face unlock. The feature was left out of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 phones as it was one of the selling points of the Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL.
Google originally described dropping Face Unlock as a “good trade-off” in terms of the overall feature set that the Pixels offer, but there’s been consistent chatter about the idea of it returning to the Pixel 7 — and even retroactively it’s been rolling out to Pixel 6 phones as well.
The other piece of information revealed here is that the phones appear to be ready to support dual eSIM settings, rather than a single physical SIM and a single eSIM. Whether or not that means Pixel 7 phones will come without SIM trays – at least in some areas – remains to be seen. The launch event is scheduled for Thursday, October 6th.
Analysis: Pixels can recover their Face ID
It’s not certain that the code spotted in the Google Play Console will equal the secure, full face unlock on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — but it certainly seems more likely. It looks like at least some form of facial recognition will be introduced.
Apple has of course worked with Face ID on its recent iPhones, with the exception of the budget iPhone SE. As a way to unlock a phone, it’s fast, convenient, and secure, and Google was supposed to add it back to the Pixel line before now.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL incorporate special radar sensor technology that can draw a face at amazing speed from a variety of angles. Face unlock worked fine on those phones, as if the lock screen wasn’t there.
Getting the same friction-free unlocking experience would be a definite plus for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — and given that many of the specs are expected to match their Pixel 6 predecessors, it looks like the new phones could use some upgrades to show off.