Code found in Android Q app points to a much desired feature for the Pixel 4 camera

Code found in Android Q app points to a much desired feature for the Pixel 4 camera
Last month, we told you about hidden code found in the Google Camera app that allows users to take photos with wide-gamut P3 color capture. Already used on the Apple iPhone, this system captures a 25% wider range of colors than the sRGB system currently in use. We could see wide-gamut P3 color capture available on the Pixel 4 series. Speaking of the Pixel 4, Google has already shared a photo of the device and for the first time, a Pixel will have more than one camera sensor in the back.

Google has proven that you can offer a great photographic experience with one camera as long as the image processing is top notch. But this year we could see a telephoto lens housed in the square camera module that will be mounted in the upper left corner of the phone's rear panel. According to XDA, code found in version 6.3 of the Google Camera app from the Android Q beta 5 reads "SABRE_UNZOOMED_TELEPHOTO." XDA points out that Sabre is the internal code name at Google for the Super Res Zoom feature on the Pixel 3. This is a form of digital zoom that Google says is "roughly competitive with the 2x optical zoom lenses on many other smartphones." The resolutions listed in the leaked code for the telephoto lens suggests that this camera will weigh in at 16MP.

XDA also discovered new Google Camera sensor IDs in version 6.3 of the app. The only IDs worth noting were for a rear telephoto lens and a front-facing infrared sensor. The latter could be a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor. This technology measures the time it takes for infrared beams to bounce off the subject and return to the phone. The data is used to accurately calculate depth; it can be used on portraits and for facial recognition systems. Since the photo of the Pixel 4 that Google posted did not have a button for a fingerprint scanner, there is speculation that the phone will use only facial recognition to unlock, similar to Face ID on the Apple iPhone.

We could finally see a Pixel with more than 4GB of memory inside


While this could be considered good news for those who would like to see a telephoto lens and optical zoom on the next Pixel, it might be bad news for those hoping for an Ultra wide-angle lens. The sensor ID's do indicate that there will be a wide-angle selfie camera on the Pixel 4 like there is on the Pixel 3.  In addition, XDA found code that suggests that Google will improve the algorithm used for the Night Sight feature on the upcoming Pixel handsets. Night Sight allows Pixel users to take viewable pictures in low-light conditions. The code reads "getOptimize_sky" and "setSky_segmentation_gpu," which could indicate that the improvement will result in better images of the sky when Night Sight is used.


The new Pixel models are expected to be unveiled in October, both with the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform under the hood. Based on leaked measurements of the handsets, the Pixel 4 is expected to carry a screen between 5.6-inches and 5.8-inches. The Pixel 4 XL could sport a display in the neighborhood of 6.2-inches and 6.4-inches. After three generations of Pixels, Google is said to be aiming the fourth generation squarely at the Apple iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S models.

After equipping every Pixel model with 4GB of memory, we should see an increase this year to 6GB of RAM. And we also could see both units launch with larger battery capacities than the 2915mAh and 3430mAh batteries found on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, respectively. This is based on leaked dimensions showing that both new units will be a little thicker than the current models.

Related phones

Pixel 4
  • Display 5.6" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB

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18 Comments

1. LawnBoy

Posts: 154; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Bow down

2. DolmioMan

Posts: 301; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

To the phone which produces some of the best stills by a small margin, inconsistent portraits and garbage video. The google pixel line is a one trick pony, but who knows maybe they’ll change this year.

4. dnomadic

Posts: 391; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I wouldn't say one trick.. the software is top notch offering Many useful features (to me) . Lots of phone have more features, but the Pixel line seems to offer useful features that are implemented well. If they have fixed the gesture system and provide better cameras, well I consider that another winning formula. Of course this is my opinion just as you have offered yours.

5. dnomadic

Posts: 391; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Video is also subjective... I like the video from the pixel. It is clean with no extra saturation added like iphone (love the iphone look). The flatter look is usually sharp and accurate to the scene in my experience.

8. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Video is garbage, simply becase audio is unusable. And Android does not support decent external stereo mics, at least not yet. Can't wait for Pixel 4, but if they f*up video capture again, I won't even bother.

19. vincelongman

Posts: 5653; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Google fixed the audio in updates Now its argubly on par with the iPhone Xs, but the Galaxy S10 is still better (not sure about how LG or Sony compare) Android has supported external stereo mics for ages lol

17. Scott93274

Posts: 6030; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I own a Pixel 2, and I'll admit that the portraits could be better, but with the additional camera on the Pixel 4, it'll easily solve that issue. The rest of the phone is also awesome and has provided a top-notch user experience.

18. hjl2345

Posts: 86; Member since: Aug 11, 2018

To the phone made from the same company that makes Android, but yet has a myriad of hardware/software issues. Not to mention it lagging after using it for a while.

3. LawnBoy

Posts: 154; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

By a small margin. Maybe, but they do that w one camera to three or four from others. And, they usually are number one/two in every category where Sammy will win a couple, Apple, Huawei a couple but are never as consistent as Pixels

6. blingblingthing

Posts: 916; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Come on Google, 8 gb of RAM should be an option. 64/6gb or 128/8gb.

7. CEDEOTB

Posts: 376; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Could've gone with an Ultra Wide as well but I guess they're leaving that for a reason to upgrade to the Pixel 5. Taking the Apple route...

9. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

They better use the ultra wide, at least they were releasing some vids and articles lately, how they can "fix" wide angle issues. It would make sense to have ultra wide on next phone to show off. And we all know Pixels really need to show off after Pixel 3 disaster.

10. Sealblaighter

Posts: 426; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

I hope it will do better than only 2x optical zoom! 2x optical zoom is nothing extraordinary these days, Google will make fun of them-self. At least 3x, 4x is needed these days!

13. alanrock

Posts: 281; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

14. Sealblaighter

Posts: 426; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

And the Huawei did the best job at 5x zoom, or 10x zoom. The overall points of P30 where better than the Apple Iphone had. So what are you talking about?

16. alanrock

Posts: 281; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

exactly ... second worst score for the best zoom camera is kinda marketing , right ?

15. Sparkxster

Posts: 1198; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Hoping the new pixels impress.

20. tokuzumi

Posts: 1843; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

It will be nice to have optical zoom in the camera. The zoom in my 3a works great, despite being only digital. It's amazing the level of detail Google is able to process with the digital zoom. And while my 3a works great with "only" 4GB of ram, Google needs to get with the times and put more RAM. My S9 refreshes apps all the time and it's annoying.

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