Google’s New Phone Has An Excellent Pokémon Gimmick

I picked up my new Pixel 4XL yesterday, and instead of rushing to test out the new camera, radar features or terrifyingly fast face-scanning, the first thing I did with the new phone was…play with some interactive Pokémon wallpapers.

The Pixel 4 has an called Pokémon Wave Hello, which is part Sword & Shield promo, part tutorial/testbed for the phones motion and gesture controls. It asks you to swipe around to open a Pokeball, then swipe some more as you interact with the Pokemon that pop out, waving at them and giving them pets.

It’s all over very quickly, and were that all there was to it it wouldn’t be worth writing about here. But once you’re done with the tutorial, you can then set the Pokemon as your everyday wallpaper, and the wallpaper retains all the interactivity of the demo.

So every time you wave at your phone the Pokemon is on the screen—and it could be Pikachu, Eevee or Sword & Shield’s three —will wave back. In a very nice touch the Pokemon will even follow your finger around with its head and eyes if you’re dragging it over the screen, and the background will change depending on what time of day it is and the weather outside (and when it’s late, the Pokemon will be asleep).

It’s nothing that’s going to make you buy a Pixel, and even if you did, it’s not exactly the kind of thing that’s going to maintain your interest for months on end. But if you’re a Pokemon fan and were already thinking of picking one of these phones up, it’s a pretty cool way to show off the phone’s motion features to friends!

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