Google’s Pixel smartphones have had hardware issues, this year the firm’s much-hyped camera has found itself subject to a bug which prevents it from working.
Pixel users have reported on various social media the appearance of a “fatal error” which displays on the viewfinder when they want to engage the camera in the Google Camera app. This error also prevents the app from working in third-party apps, including the Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram and so on.
According to Charged’s Owen Williams, this is due to the smartphone thinking the camera is being used by another app. This means that the camera would be unable to be used by Camera apps until the system releases the camera hardware.
I dug into this for quite a while, siphoning through logs and poking around in the camera API, and it appears to be related to the system not correctly releasing a lock on the camera device, causing other apps to assume that it’s in use, and crash. Usually, this is forced to release, however, in this case, it appears that a firmware flag or other change causes the system to be unable to release the lock at all.
Google might be able to fix this issue with a software update, but so far user efforts like hard resetting the phone and clearing the cache have been unsuccessful so far.