Every mobile company gives hints into future software experiences, and Google is no exception. Its 10.38 update in the Google app hints at not only Google Assistant integration into Pixel phone settings, but also suggests the possibility of a Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL kickstand accessory for its next-generation flagship.
Google Assistant continues to develop, with Google having taken the Assistant from "Google Now" that could tell you the weather, time, and give some sports scores to now being an interactive AI that solves problems, tells jokes, and even starts games with just a word or two. In May, Google said that the next-generation Assistant would come to Pixel phone settings. Now that promise is coming true in Google app update 10.38 on Android 10.0 Q ("Q" still doesn't have a name Google has revealed yet; we feel your pain).
Google Assistant in the Pixel Settings is a good idea because it keeps all the settings of the Pixel phones in one place. This doesn't mean that Android users don't access them in the Google app, but perhaps Google believes adding them to the Pixel settings will provide easier access for some than the current arrangement. In the Pixel Settings, users will be able to set up the "Hey Google" hot word where users simply speak the words "Hey Google" and Google Assistant "awakens" to process their request.
There is also a "Squeeze for your Assistant" feature, allowing Pixel users to squeeze the bottom of their phones to activate Google Assistant. Back with Google Now, Google unleashed a feature that allowed users to tap for the information they wanted instead of speaking to their phone in public, out loud. Perhaps the "Squeeze for your Assistant" feature is designed to be a way to "nudge" your smartphone to awaken when you need it without letting everyone around you know you're talking to Google's AI.
The major surprise for the upcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is that there could be a kickstand case in the works. Just last month, Google placed a new "enable_device_integration_string" phrase into the code for Android Q. The code certainly refers to some sort of device integration with the upcoming Pixel 4, though no one knows. Tech site 9to5Google says it could be some sort of kickstand to highlight the new Always On Display (or Ambient Display, as Google calls it) for the Pixel 4 series.
If you'll recall, last year's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL introduced a wireless charging dock that puts the Pixels in the Ambient mode when wirelessly charging them and lets users summon Google Assistant with the screen off. The Pixel Stand has proven to be not only a wireless charging dock but also turns the Pixels into smart home displays.
There's no string command regarding a "charging dock" with the upcoming Pixel 4 series, so perhaps this kickstand is a phone case instead of a charging dock. A wireless charging case would complement a wireless charging dock, allowing users to "juice up" on the go without carrying a USB Type-C cable or wireless charging pad and adapter. There's not much detail in the code, so we'll have to wait and see on this one.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are expected to arrive with 5.7-inch and 6.3-inch OLED screens, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC (not the 855 Plus), 6GB of RAM for the first time in Google's flagship series, 64GB/128GB storage variants, not to mention dual rear cameras for the first time in Google's Pixel lineup. The Pixel 4 will have a smaller battery than the Pixel 3 (2800mAh for the Pixel 4 vs. 2915mAh for the Pixel 3) but the Pixel 4 XL will have a 3,700mAh battery as opposed to the 3,430mAh battery of the Pixel 3 XL.
The Pixel 4 series is expected to start at around $799 for the 64GB storage variant. Google will announce Android 10.0 with its "Q" name, though no clues are out in the open about what it could be just yet.