Earlier this week, a new Pixel 8 Pro leak gave us a small glimpse into one of the phone’s mysterious features: The additional sensor on the camera bump could be an infrared thermometer. You bring it close to your forehead and temple and it tells you your body temperature. Yes, like any Braun or Omron forehead thermometer.
What do you think of the Pixel 8 Pro’s rumored thermometer?
As you can imagine, this news has left many of us scratching our (fore)heads because, well, why? A thermometer is not something we associate with phones, mobility, or always-with-us-slash-just-in-case usage. Sure, a thermometer is useful and essential, but a regular person may only need it once or twice a year, and even then, they’d probably be at home shivering when they do — home, where most people already own a cheap thermometer. Parents will use a thermometer more, of course, but again, they’ll either be at home with their children or they’ll have one packed in their to-go bag.
And given that the ugliest and scariest parts of COVID seem to be behind us, the need for a thermometer and on-the-go fever monitoring feels a little passé. You don’t see people walking down the street randomly measuring their temperature.
While I was discussing this with my Android Authority teammates, opinions about this rumor varied. Some are foreseeing a Pixel 4 Soli-like situation where we get a weird pet-project for a year then it gets immediately abandoned the year after. Other colleagues are (tongue-in-cheekily) wondering if it can measure the phone’s own temperature to warn of an overheating Tensor chip. Personally, I’m cautious to pass judgment for the time being.
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Rumors don’t always paint the full picture and I think Google has gotten its Pixel act together enough over the last two generations to deserve the benefit of the doubt. Even if the Pixel 6 series and Pixel 7 series aren’t perfect, they’re the most consistent and solid phones the company has built to date, with no gimmicks. There’s a clearer vision and path in Google’s hardware division, so maybe this infrared sensor is more than just a thermometer? Or maybe the AI and ML engineers have figured out a way to use it for something else too?
The initial rumor suggested that the sensor could also be used to measure the temperature of objects, so maybe there’s a basic FLIR-like thermal imaging functionality there. We won’t know until the Pixel 8 Pro launches, though. In the meantime, let us know, where do you fall on the skepticism spectrum?