Android 11 adds a new Motion Sense gesture to pause music on the Pixel 4
When Google announced the Pixel 4, one of the main things they showed off was Motion Sense. These are air gestures using Google’s proprietary Soli chip. It is basically a miniature radar chip built into the phone. At launch, it could control music by skipping tracks and it could detect when you were picking up the phone. With Android 11, released today as the first developer preview, Google has added a few new features including a play/pause gesture for controlling music.
This new gesture in Android 11 is like a tap in the air above the phone. It’s definitely hard to get just right, but it is a good gesture to have. It is one of the few controls that I felt was really missing from the whole music control suite. Thankfully, Google has added it. It’s more of a light tap in the air instead of an intentional tap. It’s like touching an invisible touch screen instead of pressing a big button.
In my brief testing after installing Android 11, I do find the other Motion Sense gestures to be a bit more accurate. I’ve found that I don’t need to intentionally make the actions and more natural motions are working to control the device. It’s a good upgrade as Motion Sense was largely known as a bad gimmick by the tech community. Hopefully, with these improvements, Google has brought it past the point of a bad gimmick and turned it into an actually meaningful feature.
It’s good to see Google is adding new features to Motion Sense in Android 11. I know a lot of the community was worried Google would add it then completely ignore it until the Pixel 5. Luckily, they are improving and upgrading it to make the bezel vs notch trade-off more worth it.