Google Camera 8.6 is getting ready for the foldable Pixel, and more

In time for the launch of the Pixel 6a, Google released a new update to the Pixel series Camera app, which includes early work on a new mode for foldable devices, as well as preparations to offer tips on taking selfies.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we have unpacked the latest version of an app that Google has uploaded to 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 this hint in possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ship these features at all, and our interpretation of what they are may be incomplete. We’ll try to enable those who are about to finish, however, to show you what they would look like if they did charge. With that in mind, keep reading.

‘Jupiter’ folds pixels

For years now, we’ve been tracking the progress of developing Google’s first foldable Android phone, which we previously revealed could be called a “Pixel Notepad”. While this device has been delayed several times, it is certainly still in development.

With Camera 8.6, we have the best evidence of Google’s ongoing efforts at the foldable Pixel to date, thanks to the inclusion of a new mode codenamed “Jupiter”. On devices where it’s available, Jupiter can be accessed via a button to the left of the camera’s toggle button.

What really makes the feature stand out as interesting is its icon. It appears to have a foldable phone divided down by a dotted line with an arrow running from the back to the front. check it out:

Unfortunately, nothing in Jupiter’s current code gives us a very clear picture of what the new mode intends to do. The only other detail we’ve been able to reveal is that activating Jupiter on the foldable device will hide the camera switch button.

One possibility is that it’s simply a mode that only works with one camera, presumably the rear camera, thus eliminating the need for that specific button. Another idea is that since foldable devices have more screen space, Buyer Mode can display both front and rear cameras simultaneously.

The more practical idea is that the icon could be flipping over the Pixel Notepad to use the nicer rear camera to take a higher quality selfie than would normally be possible. In this case, the camera viewfinder is supposed to be visible on the smaller external display.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Google is still close to releasing the first foldable Pixel phone, preparing new camera features and tech that might only be possible in this form factor.

Hotshot Tips

A more obvious addition to Google Camera 8.6 is the “Hotshot” feature, which is explained as a way to improve the way we take selfies with Pixel phones. Specifically, it appears to be an improvement on Google’s “training” features, but with an emphasis on selfies.

hot shot

Use visual, audio, and tactile feedback to provide guidance on selfies

The inline icon shows the outline of a person, perfectly centered within the frame of the smartphone.

The aforementioned “audio and haptic feedback” would likely be a gentle nudge that the shot you’ve framed should look great and ready to take. As for the “visual” comments, it looks like this might be some kind of frame, and gives a suggestion of where your face should appear in the shot.

As of today, Google Camera selfie tips are limited to suggestions, such as raising the camera to get a better angle for your face. Hotshot seems to take these recommendations even further while leaving them optional. At the moment, Hotshot does not appear to be live in the Google Camera app.

“Amber” and “Amethyst”

Google Camera 8.6 also includes preparations for two other modes / settings, codenamed “Amber” and “Amethyst”. Unfortunately, the information is a bit limited at the moment, leaving us only to speculate what it might mean for the future of Pixel photography.

Among what we can put together, Amber is a new video-capture mode for the Pixel. Like the “active” stabilization offered on the Pixel 6, Amber will be limited to recording at 1080p and 30fps, rather than the full 4K/60 recording that some pixels are capable of.


Switch to amber mode

Meanwhile, amethyst looks like it might be a toggle in the quick settings available above the Google viewfinder. The only other evidence we have is that amethyst is represented by a light bulb icon.

Amethyst Options

amethyst on

amethyst off

Delicious food on Pixel 7

In the previous update to the Google Camera app version 8.5, our team found a variety of tidbits that provided new insights into the photography and video features of the Pixel 7 series and next year’s Pixel tablet. However, it should be noted that Google has now removed all information about unreleased devices from the Google Camera app.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight decompilers take advantage of.

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