Camera app

Redesigned radial menu makes it easier to see all your options

We've got our our hands on the "Google Play edition" Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, and we've been putting both devices through their paces. For the most part, it's hardware we already know running software we've seen before on the Nexus 4. But there's one subtle change we've noticed that could make it a little easier to control your photographic options on the new Googlified devices.

The camera app that ships on the Google-branded GS4 is later than what's on the Nexus 4 (version 1.1.40012 versus 1.1.40001, if you're keeping track), and the UI has been somewhat redesigned. The big circular menu on the Nexus is replaced with an arch-shaped menu on the Google Editions, making it easier to see all your options without your thumb getting in the way.

The options have been moved around a little too — the top level consists of HDR, exposure, more settings, flash and front/rear toggle. Move up to the next layer of settings and you'll get location, timer, image size, white balance (bumped down one layer compared to the N4) and scene mode. We've also noticed that the animations when moving around the camera UI seem a bit smoother in the Google Edition app.

You might remember this new camera UI from a leaked version of Android 4.3 spotted on the on a trade show floor around a month ago — so we'll probably see the new radial menu in Android 4.3 when it arrives on Nexus devices. It's interesting, however, to see the Google Edition phones get a bit of a head-start in this particular area.

Update: Another new feature, as noted by Keyan Mobli: You can use the volume buttons as a shutter button. Another good change.

For more on the "Google Play Edition" Galaxy S4 and HTC One, check out our first look feature. We'll be putting the cameras on both phones to the test in the days ahead.

More: First look: Google Play edition HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4

There are 46 comments

v3rdict says:

I want it. Where is it? I want it.

smotrs says:

I hope like the Google Keyboard they put this in the Play store. I would download in a heart beat. :)

ElectronZ says:

I was thinking the same

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Ratnok says:

"It's interesting, however, to see the Google Edition phones get a bit of a head-start in this particular area."

No, it's irritating for Nexus owners. If this doesn't come to Nexus devices in an update by the end of the week, a lot of Nexus owners will be pissed. There should be no difference between Nexus and Google Experience devices.

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RichieB07 says:

My thoughts exactly! Nexus owners are supposed to get new stuff first, that's why it's a Nexus. If this isn't out in a week, I will be one of those very pissed off owners. Hopefully this just means that 4.3 will be out within the week so we aren't all pissed.

Linebarrel86 says:

Ready to throw a hissy huh?

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TheDu9du says:

I'm ready! I'm angry and mad!!! :@#$%&*-++(+&$##-(+&$$!!!!!!

It's not fair! I went and bought that LG Nexus back in February in hopes that my phone would always have the latest android update. First, no update comes after I/O in may, then I here the news that all my updates would be shared with other devices and that two or three different phones would have the latest updates too. Now I'm coming to learn my phone gets skipped from getting the latest camera update over this two other non nexus devices. This violates the Nexus promise and makes me furious!!!!
I'll give it to the end of the week, but I'm not sure I should!

goulav says:

You sound fricking mental. Take your medication..

Varukasalt says:

I can't wait until my life is so perfect that something so simple as a phone software update causes me such grief. Must be awesome having such a perfect life.

v3rdict says:

When did Google promise that there would be no difference between Nexus and Google Experience devices? The fact that GE devices aren't in the Nexus line should be an indicator for you.

The Nexus program doesn't entitle users to anything. Google has, so far, rolled out OS updates faster to those devices. That's it.

Ikeman90 says:

No the GE phones were to get a nexus experience if you didnt want the nexus phone. now there is something that the nexus doesnt even have. thats the issue. granted it is something very small but who's to say there wont be other things in the future.

rovex says:

Oh, there is PLENTY the nexus doesnt have...

Frankly a new camera app isnt going to fix the sucky as hell camera in the N4 anyway. Maybe the new camera is there to take advantage of the superior hardware in the S4 and One.

ConTejas says:

How about you go to the N4 camera section, take a look around, then come back and comment? I've had great pics on the Gnex, known for a terrible camera, and I've had much better pics on my N4 than my GS3 or GN2 (known for good cameras). Sure, the SGS4/One have better cameras, I'm not here to argue that, but I guarentee you can take just as shitty or great pictures on those too.

