Android Central

'Just you wait and see,' senior VP of engineering replies on Google+

Google's Senior VP of Engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, took to Google+ this morning in a photography-themed post to reply to comments about the quality of Nexus phone cameras. The Nexus 4 is a pretty notable improvement in camera quality over what we saw on the Galaxy Nexus, but it's no secret that Nexus devices have lacked in the photography department. As you can see below, in response to a comment about just carrying a future Nexus device as his only camera Vic had this to say:

Android Central

It's clear with Google's improvements to the stock Android camera UI since Ice Cream Sandwich -- and the inclusion of Photo Sphere with Jelly Bean -- that a lot of focus is being put on the camera of Nexus devices, but it takes more than just a good UI to take good pictures. It really takes the combination of a quality camera sensor and great image processing software on the back end to have the end result of great pictures. While many Android manufacturers will pay to license image processing software from camera companies -- or in some cases borrow from the camera divisions of their own companies -- Google has historically kept things open-source in the camera department, which conflicts with paying for closed-source camera software.

Now no one likes to just "wait and see," but it's our only option at this point. It's comments like this from high-ranking Googlers that make us hopeful for the future of Nexus camera capabilities though.

Source: Vic Gundotra (Google+); Thanks, Grant!


Reader comments

Gundotra: 'Committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras'


Sums up my thoughts as well.

Phones have come a long way in this regard, but anyone that claims they will be "all you'll ever need" just exposes their ignorance to the subject of photography. ...or they're just trying to sell you a phone.


Yea, at the current state of cell phone cameras and the rate of change, it'll be a decade or more before they have the quality of the DSLR I bought a decade ago, and even that's mighty optimistic.

No doubt they've improved drastically, but there are inherent limitations an 1/8th inch sensor behind a 1/4 inch lens will never be able to overcome.

I'm all for talk of improvement, but let's at least try to be realistic.

There's already features they could've done in the software such as allowing long exposure times or using accelerometer to stabilize shots. The next simple steps are to get good lenses like a f2.0 or wider, and the next expensive option is better low-light sensors.

They aren't even at the head of the package and how many years has it been? Apple is still kicking their a$$ in this department though it's gotten interesting but only by S3 and HTC One. Certainly not the Nexus. This is a big part of the phone experience and is ripe for the picking. Google, get er done!

maybe snap shot stills with 5 mp sucks, but the HD video capture is awesome, i record 1080 videos and 720 for more storage space, with my GNex all the time, HD video record always works great

The Nexus phones could use some work in the audio department as well. (speaker, etc)

Cameras will get better over time, of course.

I agree, the speaker is horrible! I been looking for a hack for that, like how there was a volume hack for the Treo.

I've found the speaker to be fine. Headphones, however.

The fix for that is the Franco kernel. Has a headphone volume custom kernel setting that works perfectly!

Friends, please don't forget that google + apple (yes, both combined) bought the patents of camera tech from kodak during end of 2012. So what Kundotra saying may be true...

We don't care about the personal situation you feel locked into. Your Nexus is an adequate yet limited smartphone. At least you receive incremental Android OpSys updates first. Wow!

I enjoy a Sprint HTC (One) EVO 4G LTE which takes outstanding pictures even indoor without flash due to the great image sensor and companion integrated software, and external focus & shoot camera button and a useful kickstand. The sound is decent and Sense has many features that are now being utilized by Google and widget developers, eg a variety of lock screen widget choices.

Speaking of kickass image sensors and sound, HTC will have many wanting to sell their G3's & Nexus' on ebay by April.

Some are leaders and others follow the herd.

This is a nice phone man but Sense sucks Bro. I have two of these and an S3. I have had every EVO. Sense is just so slow. You can even do pull down expansion on it with the Sense Jb update. Nice camera though. Not magically that much better than s3. The lcd screen is way better than s3 and the gorilla glass is good. S3 glass sucks

Don't be an idiot please. S3 has Gorilla glass 2 and its terrible. I don't care what the brand of it is. This is a widely known issue, please check your facts. I didn't say anything about the brand of the S3 glass, I just assumed you would know...guess not.

Sense is brilliant and fast (svinyard) bro. I think it is inappropriate when misrepresentations are stated as fact with bullshit usage comparisons and unintelligible statements. . Cite a published review to be believed.

And with olorin's cited reply your comments lack credibility. Just because you make spurious claims in a forum doesn't make it true, (svinyard) bro.

Reviews of Sense and the HTC One have been excellent. Slowness is not a point of any professionally published review including Android Central's.

Does everything now have to be cited by a professional review? Do personal experiences no longer count? This is something new.

Jimbo you are funny. CLEARLY you don't know what you are talking about. Have you ever used an AOSP rom on your EVO? Didn't think so. Remember, I have two of these with different build revs. Sense is slow. I'm not saying that everything about it is slow but get real man, if I put it up to a CM10 ROM it gets smoked every time even with just opening my contacts. The BIG deal for me was the browser performance. If I went to a image heavy site, the stock browser would just crawl and tear and stutter. Try the same thing on the S3 and it was smooth as butter. Even on ICS stock. NIGHT AND DAY. You don't know what you are talking about. Things just run slower on Sense, its a fact.

Are you freaking kidding me?! How much of a fanboy and a sheep do you have to be to think that the Evo 4G LTE is better than the Nexus 4?! Just go ahead and tell me the Evo's processor, RAM, and Android version and compare it to those of the Nexus 4.

1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4
Android 4.1.1 (with NonSense 4+)

1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro
Android 4.2.2

So the only thing the Evo has on the N4 is a better camera. Save, of course, for the fact that the Evo doesn't have Photo Sphere.
Don't complain just because you're jealous.

I am not a fan of photosphere. Sorry, I understand its good for intersections of things standing still, but the focus should be on other aspects of the camera. Panorama is not bad though!

Sorry, Vic, but could you think of a different descriptive phrase? "Insanely great" makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Not sure if it's just placebo, but I thought my N4 started to take better pictures after the 4.2.2 update. In particular I thought colours were less washed out than before.

Anyone feels the same?

Not really going to be able to pull this off unless they actually take the handcuffs off with the nexus once again. They very first Nexus was cutting edge with its hardware, but now the Nexus seems to always be trailing behind the pack. I like the Nexus 4, but why not release a big brother that packs a punch. It might be a higher price point, but push the horizon of technology with it. Find a hardware manufacturing partner that's willing to push the boundaries with them. Right now their last few hardware partners have been just packaging specced down versions of present day or soon to be released versions of their own phones.

I'm buying a Nexus 4 for the stock Android experience and the fact that it is the least expensive, unlocked high end phone available.

However, I'm very interested in the Sony Xperia Z specifically for the camera technology.

Given HTC's mysterious teases about megapixels not mattering, I'm hopeful someone is about to introduce a Foveon-like sensor for phones.

I'll happily take a 4 megapixel sensor that records RGB data at each photosite over the miserable 13MP cameras that are shipping today.

At the end of the day, great cameras come down to the laws of physics. You need surface area to capture photons. Until someone decides to build a phone with bigger photosites (either by growing the sensor, shrinking the pixel count, or both), we'll never get a better phone camera.

Here's hoping Google and HTC are both driving this particular train.