Google Pixel 4a 5GSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

What you need to know

  • An update to the Google Camera app suggests changes being made to the Pixel 6.
  • The Pixel 6 may move the selfie camera to the center while upgrading its video capabilities.
  • The Pixel 5a may have a smaller camera hole than its predecessor.

The Google Pixel 5a is expected to be the first smartphone launch of 2021 from the tech giant, and leaked renders of the device suggest it could arrive sooner than expected, at least relative to last year's models. While the renders are by no means official, there's a good chance that they're pretty accurate, and the Pixel 5a will look nearly identical to its predecessors, down to the hole-punch selfie camera. But new leaks suggest that the Google Pixel 6 may finally break away from this design.

According to 9to5Google, a recent update to the Google Camera app may provide an idea of what to expect from the selfie cameras from both of Google's upcoming smartphones. For instance, the Pixel 5a is more or less confirmed to keep the side hole-punch selfie camera, but it could end up having a smaller 55-pixel radius as opposed to a 65-pixel radius on recent devices like the Google Pixel 4a 5G. This could point to Google attempting to increase the screen-to-body ratio.

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More interestingly, a look into the Google Camera app uncovered references to two smartphones, one of which, codename "Oriole," is likely the Pixel 6. Based on how the app handles the camera hole placement, 9to5Google believes that the Pixel 6 will have a center hole-punch for the camera.

Google Pixel 5a ScreenshotGoogle Pixel 6 punch-hole MockupSource: 9to5Google

The first image shows a screenshot from a Google Pixel 5, which shows the time moved over to the right to accommodate for the camera. The image on the left shows a mockup of how the screen will look with the Pixel 6, which is also said to have a smaller camera hole. The camera placement moves the clock to the far left for a more uniform look, and it could give the device a more refined look similar to many of the best Samsung phones.

The Google Camera app also shows that a restriction for 4K video capture is being removed, presumably for the Pixel 6. It's unclear if a higher frame rate will accompany the resolution boost, but it's a welcome improvement from the 1080p/30fps video that the current Pixel flagships are capped at.