Google Pixel 4 camera with telephoto lens, or red herring?

Chris Burns - Jul 5, 2019, 4:02 pm CDT
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Google Pixel 4 camera with telephoto lens, or red herring?

Today we’re taking a peek at some code from the latest version of the Google Camera app for Pixel devices. This app delivers some of the most interesting and powerful photography abilities to the mobile smartphone world – and not just for the devices for which these powers were intended. The Google Pixel 1, 2, and 3 took on the entire rest of the smartphone world with one single camera lens – now it looks two will roll with Pixel 4.

The Google Pixel 4 was leaked a couple times over the last several weeks in fairly major ways. The back side of this smartphone contained a shocker of a detail. On at least one version of the device, the Google Pixel 4 likely has a square camera array, with two camera lenses, at least one sensor, and an LED flash.

One of these cameras will likely have a telephoto lens. This is indicated in the APK file for the latest Google Camera app, as torn down by XDA Developers. In this code, several new key code words can be seen.

When you’re looking at the code in an Android app and you see strange words that you’ve never before witnessed, chances are you’ve caught yourself an update. When it comes to Google apps, new words – nouns, mostly – point toward new products. In this leak, the word TELEPHOTO appears more than once.

The frontside cameras on the Google Pixel 3 rolls with both a standard lens and a wide-angle lens. Together, these cameras can capture some fairly fine photos. Nothing as nice as the single camera on the back, but still – pretty OK.

The Wide-Angle Lens on any smartphone is generally indicated to the naked eye by the relative largeness of the circular glass. Compared to other nearby lenses on a single device, the wide-angle lens is almost always the largest lens of the bunch.

We see this with the O_o look of the front of the Pixel 3. We do NOT see this in the first official render for the back side of the Google Pixel 4. As such, it’s unlikely there’ll be any sort of significant wide angle on either lens.

It could also be that Google’s playing us all for fools, and they’ve got a smartphone coming with a design that has nothing to do with any of the details of which we speak today! We shall see! We still expect the Google Pixel 4 release date for October of 2019, come what may!


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