Pixel 6 and 6 Pro differences, resolution, selfie flash, and more hinted by Google Camera app

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9to5Google 15 July, 2021 - 03:15pm 46 views

Despite the numerous leaks, there are still quite a few things we don’t know about the upcoming Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The latest Google Camera update offers some insight into the Pixel 6 series specs, including screen resolution, flash for the selfie camera, and more.

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.

Earlier this year, we reported based on the Google Camera app that the Pixel 6 would adopt a centered punch hole for the selfie camera, a detail that has since been proven out by renders of the phone. With Google Camera 8.3, rolling out now as part of Android 12 Beta 3, we find more about the Pixel 6 series cameras.

First, in code that handles where the front-facing camera is located in relation to your screen, we find that the Pixel 6’s selfie camera should be located 540 pixels from the left edge. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro — or Pixel 6 XL, depending on who you ask — will have its front camera placed 722 pixels from the left.

If we assume that these selfie cameras will be placed at the center of the phone, we can speculate that the Pixel 6’s resolution should be 1080p, while the Pixel 6 Pro should have a resolution just over 1440p.

As for the hole punches themselves, we previously reported the Pixel 6 would have a slightly smaller hole for the selfie camera — 55 pixel diameter, versus 65 on Pixel 5. With this latest Google Camera update, we find that the Pixel 6 Pro will actually have a larger hole in the display for the selfie camera — 70 pixel diameter, versus 65.

Digging deeper into why the selfie camera cutout is larger, we find that the Pixel 6 Pro has a special “p21_front_setup” feature that isn’t enabled for the smaller Pixel 6. Based on this, we were able to confirm that only the Pixel 6 Pro will be able to record selfie videos in 4K, a feature we previously reported on.

Elsewhere in the Pixel 6 series features, there is evidence that Google may be adding a front-facing flash LED. Currently, Google Camera is able to give you a beige flash effect by brightening the screen. Instead, the Pixel 6 is preparing for a “front torch,” which we believe may be a proper flash for your selfie camera.

While a built-in selfie light is almost unheard of on Android — outside of a few oddball phones like the BLU VIVO XL4 — it could make a great deal of sense for some, considering how popular selfie light accessories have become.

Another tidbit we discovered about the Pixel 6 series is that it will offer up to 7x zoom while recording videos, even while recording at 60 frames per second. For comparison, last year’s Pixel 5 only offers 3x zoom at 60fps and 5x zoom at 30fps.

As tipped to XDA by cstark27, there are also mentions in Google Camera to an “ultratele” camera that should offer 5x telephoto zoom to an upcoming Pixel phone. While recent renders have pointed to the Pixel 6 Pro having three rear camera sensors, we weren’t able to definitively connect this 5x zoom “ultratele” to any particular phone.

Oddly, “SABRE_ALLOWED” is disabled, meaning the Pixel series signature Super Res Zoom — which uses machine learning to fill in details of photos as though you had a telephoto lens — may not be enabled on Pixel 6. In a way, this could make sense, as the Pixel 6 series is currently rumored to offer a major upgrade to the camera hardware, including the previously mentioned “ultratele” sensor.

That said, we find a variety of other machine learning-related features enabled for the Pixel 6, so it’s possible that “Sabre” is simply getting replaced by a newer version of Super Res Zoom.

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

Got a tip or want to chat? Twitter or Email. Kyle@9to5mac.com

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Additionally, this isn’t something that is limited to newer Pixel devices like the Pixel 5 or the Pixel 4a. Instead, Google states that it is available for the Pixel 3 and later, as long as your device is running at least Android 11.

Unfortunately, Google does not offer any user-facing “switch” to turn this charging feature on or off. Instead, it provides the following steps if you want to stop “Optimizing for battery health”:

So it appears that there is no way to stop this permanently from being enabled, which really shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, if you’ve been wondering why your phone won’t charge past 80%, you now have the answer.

From time to time, OnePlus has a knack for sending out review units of pre-production devices to active members of the OnePlus community. Today, the company has announced another such promotion, but this time, you can enter for a chance to test out the OnePlus Nord 2 and a pro-level series of earbuds.The OnePlus Nord …

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When Is Android 12’s Release Date?

How-To Geek 15 July, 2021 - 05:00am

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Thankfully, Google is pretty open about the timeline of Android 12 releases. It has a handy graphic—as seen below—that shows when different releases will be available.

At the time of writing, Android 12 Beta 3 has been released. That only leaves Beta 4—which marks “Platform Stability”—before the final release. “Platform Stability” essentially means the version is final, just not officially final.

You probably noticed that the “Final Release” marked on the timeline doesn’t have a month listed underneath. The good news is that it’s not terribly difficult to predict when that final release will happen. We just need to look at past Android versions.

Android 11 only had three beta releases, the last one being in August of 2020. The stable release happened the very next month and was followed closely by the announcement of the Pixel 5.

It’s reasonable to speculate that Android 12 will follow a similar trajectory. The final beta is scheduled for August of 2021, and Google is expected to announce the Pixel 6 sometime this autumn. It’s likely that the stable release will happen before that or alongside the phone.

