Even though there are presumably four months before the Pixel 4 makes its debut, Android enthusiasts already have a good idea how the phone looks. Why?  Because Google has officially shared a render of the device. That’s a big deal.

More often than not, major phone releases from Samsung, Google, and Apple are spoiled weeks or months in advance. It seems that multiple times a year we could term a handset’s launch as “the worst kept secret in mobile.” People love to leak devices and the masses eat it up.

The Pixel 3 was perhaps the worst of them all as last year’s flagship phone saw a whole array of leaks, releases, early unboxings, and more. Things got so bad that even Google had to poke fun at it upon its debut. The situation for its low-cost sibling, the Pixel 3a, was nearly as bad in the run-up to its May launch.

The problem with flagships

One of the more common statements or complaints around Google’s phones is that they appear to copy Apple’s design language. This would definitely be the case for 2019 as the corner with multiple cameras is strikingly similar to what Apple has in store. Putting the Pixel 4 out there ahead of time can help massage that mentality a bit.

Perhaps the worst part about a phone that spends months being leaked is that the actual announcement is somewhat of a letdown. More often than not, the formal debut of a handset leaves us wishing there was just one little thing we didn’t know about. Sometimes, the bigger the device, the more muted its launch.

Why did Google do this?

As to why Google decided to leak and/or confirm its next phone isn’t clear just yet. Maybe it’s to steal the thunder away from the non-sanction renders and the outlets racking up page views from them.

On the other hand, maybe Google is genuinely excited about its phone and what it “can do”. We might be reading the tea leaves a bit too much here, but that sounds as if there’s more here than just high-end specifications.

A Project Soli chip makes the most sense as it could usher in a whole new way of interacting with our devices. Using gestures for media playback controls and other tasks sounds really cool, especially if it’s supported by hardware. If the radar tech is half as cool as the one used for its cameras, Google could really up the ante in the Pixel 4.

Why this makes sense

We all know that phone makers are aware of the chatter online and in social media circles. By confirming the existence of the Pixel 4, Google is able to get out in front of the conversation, and even shape it to a degree. If the leaks start to center around a particular topic or detail, Google can jump in, move things along, or even change the subject.

Google can now slow drip things into the ether, teasing the phone and building hype around it. We’ve seen LG and OnePlus adopt a similar strategy for its handsets, trickling features and specs in the build up to launch.

Another benefit of taking this reactive/proactive approach to leaks, Google can hope to avoid being perceived as a brand that cannot keep a lid on its products. While that might actually be the case, Google may instead appear as being so excited about its next phone that it can’t keep quiet.

What’s next for the Pixel 4?

At this stage it’s nearly impossible to forecast what happens next.

Maybe, just maybe, Google has started a campaign to tease out its new phone and its features. This could be the first step in a concerted effort to build hype. It might also be that Google plans to drop the Pixel 4 earlier than normal.

We suspect we’ll go through the usual steps of more leaks, different angles of the phone in the wild, and stuff from phone case manufacturers. The specs, pricing, and features will spill out in the coming months and we’ll get the Pixel 4 in early October. That is, of course, if the last few years are any indicator.

It’s hard to say for sure, but we’re anxious either way.

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