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.”
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.
Code found in v6.3 of the Google Camera app hinting at optical zoom for the Pixel 4
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.
More code in the Google Camera app that points to a telephoto lens and a facial recognition system for the Pixel 4