Feb 18 AT 7:05 PM Dustin Earley 35 Comments

Google working on “insanely great” smartphone cameras for future Nexus devices


If you ever doubted Google’s commitment to improving the quality of smartphone cameras, doubt no more. Executives are usually careful to dance around wording when it comes to future products, going out of their way to avoid the subject, but in a conversation on Google+ today about photography, Senior VP of Engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, made some vague comments about future Nexus phones that have us excited.

Despite massive improvements to the camera software on Nexus phones, and iterative improvements to the hardware, image quality hasn’t changed much from Nexus to Nexus. In a casual conversation over on his Google+ page today, in response to someday leaving professional cameras like DSLRs at home and carrying nothing but your Nexus for all your photography needs, Vic Gundotra says Google is working on it.

We are committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras. Just you wait and see.Vic GundotraGoogle

Whether or not we see a new Nexus device this year with some sort of revolutionary technology or vastly improved camera quality is still anyone’s guess, but the fact that Google is concerned about it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Google’s placed a lot of emphasis on the new Photo Sphere mode in Jelly Bean, and has always spent time discussing the camera on Nexus devices when they are announced.

I’d love to see what Google has been working on in the camera department when they release the next Nexus phone and possibly the Motorola X Phone as well this year. Here’s to hoping “insanely great cameras” are just around the corner.

Source: Google+

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • SGB101

    As much as the nexus cameras have come on, they are still behind the sgs3 and the HTC latest offerings. They are really good, I expect them to be even better with this year’s line up.

    Even if the next nexus is as good as the current cameras, that is good enough, as move my notes camera is as good as any point and shoot job (minus optical zoom), but if you want real photos, you need a minimum of a bridge camera. And a smart phone for day to day.

    I’d be intrested in the Samsung camera, but it’s just to expensive, a fuji or Sony bridge can be had for a third of the price or an entry dslr for around the same money.

  • KennyL

    About time. I hope it is at least competitive with the Lumia 920.

    • epps720

      I agree, they really need to concentrate on picture quality in low light, those are absolutely horrible. At least on my Gnex

      • Max.Steel

        Cameras need light to get the best pictures so I don’t know how much quality you can expect out of low light.

        • epps720

          My wife has an iPhone and we have taken the same exact pictures in low light situations numerous times. And her pictures come out significantly better than mine every single time. I’m not expecting DSLR quality but I also don’t expect blurry and grainy pics.

          • drcmda

            “dslr quality” do you have any idea what that means? even flagship models for several thousands of dollars struggle in low-light. my d700 equipped with prime 1.4 lenses needs to ramp up iso so quickly, you’re faster on 6400 then you know. you can do better but a d3s costs half a fortune. professional mediumformat cameras for 20.000 – 50.000 do not function in lowlight at all, or at not not as you think they might. the entire issue is blown out of proportion my marketing strategists. there is simply no easy solution to this and results will always look grainy if you look close.
            the thing is, you dont have to and thats what matters. pictures will look alright on your facebook or printed on a small format so who cares.

          • epps720

            Not sure why I can’t reply to ‘drcmda’. I’m not expecting DSLR quality from a phone, that was just an exagerrated example so relax. All i’m saying is that the quality of my GNex photos in low light flat out SUCKS! My example was that my wife’s phone takes much better pictures in the same lighting so I am not asking for much. There obviously is a better solution and many other non-nexus phones have them.

          • SGB101

            If your wife is the 5 (may apply to 4s also) it share the same Sony imaging chips as theSGS3 and Note2, witch is of a far greater quality than the SG Nexus,and as good as any phone atm (besides that crappy, compared it android/ios, billion pixel phone)

    • Catherine

      I think Apples new iPhone 5S and 6 will have the best cameras available, as always.

      • SAM

        Apple’s products do NOT have the best cameras!! HTC’s phone cameras has surpassed Apple by a large margin!!!

