Google has released the Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1 update for Pixel devices with lots of fixes and new features. For PC users, there is something especially interesting about this update. I’m talking about the ability to use your phones as webcams for your computers. Pixel devices, excluding the Pixel Fold, running Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1 can now use the phone’s camera as a webcam for desktop or laptop computers.
Android 14 turns your smartphone into a PC webcam
By offering the possibility of connecting your Android phone and using it as a webcam as an integrated solution, Google seeks to simplify the process. There is no need to download any application from the Google Play Store. So all you need is an Android cell phone with Android 14 and a USB cable to establish the connection. However, the camera’s new capability does not work wirelessly.
Still, the need for a USB cable isn’t that bad.
In fact, it guarantees that you can use the webcam’s capabilities regardless of the work platform you are on. As noted by 9to5google, Google’s integrated webcam solution is based on the USB Video Class (or UVC) standard, which does not allow for platform restrictions. This means you can connect your Android phone to a PC, a Chromebook, a Mac or even a Linux PC to participate in a video call.
To get the best video calling experience, you will have to choose from the best smartphone cameras available on the market. These cameras have better video processing engines than the best webcams. Of course this results in better video quality. Not only do they produce high-resolution video, they also offer better microphones for high-quality sound capture. Another advantage of using your cell phone as a webcam is the possibility of using it with different camera angles, which is much more than what a USB webcam offers.
To find out how Android 14’s webcam capability works, you’ll need to connect your phone to a computer and tap Charge this device via USB in the notification drawer. Now, in the Use USB for section, there is a new Webcam option to select. Your phone now displays a notification to set up your webcam, and tapping it opens an app on your phone to show the preview and adjust the video feed. You can choose different zoom options and switch between the front and rear cameras.
This version is only available for Pixel devices.
This means that only these devices can use this function at the moment. That said, it’s not a Pixel-exclusive feature, meaning any Android phone that meets the requirements can be used as a webcam. Android 14’s webcam feature is currently in development and what we see now is not final. Google may bring more improvements before releasing Android 14 to the public.
Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1 has more to offer. As seen by Mishaal Rahman you can force apps like Instagram to run full screen by changing their aspect ratio on Pixel tablets and Pixel Fold devices.
However, Google is expected to release the Android 14 update on October 4th. It’s also the same day as Google’s next hardware event. Then the Mountain View technology giant will also announce new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro devices.