After two generations of straightforward, focused and solid smartphones, it looks like Google has itchy feet and plans to introduce something weird again. The company that brought us squeeze control and wholly unnecessary gestures on a handheld device is apparently plotting a temperature sensor for the Pixel 8 Pro.
Yes, the phone will double as a wireless thermometer according to a now taken-down instructional video from the reliable leaker Kuba Wojciechowski shared with 91mobiles. Even though the original video is gone, it was screenshotted a lot before it departed — so you can see it in all its impractical glory throughout this piece.
First, you have to open the software on your handset, then hold the camera module as close to your forehead as possible. Then, awkwardly tap the go button on a screen you can’t see, and gradually move the phone across your face until it hits the temple. Voila, you have a body temperature — albeit, possibly not an accurate one. We’ll just have to wait and see.
This would have been handy three years ago when Covid 19 was running rampant, and getting your forehead scanned with a wireless thermometer was sometimes the price to access even the most tedious of buildings. But in 2023 it feels like a somewhat unnecessary party trick — and one that requires a whole new sensor to boot.
Maybe Google will have some really interesting ideas on how to use a dedicated temperature sensor. The company owns Fitbit after all, so it could try and combine data there, I suppose. But you can’t help but think that the space occupied by the sensor could be used for something moderately more useful — like LiDAR — instead.
It’s likely a moot point for most New Zealanders, anyway. Google hasn’t shown a great deal of interest in getting its Pixel products to Kiwis thus far, so you’ll likely just have to keep using a reliable old thermometer for measuring temperatures anyway. You’ll live.