In a rare move by any tech company, Google confirmed the existence of the Pixel 4 several months ahead its anticipated release in October. The tech giant not only posted the news on its own Made By Google Twitter account, but it also included an image of the phone, which depicts a square camera bump, with multiple rear cameras. Judging by the reactions from the tweet, many were taken aback by the information — not due to the phone itself, but because Google decided to unveil the news at all. The Pixel 4 has also now been spotted in use in London.
To drop an upcoming device’s name and an official image this early is unusual. Despite numerous rumors, rendered images and leaked specs, companies like Apple, Samsung and Google generally like to keep mum about their product announcements until they hold official events like Apple’s developers conference and September iPhone event, Samsung Unpacked and Google I/O, where the company took the wraps off its latest Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL. Google declined a request for comment, but we have a few guesses why Google made such a bizarre move.
Reason 1: It can claim it didn’t copy the iPhone 11
The most popular theory is that Google wanted to get ahead of any accusations that it copied Apple and its next iPhone. For several months, the upcoming iPhone 11 has been rumored to have a square camera bump too. Because the iPhone is expected to come out in September and Pixel phones usually launch in October, it would be easy to conclude that Google “copied” Apple’s design. (BTW: The camera layout isn’t altogether unique — the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example, also has such a design.) To avoid such talk, Google could have decided to whip out the image early to say it had the design in mind long before the iPhone’s launch, knowing that Apple will remain tight-lipped about any iPhone features until September.
Reason 2: The Pixel 4 might release earlier than October
Four months is a pretty long time to tease a product ahead of its assumed launch date. Perhaps Google unveiled this info in June because the Pixel 4 might actually not debut in October. Maybe the phone is coming earlier, like in September (to position it even closer in competition to the iPhone) or even August. This would be a strange move though, since the Pixel 3A and 3A XL were just announced in May and it’d be a good idea for Google to allow some time between announcements of its two phone series.