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Pixels may gain face-based auto-rotate with Android 12

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Android 12’s first developer preview is just around the corner, and we’ve already heard a lot about what we can expect — from huge UI changes to app pairs. With the next version, we’re also expecting to see a bunch of features that will be exclusive to Pixel devices, and the latest one we’re hearing about is face-based auto-rotate.

According to the information viewed by the folks at 9to5Google, the optional feature will make use of the front-facing camera to analyze the orientation of the face and rotate content accordingly. Since it’s optional, one will still be able to use the gyroscope if preferred. The report also mentions that the process of figuring face orientation using the camera will happen entirely on the device and that no picture will either be saved or uploaded to servers.

Currently, Google relies on a situational icon (introduced with Android Pie) to let users quickly toggle the screen’s orientation even when auto-rotate is locked. This new implementation will surely be convenient for those who often find themselves using their phones in bed.

For what it’s worth, Huawei introduced a similar solution on its Huawei Mate 30 series in 2019. Called Smart Rotate, the feature would toggle rotation, not based on the gyroscope but the orientation of the user’s eyes. While the company made use of its front-facing 3D camera, Google is said to use intelligent software for its version.

The report also speculates that this feature could launch as a broader Android 12 feature or it might land on Pixels in a future Feature Drop.

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