Google is set to allow Android smartphones to function as video recorders, according to a recent development. An early update to the Personal Safety app, build 2023.04.27.532191641.8-dogfood, was accidentally released on Google Play for internal testing. The update was reportedly spotted by some Pixel and Nothing smartphone users.
The Personal Safety app provides users with safety-related features such as car accident detection and emergency data transfer. In the latest dogfood build, a new Dashcam mode has been introduced that allows users to use their smartphone as a car DVR.
The new Dashcam mode feature has been designed to require the user’s attention only during the initial setup. Users can select a Bluetooth network that will automatically start recording when connected and stop when disconnected. This means that if you select the stereo or computer network in your car, you won’t have to manually turn anything on.
While recording, users can continue to use their smartphones as usual, including for navigation purposes. The screen can be locked to save power, but the recording will continue uninterrupted.
To save space on the smartphone, recorded files will be automatically deleted three days after recording, unless manually saved. The videos are compressed, with an average minute of video taking up 30 MB of memory. The maximum recording duration is 24 hours, and it is possible to record without sound.
According to authors who received this build, the new Dashcam mode feature appears visually complete and ready to use. However, it has one flaw: the smartphone only shoots using the main camera in DVR mode, whereas an ultra-wide-angle lens would enable it to capture more of its surroundings. Additionally, it remains unclear how Google will address the issue of overheating with prolonged camera use.
The description of the dashcam feature does not mention that it is exclusive to Pixel smartphones, indicating that the feature may be included in future general updates of Android.