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Rumor mill: Google Pixel phones are well-known for their computational photography prowess, and it seems that the company is not resting on its laurels. Developer Kuba Wojciechowski has discovered mentions of a new staggered HDR feature in the code of Google's camera app.
Current-gen Pixels use what Google calls HDR+ with Bracketing, a method that captures several short exposure shots before the shutter press and one long exposure after the shutter press. These frames are then merged using a proprietary algorithm, creating a high dynamic range image with reduced noise in darker areas and no clipped highlights.
Staggered HDR improves the time it takes to capture all the different exposures. Instead of taking short and long exposure shots in quick succession, the new technology allows the sensor to capture them simultaneously. This results in fewer artifacts caused by shaky hands or fast-moving subjects, such as children or pets.
Long story short, courtesy of Google we got a clean, unobfuscated version of Google Camera Go, that includes references that seemingly confirm that flagship Pixels in 2023 - Husky and Shiba - will support staggered HDR. pic.twitter.com/YdaWTlGznN— Kuba Wojciechowski⚡ (@Za_Raczke) December 19, 2022
Wojciechowski notes that the Samsung Isocell GN1 main camera sensor shared by the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series doesn't support staggered HDR, meaning that the feature won't be ported to older phones. This likely indicates that next-gen Pixels will ship with a new camera sensor. The Samsung Isocell GN2 would be a logical choice, as it supports the feature and brings other improvements, such as larger pixels that absorb more light and autofocus enhancements.
However, it should be some time before we see the new camera system in action. Google announced the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro in October, so their successors are likely slated for launch next fall. The latest rumors hint that they'll ship with a new SoC, presumably Google's Tensor G3, with both models getting variants equipped with 12GB of RAM.
Lastly, Wojciechowski also found mentions of a "TangorPro" device in the code. Tangor is the codename of the upcoming Pixel Tablet, so it seems that Google is working on at least two tablets at the moment. The vanilla Pixel Tablet is confirmed to ship with a Tensor G2 chip and an 11-inch display, with someone recently attempting to sell a pre-release model on Facebook.