Update, July 8 2019 (1:50AM ET): XDA-Developers uncovered references to a rear telephoto camera in the latest version of the Google Camera app last week. But it looks like the app may have been holding more details regarding this new sensor, expected to appear on the Google Pixel 4.
9to5Google discovered text within the app code that suggests a 16MP resolution for the new camera. The text specifically mentions resolutions of 4,656 x 3,496 (16.3MP), 4,656 x 3,492 (16.3MP), and 2,328 x 1,748 (4.07MP).
The outlet suggests that this might be error code related to the telephoto camera’s development. In any event, this doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be seeing a 16MP telephoto camera on the Pixel 4. It would make for an impressive resolution on paper though, as most telephoto shooters usually top out at 12MP. The increased resolution could potentially help with digital zoom, especially when combined with Google’s Super Res Zoom technology.
XDA-Developers scoured through version 6.3 of the Google Camera app, discovering references to a rear telephoto camera. The outlet added that there was also a field called “SABRE_UNZOOMED_TELEPHOTO,” saying Sabre is Google’s internal name for the Super Res Zoom feature. The website said these references weren’t in the previous version of the app.
A rear telephoto camera should theoretically give users better quality zoom compared to Super Res Zoom and digital zoom in general. However, it’s possible Google could follow in Huawei’s foot steps, using the telephoto camera and super resolution to yield better results beyond the native telephoto zoom factor.
It’s nevertheless interesting to see Google apparently opting for a telephoto camera, and likely means those hoping for an ultra-wide rear camera are out of luck. After all, Google’s Pixel 4 render (seen above) only seems to show two rear cameras. It’s a little disappointing when rival manufacturers are all offering a versatile triple camera layout (normal, wide, and telephoto).
XDA also spotted a reference to a front-facing “IR sensor,” presumably being an infrared sensor associated with facial recognition. There are rumors of face unlock on the Pixel 4, but we’ll likely need to wait for the official launch to see if this pans out. What would you like to see from the Google Pixel 4? Let us know in the comments!