Many people don’t realize that they currently can’t record more than 4GB videos with Android smartphones. However, with the Android 11, this could change. As time goes by, this limitation can be a serious restriction, especially for people who want to record professional-oriented videos with Android devices. Flagship Android devices are capable of recording high resolution 4K videos at 30fps and this will require a huge amount of space. The file size of 4K videos is much higher than regular 720p or FullHD videos. Google introduced the 4GB file size for video record in 2014, because it made sense.
At the time, internal storage space options were quite limited and not all Android devices had microSD card slot. In 2020 and beyond, sensors will be larger and video record quality will improve. In 2014, the Nexus 5 offered only 32GB of storage and today, manufacturers are starting to provide up to 1TB of storage. Also, microSD cards were commonly formatted using FAT32, so they won’t support 4GB files anyway. If you record a 4k video at 30fps with Google Pixel 4, the file size will reach the 4GB limit in just 12 minutes. At the moment, Android devices will save the 4GB video and automatically continue recording a new video file.
As an example, if you record a 40-minute video in 4K resolution, it could be split into 3 or 4 files, which can be inconvenient, because you may need to merge them in your computer later. Most Android users wouldn’t bother about this limitation, but some professionals or photographers could see this as a serious restriction in their works. During a testing, Google successfully recorded a 32GB of video file and in another test, Google staff filled up the whole internal storage with a single video recording. The new maximum file size would be 2^64 -1 bytes, which is very large and might never ever be met.
The first beta for Android 10 went live in March 2019, so we should get the beta for Android 11 in March this year as well. The stable release of the new Android 11 should be available in August 2020. Flagships of Samsung and Xiaomi will offer 8K video recording quite soon, so the removal of the restriction should a welcome, albeit an overdue, change. Many commercial films and music videos have been recorded with iPhone, so future Android smartphones will be used for the same purpose as well, as they are matching Apple’s high quality recording quality.