        • Max.Steel

          Stop replying top the troll. He posts under different names everyday. His name is Ben and if his IP address is correct, he lives in Georgia in or around Atlanta.

  • Nate B.

    This and a beefy a__ battery is all they need.

    • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

      I hope they hear you, man, because Android needs top notch Nexus devices.

  • sbala

    Why they too can bring OIS in Nexus too?

    • Max.Steel

      I hope you weren’t trying to type iOS.

  • AvatarZ

    Here is to hoping – my Galaxy Nexus’ photos make me sad every time I see them

  • chris2kari

    Sp far Google talk a lot but produce little.

    I was just the other day looking at some of our home movies of our kids and remarked to my wife how they were so good considering they were shot on SONY _feature_ phones_.
    I’ve been waiting for a long time now for SONY to come up with a really good Android Phone/Camera that at least matches or surpasses that.

    • epps720

      Maybe the next Nexus will be made by Sony and therefore a better camera.

    • SAM

      Amen!!!! Talk is cheap….let’s see what you got Google!!!! I have a feeling Google will drop the ball as usual. Don’t hold your breath!!

    • apo

      I learned a nice sentence today at school so let me use it here ( so I can feel it’s actually useful as we don’t usually speak english in my country :) )
      Google talks the talk but doesn’t walk the talk?

      • Max.Steel

        It is “Someone talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk”.

  • thel0nerang3r

    This is interesting, the OEM tasked with the Nexus device makes the hardware so they pick whatever sensor they want. So, if they will have great cameras, does it mean that Motorola will make the next one? Sony makes great sensors and they sell it to whomever wants, but also takes good software processing to make a good photo. Or could the new tech that HTC is doing on the M7 going to make it into the next Nexus? HTC will make the next Nexus? Their statement gave more questions then answers.

  • mysickbones

    It’s a shame that Nokia didn’t go the Android route because their phones already have insanely good cameras. An Android phone sporting the camera from the Nokia 808PureView would have been a show stopper.

  • Mike

    Love my Nexus 4, but honestly, the camera on my iPhone 4 is better.

    Takes a relatively long time to take the next photo, takes a long time to focus. Feels like the software is ok, but the hardware is cheap.

  • donger

    This is one of the reasons why I buy Nexus devices.

  • jamal adam

    I expect nothing short of great from the Nexus smartphones to come. I think they have a lot of room for improvement for the Nexus series especially when it comes to low light picture quality. Hopefully it’s not all talk.

  • Krob

    They’re going to need an SD card slot to store all those pictures though..

  • uknowme

    About frigging time

  • Tangent

    “someday leaving professional cameras like DSLRs at home and carrying nothing but your Nexus for all your photography needs”

    That’s just a pipe dream right there. You might be able to convince a large number of people simply based on megapixel count, but to actually match the quality of a DSLR you need a physically larger sensor and even more importantly a much larger lens. Unless there are people out there who carry around a DSLR just to take pictures of their friends or their food at a restaurant that replacement isn’t gonna happen. They can definitely replace a pocket-sized point and shoot for the most part, but even the newest smartphone can’t compete with my cheap old D40 with the 2 kit lenses I have, let alone anything newer or higher end.

  • Mix

    I would take a better battery over a better camera.

    If you want a camera buy a camera, if I want a clock I will buy a clock and not a damn microwave.

  • Mike

    Right, because if you make an awesome sensor for a phone, then you can make an even better sensor for a DSLR, because you have more physical space. Also, the lens is the real key to dslr’s, and a decent lens costs as much as a Nexus.

    • Tangent

      Exactly. In order of importance to get a good picture it goes: Photographer > Glass > Body/Sensor.

  • cb2000a

    My Samsung Note takes awesome pictures even in low light.

  • aranea

    That’ll be a great improvement. They should also make the stitching on the 360 work better too.

  • Nathan D.

    Can’t wait to see a insanely great camera on a nexus, that the only thing a nexus is missing these days :-)