Hidden Android code hints at another Google Pixel 7 upgrade

Several Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro models lying face down
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 7 got its initial unveiling back at Google IO in May, but we don't yet know everything about this upcoming flagship phone. Now newly discovered references in debug documentation for Android give us another hint about what's on the way.

As reported by Android Police, the documentation includes a mention of a Hall effect sensor: that's a sensor that can detect the presence of a magnet, most often deployed to tell a phone when a case is closed over it.

When it comes to flip covers, a variety of useful functions can be enabled if the phone knows whether that cover is open or closed. Essentially, it expands the possibilities for Pixel 7 accessories – and it's a feature that the Google Pixel 6 range didn't have.

Details, details, details

While it's perhaps not the biggest upgrade that the Pixel 7 could possibly get over the Pixel 6, it does show that Google is thinking about the details when it comes to its next handset – and that it's also considering accessories and the wider ecosystem.

There are actually drivers for a Hall effect sensor included in the software for the Google Pixel 6a, although there's been no official confirmation from the manufacturer that the smartphone does indeed include such a sensor.

All will be revealed – probably – at some point in October, and we will of course bring you everything you need to know when the Pixel 7 goes on sale. In the meantime, expect a few more leaks and rumors to surface.

Analysis: all eyes on the Pixel 7

It's been a tough few years for the Google Pixel phone series, but there is a general feeling that the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro were the best handsets that Google has put out yet – even if the sales figures haven't really given Apple or Samsung anything to worry about.

That means that the Pixel 7 has something of a tough act to follow. We know that the main processor is going to get a significant upgrade, which should mean apps move along quicker and the AI response is even slicker.

There has been talk of a few camera upgrades, though a lot of the improvement in terms of picture taking and video recording might be done on the software side, which is of course something that Google has been known for with its Pixel range in the past.

On the other hand, the smartphone displays are likely to be more or less the same as they were on their predecessors, if the rumors and leaks up to this point are to be believed. The real test will come when we've actually got these phones in our hands to test.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.