Google could be working on an update to bring 4K at 60 frames per second (fps) to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
XDA Developers reports that an XDA Forums Senior Member ‘cstark27’ uncovered a new camera mode labelled ‘camcorder.4k60fps’ in a leaked future build of Google Camera: version 7.4. The new camera mode suggests Google is working to add a 4K 60fps recording option. Further, the Camera 7.4 APK file came from the Pixel 4a shown in previous leaks.
It’s not immediately clear which Pixel device will get the feature. It could be part of the Pixel 4a, but it seems unlikely to me that Google’s ‘budget’ smartphone will support a feature that the company didn’t include in its flagship.
Additionally, Google has listed just about every reason it could think of for not including 4K 60fps recording in the Pixel 4, including citing storage concerns and straight-up saying people don’t need to record 4K video at 60fps. However, thanks to some previous digging in the Pixel 4 software, it became clear that performance issues were likely to blame for the feature’s omissions.
Specifically, the issue is caused by how the Pixel 4 handles having two cameras. Google Camera connects to both cameras at all times in all modes — because of that, the Snapdragon 855’s image signal processor (ISP) can’t handle 4K 60fps recording because it’d need to take that input from both cameras at once.
With this in mind, Google could theoretically allow users to record at 4K 60fps by temporarily disabling input from one of the two cameras. It’d mean users couldn’t use the optical zoom of the telephoto lens while recording 4K 60fps, but it’s a compromise some users would be willing to make.
Of course, Google could also just be preparing the feature for the upcoming Pixel 4a, which appears to have a single rear shooter based on leaks (and therefore wouldn’t have issues with 4K 60fps recording). At this point, there aren’t enough details to tell. However, hopefully this feature comes to the Pixel 4, perhaps as part of Google’s next Pixel feature drop.