Tipster and developer Kuba Wojciechowski has discovered references to the upcoming Pixel 8 lineup getting staggered HDR as a feature in the Google app. Wojciechowski talks about this in a Twitter thread where he notes that the addition of staggered HDR could open up the Pixel lineup to a major camera upgrade.
Additionally, further poking around in the camera app also confirmed that there’s a ‘pro’ version of the upcoming Pixel Tablet codenamed TangorPro. The device was teased at Google I/O earlier this year and then again at the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch launch.
To begin with, Wojciechowski got his hands on a clean, unobfuscated version of Google Camera Go. When digging through the source code, he found references that suggest staggered HDR support in Husky and Shiba — the 2023 Pixels.
This is great news as staggered HDR produces similar results to conventional HDR implementations while being faster. It does this by capturing different exposures at the same time using the same pixels. The reduced capture time also decreases the chance of the photos being blurry because of frame misalignment caused by movement.
However, the current camera sensor used on the Pixel 6 and 7 lineups, the Samsung ISOCELL GN1, doesn’t support staggered HDR. This means that in order to implement the feature, Google will have to upgrade the camera sensor on the 2023 flagship Pixels.
While there’s no word on what sensor Google will actually choose, Samsung’s ISOCELL GN2 can be a potential choice. Additionally, Samsung claimed at the GN2’s launch that staggered HDR produced richer detail and more vibrant colours than the GN1’s real-time HDR mode while reducing energy consumption by up to 24%.
Combined with the next version of the Tensor chip that we’re expecting to see in the Pixel 8 lineup, this could significantly improve what’s already considered the best Android phone camera on the market.