What you need to know
- Google is apparently working on a dash cam mode for Android phones.
- The as-yet unreleased feature has been spotted in a dogfood version of Google's Personal Safety app.
- It will presumably allow your phone to record video and audio while also running other apps in the foreground.
Google could be working on a way to let your Pixel phone double as a dash cam, as per new intelligence found within a test version of the Personal Safety app.
The hidden functionality was discovered by the folks over at 9to5Google, which managed to enable the feature and test it out. The feature is accessible via a shortcut within the "Be prepared" section of the home tab, as shown in the images below.
Once tapped, the dash cam mode will allow a Pixel phone to record video while you're behind the wheel, which can be helpful in the event of an accident. The feature will also be able to automatically start recording when the phone connects to a Bluetooth device, such as a car stereo.
The as-yet unreleased feature also seems convenient, as you can use your phone for other tasks such as navigating with Google Maps in full-screen mode while it is recording in the background. You can also choose to lock the screen to save some juice.
For good measure, there are two buttons for enabling or disabling audio recording as well. The feature allows up to 24 hours of recording time, and clips are automatically deleted after three days, giving you plenty of time to save them for later.
However, there are some limitations when using a Pixel phone as a dash cam. For instance, 9to5 discovered that there was no way to switch to the phone's ultrawide camera, leaving you with a limited field of view, depending on your device's main lens.
The phone's battery life may also be affected if it is recording for long periods of time, and it is likely to overheat if it is recording in hot weather.
The quality of the video may not be as good as that of a dedicated dash cam, seeing as the average video size is 30MB per minute. Google notes in the setup interface that this compression is intended to save space.
If the feature makes it to a final release, it's a safe bet that Google will introduce it as part of the next Pixel Feature Drop.
Google does not want you to be saddled with an expensive phone. The Pixel 7 is a sufficient flagship for many people without necessitating a second mortgage. Plus, you'll get years of software support and multiple OS upgrades, which means you won't need to buy a new phone for a while.
Be an expert in 5 minutes
Get the latest news from Android Central, your trusted companion in the world of Android
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.