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Pixel 4-style hands-free gestures could come to another phone brand

It also looks like the next Xiaomi Mix Fold device will finally gain a free-stop hinge.
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Published onJuly 3, 2023

Google Pixel 4 Motion Sense Soli radar music control
TL;DR
  • An upcoming Xiaomi device could gain hands-free gesture functionality.
  • This would allow you to control media playback and much more without touching the screen.
  • The feature would come years after Samsung and Google offered their own hands-free capabilities.

2013’s Samsung Galaxy S4 was one of the first phones to offer hovering functionality, allowing you to hold your hand over the screen and interact with the phone without actually touching the screen. Google followed up with its Motion Sense feature on 2019’s Pixel 4 series, and it looks like we can now add another OEM to the list.

MIUI Polska writer Kacper Skrzypek discovered an image (seen below) and references to a Xiaomi device with a 3D ToF camera. Skrzypek reports that this is probably a tablet and claims the 3D ToF sensor will enable a variety of features.

These features include locking the tablet when the sensor detects you’ve walked away, lighting up the screen when you’re near the device, playing and pausing video playback, skipping music tracks, turning pages, adjusting volume, and answering/ending phone calls.

There’s no word on specific devices that will support this functionality, but the use of a 3D ToF sensor seems like a more sensible approach than Google’s solution for the Pixel 4. Back then, Google used a so-called Soli radar for Motion Sense functionality, but the feature was disabled in loads of markets due to regulatory requirements. But Xiaomi would be able to steer clear of these hurdles by using a ToF camera, while also potentially gaining 3D face unlock functionality.

Would you use hands-free gestures on your phone?

116 votes

This isn’t the only interesting Xiaomi tidbit Skrzypek recently discovered, as he also found references to a Hover (or Flex) Mode for an upcoming foldable phone. This would allow you to partially fold the device and use gestures and other controls on the bottom half of the screen.

This particular tidbit suggests that the upcoming Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 will indeed gain a free-stop hinge. That’s a big deal for Xiaomi as the company’s previous Mix Fold devices missed out on this feature, only staying fully open or closing completely.