Google seems to be on the brink of revolutionizing the way we use webcams, with Android Expert Mishaal Rahman spotting indications that the company is planning to allow native support for using Android phones as webcams for PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks.
This means that with just a simple plug-and-play setup, you could transform your Android phone into a fully functioning webcam in no time.
Google has supported using external USB cameras on its mobile OS since Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. This allows you to use your phone or tablet as a webcam for video calls. Additionally, third-party apps allow you to use your Android device as a webcam by connecting it to a computer.
Support for turning Android phone into a USB webcam
Google appears to be taking steps towards making it possible to use Android devices as webcams. Mishaal Rahman, has uncovered information in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository indicating the addition of a “DeviceAsWebcam” service.
Android is adding a new "DeviceAsWebcam" service that "turns an android device into a
webcam." Specifically, Android devices that support the standard UVC (USB video class) gadget mode will be able to send video data that hosts can read from /dev/video* nodes. pic.twitter.com/oOgIqr1KkE
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 2, 2023
This would allow for seamless video calls using Android devices that support the UVC (USB video class) gadget mode, eliminating the need for third-party apps. Whether Google will officially include this feature in a future update remains to be seen, but as of now, the device’s kernel needs to be compiled and an app or service is required to make use of the webcam functionality.
There is a possibility that this feature will be added in Android 14, but it may take multiple updates or even an additional year before it is available in a production build of Android.