Get Photosphere on non-Nexus devices with the 'Google edition' camera app

Camera app from Google Play GS4, HTC One can easily be loaded onto other phones

Yesterday we covered the new camera application in the "Google Play edition" Galaxy S4 and HTC One — a slightly redesigned stock camera app that's a little easier to get around. In the past day we've been digging around in the devices' system partitions and we've discovered that the app, as it exists on the Google Play edition devices, can be installed directly onto other devices running Android 4.0 or higher.

Unlike earlier methods for getting Photosphere — Google's 360-degree panorama tool — on non-Nexus handsets, you don't need to root your phone, or manually push it to the /system/app directory. To install it, it's just a case of downloading it directly via the web, or putting it on your device's internal storage and selecting it from a file manager. Of course, bear in mind that you're using the app on a phone it wasn't designed for, so proceed at your own risk.

Once it's installed, you'll see the stock Gallery and Camera apps available in your app drawer, as the two apps are part of the same package. Photosphere images can be shot just like on the Nexus 4, and viewed in the stock Gallery app. So far we've tested it on the non-Google Play Galaxy S4 and HTC One, the Sony Xperia SP and Tablet Z, and the LG Optimus Vu, and it's worked on all of these devices. (On the Nexus 4, it installs over the top of the existing Camera/Gallery apps, but can be removed using the "Uninstall updates" button in the app manager.)

A few caveats — we're seeing some discrepancy in image quality compared to the built-in camera apps on some of these phones, and for the best-looking photos you're probably going to be better off using the app that was designed for your device. But if nothing else, it's an easy way to get one of the coolest Nexus features on just about any current Android device.

You'll find the APK linked for download over on the AC forums. Let us know how you get on!

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Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.