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The Pixel 8 Pro's temperature sensor is as restricted as we expected
- The Pixel 8 Pro’s temperature sensor is only able to measure object temperatures now.
- Google says it’s working on getting it approved for human temperature sensing, but there’s no timeline for that.
- No other use cases were presented for this sensor.
With the Pixel 8 Pro finally official, we now know everything there is to know about the phone, including that mysterious sensor at the back. Like the original rumors suggested, it’s a temperature sensor, and its use cases are as limited as we first imagined. Perhaps even more.
For now, Google is only highlighting the “object temperature” capabilities of the sensor. (The slide we were shown only indicated beverage and water temperature, not even solid materials, which is even more restrictive.) When we asked about practical use cases, we were told you can get it to take the temperature of an object, like a cup of coffee or your home insulation around windows, and… well… that’s it. The company seemed as unclear as us about its real-life applications.
Google also said it’s submitting an application to the FDA to get the sensor approved for human use, so you could take your temperature and add it to the Fitbit app, but there’s no exact timeline for approval yet. The company declined to comment on other regions’ certifications, including the EU.
Are you disappointed by the Pixel 8 Pro's temperature sensor?
When asked about what would happen if we just took our temperature with the sensor now, Google reiterated that the sensor isn’t yet approved for that. Personally, I think you can experiment with the sensor, but maybe don’t take its word for granted and check it against other sensors and thermometers if you can. It’s not like your head would explode if you pointed it at your forehead now, but don’t blame me if it does!
I’m a bit disappointed to see that Google’s engineers couldn’t figure out cooler use cases for this and our previous poll on the thermometer indicates that half of you will be disappointed too because you hoped Google had extracted more value from it.
Although it can come in handy in a pinch, the sensor feels like a reactionary answer to the pandemic (which is around the time Pixel 8 series development must’ve started) and not part of a clear Pixel strategy. I would’ve loved to see it used to push ahead some innovative photography features to improve the Pixel’s standing among the best camera phones. FLIR-like thermal imaging would’ve been neat too, but the sensor’s reach is far less than a FLIR camera.