Instead of having to buy a dedicated (sometimes expensive) gadget, you should soon be able to use your Pixel (and select other Android devices) as your car’s dashcam after an upcoming personal security update.
About APK Insight: In this APK Insight post, we have decompiled the latest version of an app that Google has uploaded on the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APK files, in the case of Android apps), we can see different lines of code within that hint at potential future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be incomplete. We’ll try to enable those who are about to expire, however, to show us how they’ll look if they ship. With that in mind, read on.
On select Android devices – primarily Google’s Pixel phones but also others like the Nothing Phone (1) – the Personal Safety app offers useful features such as Emergency Sharing, Safety Check, and Vehicle Collision Detection. This evening, it appears that Google has mistakenly released a “beta” build for personal security – build 2023.04.27.532191641.8-dogfood – via the Play Store.
Inside, our team has enabled a new feature called “Dashcam” which, as the name suggests, records video (and optionally audio) while you’re driving. If your phone is installed in the right place, the recording should provide useful information in the event of an accident or other unforeseen situation.
Once the feature is available, it can be launched through a new “Dashcam” shortcut in the “Be Prepared” section of the homepage. Here, you can start recording manually or view your recent videos. While the Dashcam is recording, your phone remains fully usable, including navigation with Google Maps. Alternatively, you can save power by locking the screen and the recording will continue.
More importantly, Google has created this feature to work without you having to think much about it. When setup, you can choose to automatically start recordings when connected to a specific Bluetooth device (such as a car stereo or infotainment system) and end when you disconnect.
To save storage space, your recordings are automatically deleted after three days unless you save them. Additionally, the app says the videos themselves are compressed, at an average of “30MB per minute,” with a maximum recording time of 24 hours.
Overall, this feature seems impressively well thought out and looks basically ready to go. Using a smartphone as a dashcam makes some sense, as your phone probably has a better camera than some of the cheaper dashcams.
However, we would have liked to see the option to use the ultra-wide lens to present a larger image. We also wonder how Personal Security can do this kind of permanent recording without generating excessive heat, especially if your phone needs to be installed in a position that is likely to see a lot of direct sunlight.
There’s nothing in the feature text to indicate Pixel exclusivity, so it remains to be seen if Dashcam will be available on other phones with Google’s Personal Security. If exclusive, the next big opportunity for Google to launch Pixel features would be in June’s Pixel Feature Drop.
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