The Pixel 3 is arguably Google’s best phone yet, but it has been plagued by problems since launch, many of which will have taken the shine off the purchase for some fans.
We’ve had bugs which prevent photos from being saved, phantom notches appearing out of nowhere and irksome screen issues, but this latest problem is perhaps the most annoying yet, because it disables what is perhaps the phone’s most noteworthy feature: its camera.
Pixel 3 owners on Google’s forums and Reddit are reporting that a software error is preventing them from using the phone’s camera application – which is a pretty serious fault when you consider how much hype Google has put behind the Pixel 3’s image-capture prowess. Unlike a lot of modern phones, the Pixel 3 uses a single sensor but the results are incredible, easily beating images taken on phones with two or more sensors.
For impacted users, opening the camera application triggers a “Fatal Error” warning, which persists even when the phone is rebooted or factory-reset. When trying to access the camera hardware via a third-party app, the message “can’t connect to camera” appears, so that’s not a viable workaround, either.
Google itself doesn’t seem to have a grip on what’s causing the problem as yet, but Engadget muses that it could be related to the Android OS not ‘releasing’ the camera app, which then leads to conflicts as other apps try to access the hardware. This then crashes the app and prevents it from being opened up.
Because nobody seems to know for sure what is triggering this problem, Google hasn’t been able to issue a timeline for a fix – if a fix is even possible. Given that this appears to be a software issue, we’d imagine it can be solved in time, but even so, it’s yet another embarrassing issue for Google to deal with. The Pixel 3 isn’t a remarkable handset from a technical perspective, but its camera – and camera software – are world-class, and many people will have picked up the device purely for its photographic qualities.
To find that this feature cannot be used must be quite frustrating, so we hope that Google is able to get to the bottom of his problem sooner rather than later.