Google Pixel 4 Makes Its First Appearance

Following months of rumors surrounding Google's upcoming replacement to its Pixel 3 flagship lineup, the Google Pixel 4 has finally earned its first mention in the Android Open Source Project Gerrit. There aren't necessarily any major details to be found at the code review since the commit in question primarily centers around a problem noted on the Pixel 3.

The fix in question addresses a problem in the "KernelAddressSanitizer" (KASAN) that produce false positives. The KASAN is a solution intended to seek out use-after-free and out-of-bounds bugs in the Linux kernel. The commit is meant to stop false-positives from appearing. That fix will apparently be applied to the Pixel 4 too, alleviating possible concerns that Google may have abandoned hardware and confirming that the gadget is, at very least, in the works.

No cause for alarm

KASAN is a solution intended to seek out use-after-free and out-of-bounds bugs in the Linux kernel. The fix being applied here isn’t necessarily a major problem in terms of acting as a vulnerability so it shouldn’t be the cause of too much alarm. While it may or may not relate to prominent memory issues with the gadget itself, the commit is simply meant to stop false-positives from appearing. So it should stop the system from pointing out and reacting to errors that just aren’t there.

As noted above, the appearance of the Google Pixel 4 in AOSP does address at least one more serious concern that might have presented itself over the past couple of months though. In mid-March, reports began to surface indicating that Google was making cuts to key employees working in select hardware branches of its business.

Although apparently aimed almost exclusively at hardware associated with laptops and tablets, the cuts set off plenty of warning bells for the industry, leading to some speculation about Google's viability as a hardware manufacturer overall. The recently spotted commit to the AOSP indicates that hardware -- at least on the Android side of things -- remains a priority for the search giant.

Still no official details

Lack of any official reference to Google's Pixel 4 has not stopped leaks, rumors, and guesses from cropping up in the meantime. That's particularly true since Google received FCC approval for no fewer than six models of a smartphone as recently as February. The understanding of those filings is that they could easily represent new models of Pixel 3 handset, including pulled back "Lite" versions of the current Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

There haven't been too many details revealed in other suspected leaks either but those have been less vague. Among those was at least one benchmark noticed in January that hinted that Pixel 4 may be internally known by the codename "coral." That also indicated it might ship with Qualcomm's latest processor on board, the Snapdragon 855, coupled with at least 6GB RAM and unsurprisingly driving Android Q.

All of that is still highly speculative but the timing here is right too. The Pixel device appearing in the Android code review at right around the same time as the Pixel 3 last year and the recent launch of Google's official beta for Android Q line up well with the historical Google hardware timeline. That should mean that more realistic information about the gadget and its "XL" counterpart won't be far behind.

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]