With the release of Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1, Pixel phones and potentially other Android devices can now be used as webcams for PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks. This highly anticipated feature is a game changer, offering affordable and high-quality video calls. Google developed Android’s webcam capabilities based on the USB Video Class standard, allowing any device that supports a standard webcam to use an Android phone as one.
After installing the Android 14 QPR1 Beta, Pixel owners will see a new option when plugging their phone into a computer. In the notification drawer, a new option for “Webcam” will be available below the usual choices. Tapping this option will bring users to a new app that allows them to preview and adjust the video feed sent to the computer. Users can switch between zoom levels, switch cameras, and even lock the phone to conserve battery life while sharing the video feed over USB.
On the computer, applications like Discord, Zoom, and Google Meet will display a new webcam option called “Android Camera.” The setup process is simple, with no complicated configurations required. Users can instantly upgrade the quality of their video calls using the phone they already have.
While Pixels may not have the best video quality compared to some other smartphones, they still outperform the built-in webcams on most computers. Additionally, they offer features like auto-focus that are typically found in more expensive external webcams. This means users can significantly improve the quality of their video calls at no extra cost.
However, there are alternative services available that achieve the same goal. For example, Camo Studio offers similar functionality for free, although it adds a watermark to the video. It does not require the latest version of Android or any specific device requirements. Furthermore, Camo Studio includes the audio from the phone’s microphone, a feature that is currently lacking in Android 14 QPR1’s webcam functionality.
Despite the availability of alternative services, Android’s Device as Webcam feature stands out for its simplicity. With just one cable and a few taps on the phone’s screen, users can be ready for video calls. As remote work continues to be prevalent, this addition allows more people to improve their appearance in online meetings without investing in an expensive USB camera.
At the moment, the webcam feature is available on Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro, but not Pixel Fold. However, this may change in future updates. It is also expected that as OEMs update their devices to Android 14, more phones will gain the ability to function as USB webcams.
If you have installed the Android 14 QPR1 Beta on your Pixel phone, let us know if the webcam feature is available and working correctly. Stay tuned for more updates on Android 14 QPR1’s webcam capabilities.
Note: Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.