BeauCharles says:

Im going to agree with Rovex, but the n4 Camera sucks especially with lightning the senor just gets overlaoded and pictures are just so bah

DirkBelig says:

The Nexus 4 has the worst camera of any of the Androids I've had. If they'd just tame the fidgety spastic focus and have the exposure meter properly work - I have to manually tell it to underexpose by - 1 or - 2 to get proper shots - then it'd be a decent camera.

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cylerparent says:

I feel like anyone who refers to the Nexus 4 camera as sucky just doesn't have any idea what they are doing. The Nexus 4 camera is great, but you need to know how to coax the images out of it. Not for everyone, yes, but sucky, most certainly not. (See for proof)

brendilon says:

Get over yourself, it's not that big of a deal.

Mayoo614 says:

I partially agrees.

Yes it's not that big of a deal.
Yet again, it brings more fragmentation. I know Google is opened and all, but Nexus devices and GE ones should be the same. Why? Because you can't have 2 "Google Experience". I think they abandoned the "Nexus" name for those two to bump sales up because some people are afraid of Nexus.

I also think and would like that Google will eventually put the camera on the store like they did with the keyboard. Meanwhile they are putting more fragmentation and that is not good.

nbell978 says:

Maybe they're planning to start updating the camera app via the Play Store just like with the keyboard.

anthonok says:

That seems like what they may do.

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John-Smith says:

I hope that's what they do, the stock camera software for the Nexus 4 is garbage. But I still use it because I don't know what else is out there...

rpmm70 says:

So how long till the camera apk is available for other devices?

should be up in a day or two... xda devs never disappoint...

pretty annoying!!! the whole point of nexus is that u get the newest stuff before everyone else does. but these google editions get it first. basically saying "screw you" to the nexus owners. nice

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brendilon says:

whine whine whine

rovex says:

No, you get the newest Google stuff first, and even then thats not always true, some variants of the nexus line are updated after HTC and Samsung units. Also remember Google is now updating core apps via the Play store, we all get the newest stuff at the same time.

still1 says:

you are pissed because an app was updated with more settings??

you will get this updated app when 4.3 or 5.0 is released.

Lockeskidney says:

lots of reports of shutter lag on the S4. thats inexcusable for google.

gravage says:

Really? That's disappointing. One of my gripes with the standard S4 is the general lag and the lag launching the camera and taking a picture. I would have expected the Google edition to be lightning fast.

jfedor says:

Does the new camera software fix the screen rotation bug from 4.2?

still1 says:

Android 4.2.2 fixed that laggy rotation bug

afazel says:

Quality is what I'm interested in. I can do without Zoes, but I'm sure HTC has tweaks in their camera software to take better advantage of the larger pixels with lower pixel count.

Who cares the design of the app looks like it was made in 1940

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lithium98 says:

Holly hell! Stop whining! The comments here should be about how awesome this update is and that it's great they're FINALLY adding more options to the stock camera. The only thing that has kept me off stock android on my S3 is the camera app. Samsung does a hell of a job with their camera app.

Nexus does not mean first. You aren't owed ANYTHING by the guys at Google. Nexus means stock android. That's it. Get over it.

brendilon says:

Bingo. What a bunch of whiny, entitled dweebs.

ConTejas says:

No, it's not "bingo." I absolutely agree that whiners need to STFU, but yes, the Nexi devices ALWAYS have gotten anything new to Android first. That is certainly part of the appeal. Guess what? They always will. This is likely just bringing the app into the play store. Let's see which device gets the next version of Android first, aye? I see Sammy and HTC on the kernel, for starters, plus some non-stock Android. I will be floored if these GE devices get the next version of Android at the same time as Nexi. Probably just faster than non GE devices. However, if they do good for them. They certainly paid for it.

lightyear420 says:

so.....who's got a link to the apk?

deltatux says:

Was just thinking about that, can't find it on XDA yet.

Ben Doke says:

I can't find it either...

Th3Myth says:

oh it's there...

Jachym Lukes says:

Thank you. Can you also get the libs needed for the PhotoSphere?

rdubyah says:

Extract 3 files to system/lib chmod 644 / set permissions to rw-r-r good luck.

marhensa says:

here's the easy one, a FLASHABLE ZIPs.


tested. all features are working.

fredphoesh says:

THANKS!!!! @marhensa
Works perfectly... now I can keep the fantastic Samsung SGS4 camera AND have the Photo Sphere...

ndondo says:

do you have to flash both camera and libs? or just camera?
I want to have all the feature

I assume you flash both files?

thank you