So, the short answer to “When is Android 12’s release date?” is that we don’t know for sure, but September—or October at the latest—is very likely to be the target. Also, expect the Google Pixel 6 to be the first phone to launch with Android 12 on board.

When will your specific Android device get Android 12? Well, that’s another story entirely.

RELATED: Android 12 Beta 3 Arrives eith Scrolling Screenshots and Final APIs

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Android 12 Beta 3: Fingerprint scanner gains new unlock animation

9to5Google 15 July, 2021 - 04:33am

Back in Android 12 Beta 2, the Pixel 4 was shown a little love with a new animation signifying that your device has been unlocked. Not to be left out, devices with a fingerprint scanner have now received a new animation when unlocking in Android 12 Beta 3.

This new “wave” animation effectively copies other lockscreen animations added in Android 12 Beta 2, with the Always-on display activating from the exact position in your display where the fingerprint scanner is placed at the rear of your device — provided you have a Pixel with a fingerprint scanner that is.

Tapping the fingerprint scanner — to initiate an unlock — will see the screen activate in a small circular wave until your entire homescreen is revealed. It’s a smooth transition that fits with the rest of the tweaks that have been made within the Android 12 Beta updates thus far. When plugging in a charger there is a wave ripple animation from the bottom of the screen towards the charge port.

When placing your device on a wireless charging pad, there is another wave animation outwards from the center of the display. The Qi charger animation is most similar to that of the fingerprint scanner while it also gives the biometric unlock method parity with the power button — it too having a similar animation since the Beta 2 update. You can see it in action below:

It’s hard to deny that the new fingerprint unlock animation is smooth in Android 12, but does seem a little labored and would be nice to disable. Google seems intent on making wave animations the go-to for device interactions with Android 12, and it might not be to everyone’s taste.

We’re still digging into what’s new in Android 12 Beta 3. If you spot anything, drop a comment below or ping us on Twitter.

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Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

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Android 12 Beta 3 arrives on Android TV with native 4K UI, privacy controls

Android Central 14 July, 2021 - 07:28pm

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Earlier today, Google released Android 12 Beta 3, which includes the long-awaited arrival of native scrolling screenshots and more. But the Android TV platform is also getting some love as Android 12 Beta 3 also has arrived.

The update primarily focuses on improving UI elements when viewing the interface on the best 4K Android TVs. Google has also included some new privacy controls for those who don't want the microphone or a connected camera always being active.

Starting with the 4K UI elements, this has been a big complaint for a few years, as the main interface is only rendered in 1080p. It's not until you select something to watch that the UI switches over to 4K, which tends to cause some "lag" from time to time. This update also includes new background blurring tools for developers to "easily enhance the visual separation of different UI layers."

One of the big focuses of Google I/O 2021 was the company's renewed commitment to privacy and giving users control over what apps can and cannot access things like the camera and microphone. This has spilled over onto the Android TV platform, as Google is implementing microphone and camera indicators that appear on your TV. These are practically the same indicators found when an app uses the camera or microphone on a smartphone with Android 12 installed.

To go along with this, Google has added two new "global privacy settings" for Android TV that's not unlike the new Privacy Dashboard. From the settings menu, you'll not only be able to view what apps recently accessed the camera or microphone, but there is also a new toggle at the top of the page. This is an all-or-nothing approach, as the toggle will simply remove access for any apps installed on your Android TV.

A few other features have been added to Android 12 Beta 3 for the Android TV. Among these is a new refresh rate settings for a "smoother viewing experience." Applications can also check playback settings and change the frame rates based on what's being viewed. Finally, we're getting a new "Tunnel Mode" for developers so that apps can be more "consistent and efficient" when it comes to watching content on Android TV devices.

The only hardware device capable of using Android TV Beta 3 is Google's ADT-3 developer device. However, Google also stated that the preview version of the Android 12 emulator will be available "in the coming weeks." Until then, we just have to hear about all of these changes from the outside looking in, at least until we can get Android 12 on our Android TVs.

Walmart's onn. Android TV Streaming Device is the latest device to be powered by Android TV and features 4K playback, along with all of your favorite Chromecast features.

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Android 12 Beta 3 is the latest installment of Google's latest mobile OS, and the last time we'll likely see feature additions in the program. A new set of game controls, on-device search, better auto-rotation, customizable colors, scrollable screenshots, and more are found here!

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You can share links directly from the Recents menu in Android 12 Beta 3

Android Police 14 July, 2021 - 06:29pm

Sharing is everything these days. Whether you're sending a list of your favorite restaurants to a friend from out of town or just passing along the latest viral story, having quick access to all of your links is essential. With Android 12, Google is looking to make it a little faster to reach and share links, no matter your browser of choice.

As spotted by XDA's Mishaal Rahman, the Recent apps screen in Beta 3 now includes a URL shortcut whenever a browser is selected. Tapping this icon gives the option to quickly copy it to the clipboard or open Android's share sheet. It also generates three suggestions along the bottom of the screen (tapping on "More" is yet another way to bring up the share sheet).

