Google Pixel 6a might miss out on a fun Pixel 6 camera feature

Google Pixel 6a Renders
(Image credit: @OnLeaks / 91mobiles)

What you need to know

  • Google is expected to launch the Pixel 6a soon sporting the same Tensor shipset as the Pixel 6.
  • Code seems to indicate that the Pixel 6a will not support Motion Mode in Google Camera.
  • Motion Mode is a feature that makes images appear as if they're fast in motion.

The Google Pixel 6a might be one of this year's most exciting releases, bringing a flagship chipset to a lower-cost smartphone. However, in the run-up to the phone's alleged summer launch, it's rumored that there may be some compromises with features.

According to code discovered by developer Kuba Wojciechowski (via XDA-Developers), the Pixel 6a may miss at least one camera feature found on Google's most recent flagships, namely Motion Mode.

For those unfamiliar with how to use Motion Mode, it's a feature in the Google Camera app for Pixel smartphones that can make static images appear as if they're in motion by adding a blur effect. This effect can be applied to the background to give the subject, such as a bicyclist to give the image a more active appearance, or it can be applied to the subject itself, such as a river or waterfall, for a long exposure effect.

Google Pixel 6 Pro Motion Action Pan

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Since the Pixel 6a will likely be powered by the same Tensor chip that powers the Pixel 6, it could theoretically support the feature. However, Wojciechowski discovered that while the feature should appear on devices with PIXEL_2021_EXPERIENCE (which apparently includes the Pixel 6a), the code is set to exclude devices codenamed "bluejay." As we've seen before, "bluejay" is the designated codename of the upcoming Pixel 6a.

It's unclear why this rule was put in place, but it's likely due to the Pixel 6a's lower resolution cameras. The device is expected to sport the same 12.2MP sensor found in older Pixel devices, and it's possible that the camera can't handle the feature. This makes sense since the feature is only available on the Pixel 6 series with the upgraded camera array.

Given that Google will likely make some hardware sacrifices with the 6a, it makes us wonder what other software compromises we may have to deal with. We would imagine that many of the features should be present thanks to the Tensor chip, but this could signify some apparent differences.

Still, even with the loss of a few features, the Tensor chip could still make the Pixel 6a one of the best budget Android phones of 2022. We'll just have to wait for an official launch to learn more about what it can and cannot do.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.