Google Camera app on the Pixel 6

The latest update to the Google Camera app, version 8.5, includes new details about the photography and videography features of the Pixel 7 and next year’s Pixel tablet.

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.

Given how much of the Pixel series’ photography prowess is made possible by the Google Camera app, it’s no surprise that new updates to the APK often include tidbits about upcoming Pixel devices. Google Camera 8.5, which released yesterday, is no different, introducing code for the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and upcoming Pixel tablet.

Pixel 7 front-facing camera

As the code for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro is only just beginning to be added to Google Camera, there aren’t too many differences to be found. This is unsurprising given the Pixel 7 series looks to be a refresh of last year’s phones and therefore shouldn’t change too much in the camera department.

That said, one detail we’ve been able to find is that both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro should be able to use the front-facing camera sensor to record videos in 4K. 

That’s in contrast to the Pixel 6 series, where only the Pixel 6 Pro could shoot 4K video from the selfie camera. The $599 Pixel 6 was limited to FHD recording as it used an entirely different selfie camera with lesser resolution — 8MP, versus 11.1MP on Pixel 6 Pro.

As the Pixel 7 should support 4K selfie recording, it’s possible that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro may share the same front-facing camera sensor as the Pixel 6 Pro, but it’s unclear at this point exactly which sensor is being used. This is suggested by code in Google Camera tagging the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro with “p21_front_setup,” which was previously reserved for the Pixel 6 Pro.

Pixel tablet tidbits

Looking further ahead, Google is set to release an Android-powered “Pixel tablet” sometime in 2023. While details about this device are still quite limited, one thing that was shown is that the Pixel tablet should feature only a single rear camera, harkening back to the design of the Pixel 3 and Pixel Slate. This single-camera design makes sense for a tablet that seems to be intended for at-home use, complete with smart home features.

Google Camera 8.5 includes some early preparations for the Pixel tablet, laying out some of its intended features. Given how far we are from that device’s release, we should take these findings with a grain of salt, as things can change significantly between now and launch.

So far, the most notable differences between the Pixel tablet and the Pixel 6 series are all related to feature removals. The most blatant of these removals is the apparent lack of 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. But beyond that, there are signs that the Pixel tablet may not support 4K video recordings at all.

Beyond that, quite a few photo and video features from recent Pixel phones may be missing from Google Camera on the Pixel tablet, including Audio Zoom, Slow Motion videos, and Action Pan photos. Given a tablet isn’t exactly the handiest device to use for taking photos and videos, it’s not terribly surprising that Google would cut back on those features to keep costs down.

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

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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