December 4, 2023


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I keep forgetting that the Pixel 8 Pro also has a temperature sensor

I keep forgetting that the Pixel 8 Pro also has a temperature sensor

I love the Pixel 8 Pro, but there is one element of the phone that I didn’t use, which is the temperature sensor.

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Pixel phones have largely focused on providing a simple and smart experience, but Google also hasn’t been shy about trying a few random tricks here or there. The Pixel 4 is the biggest example of this, as the device debuted a Soli radar sensor which, while neat, wasn’t very useful and didn’t ultimately make it to any further versions. Since then, it’s seemed like Google has played it particularly safe, but the Pixel 8 Pro does, well, not that.

In a strange choice, Google equipped the Pixel 8 Pro with a temperature sensor on the back. The sensor can detect an object’s surface temperature when it’s a few inches away, but that’s all it really does. Google is waiting for FDA approval to capture human body temperatures using the sensor, which could be of some help, but for now there is only an app that can detect the body’s surface temperature.

And you guys, I can’t express how pointless this is yet.

In the several weeks I’ve been using the Pixel 8 Pro, I’ve used this sensor twice, both just to get a feel for how it works in our review. While the sensor works and the app is easy enough to use, there wasn’t a single valid use case I could think of. Every now and then I remember that the sensor is there because most of the time it is out of mind.

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Even Google hasn’t been able to come up with a really useful use case for this feature, which is why it’s something buried. It only appears in one app, it’s never mentioned in the marketing, and there’s only one mention on the phone’s Google Store page.

As a result, I keep forgetting it even exists. Case in point, earlier this week, Nick Sotrich was finished in Android Central Put the Pixel 8 Pro’s temperature sensor through the wringer in a series of tests against a classic thermometer and the results weren’t particularly impressive. The Pixel was generally off by a decent margin in every test, which reinforces the fact that it’s not a useful feature. But, when I saw this post, I legitimately thought to myself: “Right, this is a thing.”

I’m not convinced even approval for human body temperatures will make this sensor useful, and I’m pretty confident this won’t make it to the next-gen Pixel.

The most important news of this week

Amazon may abandon Android

A new report this week revealed that Amazon, which has been using a forked version of Android for many of its products for several years now, is working on an internal operating system that would eventually eliminate Android from many, if not all, of its products. Apparently, this will start with Fire TV.

Google removes Fitbit from many markets

Nothing Google does should come as a surprise at this point, but it was revealed this week that the company has removed Fitbit products from more than half of the markets it was active in, a decision that still leaves us scratching our heads. Since one of the main complaints about the Pixel is its limited footprint, Fitbit’s broader reach seemed like a natural starting point for the Pixel’s wider availability, and now it’s just disappeared.

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that it strange option.

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