Over the weekend, Google rolled out an update to their Pixel series’ Camera app, and in it our team has discovered some interesting tidbits about the likely Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a, particularly about the front-facing cameras used on the two phones.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Pixel 5a camera tidbits

The next phone on the docket for Google is presumed to be the Pixel 5a, renders for which have leaked out pointing to a phone nearly identical to the Pixel 4a 5G. Specifically, the Pixel 5a will reportedly be almost exactly the same shape and size and will feature the same hole punch in the display and rear camera bump shape.

In the Google Camera app, we’ve found code related to how the app handles the location of the hole punch for the front-facing camera on various Pixel devices. From what we can tell, the Pixel 5a’s hole punch should be a fair bit smaller than what’s seen on other Pixel phones today — 55 pixel radius instead of 65 pixel. With the Pixel 4a beginning the trend of slim bezels and a high screen-to-body ratio for the Pixel series, the Pixel 5a’s smaller hole punch should push this trend further.

Pixel 6 camera tidbits

Meanwhile, further in the future, we’re currently expecting Google to release a handful of devices this fall, codenames for which leaked in the middle of last year. We’ve now confirmed two of these codenames, “Oriole” and “Raven,” as definitively being included in the code as of Google Camera 8.2, albeit in an encrypted way.

Along with the codename confirmations, we’ve found some interesting tidbits about the device codenamed Oriole, which we’re currently thinking is likely to be the Pixel 6. For one, in the above-mentioned code for the camera hole punch, we find that this presumed Pixel 6 will actually be moving the front-facing camera from the top-left corner over to the top-center of the screen. Similar to the Pixel 5a, the hole punch radius for the presumed Pixel 6’s front-facing camera will also downsize a bit.

This move would put the time and notification indicators back to the far left of the screen, mirroring the battery indicator’s position. To envision what this could look like, we’ve created a simple mockup screenshot of where the hole punch should go on this presumed Pixel 6 and how that affects the status bar.

Along with the move, this potential Pixel 6 is giving the front camera an upgrade, with support for 4K video recording. On the Pixel 5 today, the rear camera offers a toggle between 1080p and 4K video recording, while the only setting for front-facing video is selfie illumination, locking recordings at 1080p/30fps. We’ve found in the Google Camera app code that this restriction is being lifted, allowing the presumed Pixel 6 to record selfie videos in 4K. It’s unknown if the selfie video frame rate will also get a boost with this change.

For now, we haven’t found any other substantial details about the Pixel 5a or Pixel 6’s specs in the Google Camera app, but our team is continuing to dig for more information.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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