Pixel 6 may use Android 12’s audio-coupled haptics feature for ringtones
A major Pixel 6 Pro leak just dropped earlier today, and it essentially confirms the radical new design changes revealed by earlier leaks. Apart from the details visible in the renders, the latest leak doesn’t tell us much about what’s under the hood or what software features will be included. Of course, we’re expecting the Pixel 6 series to launch with Android 12 pre-installed, but Google is known for shipping a bunch of new software features with each new Pixel release. One of those new features may be audio-coupled haptics, a new API introduced in Android 12.
Earlier today, I learned from a trusted source that Google is testing the audio-coupled haptics API to generate custom vibration effects for ringtones. When Google introduced this API, the company said it can be used to create more immersive game and audio experiences, and it looks like Google is taking advantage of this API for the latter purpose. The only other Pixel phone to support this new HapticGenerator API is (oddly enough) the Pixel 4 series — Google’s latest Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 didn’t make the cut. Here are two demo videos (courtesy of XDA Senior Member cstark27) that showcase the audio-coupled haptic API generating vibrations based on currently playing music:
Daft Punk: One More Time
Daft Punk: Solar Sailer (Remixed by Pretty Lights)
We don’t expect Google to use this new API in this manner, but we at least expect them to use it for Pixel ringtones on the Pixel 6. In the past, Google hardcoded custom vibration patterns that matched each stock ringtone, but there are now a lot more stock Pixel ringtones to pick from. Plus, this new API will likely produce vibrations that feel better and more in sync with the audio than the hardcoded patterns, though that depends on how good the Pixel 6’s haptic engine is. Given that it’s going to make use of this API, we’d expect it to be pretty good.
Featured image: Leaked render of the Google Pixel 6 Pro by OnLeaks / Digit