At their annual event, Google announced the brand new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Both the devices pack great specs and new camera features along with Google’s Project Soli technology for advanced gesture recognition.
While the Soli chipset is one of the selling points for Google, the feature will also prevent Google from launching their new flagship devices in India. The Soli chipset uses a 60GHz frequency which is quite similar to 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi technology. While 60GHz is open is countries like the US, it’s restricted in India. This has to do with the fact that 60GHz is used by the military and hence it can’t be used by private companies. Back in 2014, Indian telecom regulatory body TRAI suggested the government to make changes to their policy but it wasn’t implemented and hence companies require permission to deploy tech that uses 60GHz frequency.
Google has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features. We decided not to make Pixel 4 available in India. We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India.
– Google spokesperson (via India Today)
This is not the first time Google has faced legal issues in India. Around a decade back, the company ran into trouble with the government after they started mapping Indian streets for Street View. Since then, the company hasn’t received a green light to map Indian streets and Street View is still missing in India.
While some would argue that Google could disable the sensor, it still won’t work for the company as rules require Google to completely remove the radar from the phone in order to launch it. We highly doubt Google will go through all the trouble and re-engineer the whole phone to launch it in one country.
While in future, Google could go into an agreement with the government to get permission for launch but as things stand, Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL won’t be coming to India anytime soon.