2020 is set to be another big year for smartphone photography. Sensors could get larger, image quality will improve, new AI photography tricks will likely emerge, but what about video recording?
According to the description of a new commit in the AOSP gerrit (via XDA Developers), Google is updating Android’s media classes to “use (a) 64bit offset in mpeg4writer” which will allow the mobile platform “to compose/mux files more than 4GB in size.” This means Google or Android OEMs could let you record videos larger than 4GB in size without having to break them up into separate files.
For the longest time, Android has clipped the maximum size of a video file at 4GB. Google reportedly introduced the restriction in 2014, when the Nexus 5 had a maximum internal storage of 32GB. Times have changed now with some smartphones offering up to 1TB of internal storage.
Android’s current limitation means you’ll only be able to cram 4GB worth of footage in one MP4 file. If you keep recording beyond that, Android will create multiple files for what you thought was one long video. This means you’ll want to record in a lower resolution (i.e. 1080p rather than 4K) if you want to restrict your recorded video to one file.
Almost all 2019 flagship smartphones support 4K video recording and 2020 smartphones, like the Galaxy S11 series, are expected to kick up the resolution to 8K. With such high resolution formats, the 4GB file size restriction means you’ll have to cut your recording short to keep it as one file. Thankfully, XDA reports that the revised file size for videos might come with Android’s next version (i.e. Android 11).
What else is coming in Android 11?
We’ve not really heard a lot about Android 11 till now except for scrolling screenshot support and a few minor features. It’s possible that Google will release the first Android 11 beta around March 2020, given the Android 10 beta timeline. So we expect to know more about the new OS in a couple of months’ time.