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Google leak reveals Pixel 5 camera features

Published Jul 31st, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Pixel 5 Leaks
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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  • A new Google leak lists three unreleased Pixel phones, including Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, and Pixel 4a 5G.
  • Google updated its Camera app for Android 11 Beta, and the code in the 7.5 version of the app reveals additional features coming to the Pixel camera in the near future.
  • Motion blur, audio zoom, and flash intensity are all new additions to the Camera app’s code, and some of these features will probably be enabled on the Pixel 5 later this year.

This year’s Pixel flagship will be a disappointing compromise, and that’s according to several leaks that said the Pixel 5 would run on a mid-range 5G processor. The Snapdragon 765G is the same chip that powers the OnePlus Nord, as well as mid-range phones from LG, Samsung, Nokia, and others. The processor will no match for the 865 chip inside most 2020 Android flagships, and it has no chance of competing against the iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 models. As I’ve explained recently, the Nord appears to be a much better choice than the Pixel 5 right now, considering what you get for your money. But the Pixel 5 does have one advantage over most of its Android rivals, and that’s the camera department. The phone is expected to deliver a better camera performance than its predecessors, and a new Google leak indicates some of the new camera tricks that are coming to the Pixel 5 and possibly other Pixel handsets this year.

Google released the Camera 7.5 update to Android 11 Beta users and 9to5Google took the new code for a spin in search of gems. The teardown reveals that Google plans to release three phones this year, including the Pixel 4a (Sunfish), Pixel 4a 5G (Bramble), and Pixel 5 (Redfin). The Pixel 5 XL isn’t mentioned in the code, and there’s no internal name that would indicate a Pixel 5 XL is in the making.

The Camera app indicates that Google is preparing the app for future hardware. An internal code name called “Lasagna” seems to be a placeholder name for a feature that will offer a “motion blur” effect. The Motion Blur mode might appear alongside other Google Camera modes, like Night Sight, Time Lapse, and Photo Sphere. From the looks of it, the feature could offer some bokeh-like effects on moving targets, but it’s unclear how the feature will work. Google has been working on the feature since before the Pixel 4, but it never made it to the final Pixel 4 Camera app.

The Camera app code also indicates that audio zoom is coming to future Pixel phones, a feature that’s already available on other smartphones. The audio zoom mode will allow the microphone to zoom in towards a specific direction when recording zoomed-in video. The feature might need specialized hardware, 9to5Google notes, as enabling the feature has no immediate effect on current devices.

A feature called flash intensity was also spotted in the code, and its purpose is immediately clear. Rather than choosing between enabling and disabling the flash, you’ll be able to adjust its intensity for low light photography. That is if the Night Sight mode isn’t enough.

Finally, the video-sharing feature of the Camera app will let you share videos on a variety of social networks, including Google apps, as well as many third-party services.

It’s unclear which features will be exclusive to the Pixel 5 and which features will make it to other Pixels. But Google is preparing the Camera app to support these additional modes and features in the near future.

The Pixel 4a phones should be unveiled next week, while the Pixel 5 will likely arrive in October.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.