Pixel 2 Could Get Gesture Camera Start-Up With Android 8.1

Google may be prepping new gesture controls for arrival with Android 8.1 for its Pixel-branded devices if some new source code and interface code are anything to go by. The new controls would be specifically tied to the camera and would allow a user to launch that by lifting their Android-powered flagship into portrait or landscape mode as though they were going to take a photo or shoot a video. Although the inclusion of the ability to double-tap the power button to launch the camera on the company's own Pixel 2 handsets is already convenient, the feature would effectively allow that app to be launched without any button presses or screen taps at all. There's also a chance the new gesture could come to the original first-generation Pixel devices if it turns out that those handsets were released with the appropriate hardware.

With that said, the code appears to be device-specific, so it isn't necessarily likely that the change will make its way to Android OS itself in a way that other manufacturers can easily take advantage of. In fact, the code seems to show that Google's Pixel 2 devices - and possibly the original Pixel devices - have an OEM-specific sensor that allows the gesture control to happen. That may be one of the reasons the feature won't be headed to every handset running Android Oreo, though it wouldn't necessarily stop other manufacturers from implementing similar features in the future once it is released.

In the meantime, despite the code's existence in the first developer preview of Android 8.1 (Oreo) and that there's even a user-interface already ready to go for the feature, the gesture is currently disabled and the user interface is an unimplemented XML file. There's no clear reason as to why, exactly, it has been disabled. With consideration for how highly-lauded the Pixel 2 cameras are, it stands to reason that Google would want to get the code up and running as quickly as possible. So, it's entirely possible the gesture's code contained substantial bugs or required fine-tuning to get it working properly before release. For example, it may be that the launch gesture itself was too sensitive or that it launched the camera at undesirable times for some other reason. Beyond that, Google could have dropped it momentarily to work on other Pixel-related issues. Whatever the case, the gesture appears to be far enough along in development that it is unlikely to be scrapped altogether.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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