Overall, it's an excellent way to get quick access to URLs, even if it's not all that much faster than copying or sharing directly from your browser. It's not limited to Chrome, either; the icon appeared on top of Microsoft Edge, though it didn't detect Samsung's Internet beta. Even if it's a little redundant, it's a neat addition to the Recents page. Who knows — maybe this quick share option will slowly come to other platforms, like social networks or messaging apps, over time.

Android 12 Beta 3 has a wild new way to handle auto-rotation

The Verge 14 July, 2021 - 12:00pm

Plus, it will finally support scrolling screenshots

The most interesting new feature in Android 12 Beta 3 is “better, faster auto-rotate.” Google is now using the front-facing camera and face detection to determine what orientation you’re trying to hold the phone (instead of just depending on the accelerometer).

“This is especially helpful for people who are using their devices while lying down on a couch or in bed,” writes Dave Burke, VP of engineering for Android. That means you could be lying on your side in bed with the phone in a horizontal position but because the camera can see your face is also horizontal, it will stay in portrait mode.

Burke is quick to emphasize that this face detection happens locally in Android 12’s “Private Compute Core, so images are never stored or sent off the device.” When I first previewed Android 12, I had to spend a bit of time explaining what the Android Private Compute Core (APCC) is: a special and secure area of the operating system for running algorithms that might contain sensitive data.

The APCC’s prominence in the original announcement was a clear hint that Google intended to create more Android features that might potentially raise privacy concerns — and here we are, seeing that hint become reality. As I wrote then, “an easier way to think of it is if there’s an AI function you might think is creepy, Google is running it inside the APCC so its powers are limited.”

Burke says Google has also “optimized the animation and redrawing and added an ML-driven gesture-detection algorithm.” He claims that will reduce auto-rotate latency by 25 percent. Auto-rotate on Android has historically been fairly janky — and wildly inconsistent across different manufacturers — so hopefully these claims will be accurate.

The auto-rotate wizardry is cool, but the feature that will probably elicit the most cheers from Android users is a consistent, system-level way to create scrolling screenshots — aka screenshots that let you grab more than one screen in a single image like on a webpage.

Google is also pushing developers to use a new AppSearch on-device search engine both within their apps and across the entire phone. Developers will be able to pick and choose what parts of their apps get indexed for universal search across the device or within other apps.

Google also recently announced that Android 12 will allow users to begin playing games before they’ve finished downloading. And as with Beta 2, there may be some smaller, unannounced tweaks yet to be uncovered. Beta 3 should be rolling out to Pixel phones today, alongside a small handful of devices from Oppo, Realme, Sharp, OnePlus, and others (but not Samsung, of course).

As for the final release of Android 12, it will arrive on Pixel phones first but may also hit some of those manufacturers early on. Google has been improving its release cadence for Android updates — but it is still never going to match the speed you see on iOS.

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Just $90 scores your kids an unlocked Google Pixel 3 with this cert. refurb deal

9to5Toys 14 July, 2021 - 11:24am

Today only, Woot is currently offering the unlocked Google Pixel 3 128GB Android Smartphone for $89.99 Prime shipped in certified refurbished condition. A $6 delivery fee will apply otherwise. Having originally sold for $799, you’ll more recently pay $249 for a renewed model from Google with today’s offer beating our previous mention by $10 to mark a new 2021 low. While it may not be the latest from Google these days, there’s still a lot to love about Pixel 3 that makes it a compelling handset for kids or older family members. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 845 Octa-Core CPU and features a 5.5-inch 1440p display, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage space. With Android 12 compatibility, you’re also looking at a 12.2MP rear camera with 4K video recording at up to 30FPS. Includes a 90-day warranty. Get a closer look in our hands-on review and then head below for more.

Today’s lead deal makes for a great handset to give to your kids or a family member who doesn’t need the latest and greatest. If that’s the route you plan to take with the discount, put some of the savings to use by scoring Spigen’s Tough Armor Case at $15.99 for Pixel 3. Sporting a slim form-factor, these cases won’t add too much bulk to either of the handsets while still providing ample protection. Over 3,300 customers have left a 4.5/5 star rating.

This morning saw a $330 discount go live on the OnePlus 8, but more notably, we’re still tracking a new Amazon all-time low on the Google Pixel 4 at $400. Those who aren’t in the market for as affordable of a way to get in on the first-party Android action will find this to be a great alternative to the lead deal while still enjoying a deep discount. But whichever device you end up going for, don’t forget to load it up with all of these discounted apps and games.

Stay in touch with family and friends with this Google Pixel 3 smartphone. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of memory keep Android applications running efficiently, and the 8-megapixel, wide-angle front camera fits everyone in the selfie. This Google Pixel 3 smartphone has 128GB of storage to hold your photos and videos.

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Blair Altland is the Senior Editor of 9to5Toys. Having joined the team at the beginning of 2017, Blair has gone on to specialize in LEGO coverage and review, smart home tech, and home networking. Contact them directly at Blair@9to5mac.com.

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