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Vic Gundotra Says Google Committed to Making Nexus Phones Insanely Great Cameras, Tells Us to Wait and See

nexus 4 camera

Can you imagine a time where the camera in your smartphone is good enough that you wouldn’t need a DSLR or point-and-shoot to take great pictures? It’s an interesting idea, and one that most of us have more than likely entertained a time or two over the last few years as smartphones have become increasingly important in our lives. It’s also obvious that smartphone manufacturers care, as each year, we see new camera tech and exciting new software features that are focused on snapping better images in low light and while on the go. But how far off are we from truly great smartphone camera pictures? According to Google’s own Vic Gundotra, it might be sooner than you think. 

nexus cameras

Yesterday on Google+, Gundotra brought up the topic of traveling and whether or not he should take his DSLR or go with a much more portable option. He eventually came to the conclusion that he still needs his DSLR, which then prompted comments from his followers. One in particular hoped that a time when we wouldn’t have to worry about carrying around “heavy” cameras was in the future, and that our Nexus devices could do it all. Gundotra seemed to agree.

In his response, Vic said that Google is “committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras.” While that’s awesome news, it’s the end of his comment where he says “Just you wait and see” which has us excited. What could that mean?

Will the next Nexus have some sort of new camera tech that we have never seen before? Google already gave us some innovation on the software front with Photo Sphere, but there are still times that Nexus phones like the Nexus 4 struggle to snap a single shot with clarity. We would love to see a new focus on “insanely great” images.

He didn’t necessarily hint at this greatness happening in a future device or current, so we’ll try not to freak out too much. What we do know is that Gundotra just admitted to Google and the Android team caring deeply about enhancing the camera experience on your phones, and that’s exciting news.

Via:  +Vic Gundotra | Android Central

  • More rumors well posted the last week about the upcoming Nexus 5 which
    could be presented and released during next Google I/O in May, and this
    is when they are thought to be revealing the next Nexus handset and OS Key Lime Pie.

    So do you think that Xphone is the codename for the upcoming Nexus

  • Fred Zanford

    “insanely great” — ? What, it’s not bad enough that Google’s been ripping off Apple’s features all these years, now they have to rip off Steve Job’s tag line also?

  • Same as Motorola XPhone will focus on camera. I believe the next Nexus series is Motorola Nexus Razr (we heared when Motorola UK release Motorola Razr i).

  • trwb

    “Can you imagine a time where the camera in your smartphone is good enough that you wouldn’t need a DSLR or point-and-shoot to take great pictures?”

    Yes Its called the iphone. I am an Android user and dislike iOS very much so, but my iphone 4s has a better camera than any of my Android phones. Currently using a One X+, which isn’t too bad.

  • Tech Pro

    Nexus is supposed to be a cheap phone developer buy for Android development. Does this mean Google Nexus is going to be a retail brand in stead of developer phone?

  • The dedicated camera button was great not because it was a physical button, or because it was dedicated — it was that the hand position and perpendicular direction of force to press helped keep your shots steady!

    I find tapping the screen when taking a picture to cause the phone to move just enough at the critical moment to often give my photos motion blur, especially in low light conditions!

  • sdny8

    I hope audio becomes another priority tired of having to use speaker boost apps with my gnex an n⅞

  • DC_Guy

    Can it have LTE, expandable storage, and the ability to handle simple GIFs too?

  • SMD

    Shutter speed, shutter speed, shutter speed. Cell cameras have come far, but have a LONG way to go to even match your little point and shoot cameras. Most cell cameras have issues with movement and with no way to increase shutter speed, many photos are just a blur. Night shots will continue to improve as will flash (hopefully). Daytime images with minimal movement look awesome and it’s great to have zero delay when taking the photo. But right now they are leagues behind your point and shoots and even further behind DSLRs.

  • noc007

    There’s a saying amongst some photographers: “the best camera is the one you have with you.” I’d love for my phone to be able to take better pictures than my 10 year old Canon G3 Point and Shoot. That’s pretty much my benchmark when it comes to judging quality on a phone. So far they’re catching up, but the optics and noise isn’t quite there yet.

    The major downside to using my phone as a camera is that the application isn’t stable. A generic device trying to do everything isn’t going to be as good as something dedicated. I recently tried to take a video of my 7 month old’s reaction to something new. The reaction was fantastic, but the camera app crashed after two minutes and didn’t save any video. Highly unlikely I’ll ever be able to get her to duplicate something so unique. That’s a price I paid for not using a device dedicated to one specific function.

    I’d love for my phone to meet or exceed my camera in stability and quality, but I don’t hold a lot of hope because it’s not dedicated to that one function. I’d consider Sammy’s Galaxy Camera, but I doubt it would be as stable software wise for being used as a camera as my decade old PnS.

  • NorCalGuy

    I will take a nexus with a litryo camera in it any day. And for photoshpere I love showing it to iPhone users and let them tell me how cool it is and then the look on their face when they realize that they can’t get it.

  • Dave

    and nobody else is committed to this?

  • A phone camera will never replace a bespoke camera if you really care about the quality of an image. In many cases its the best camera you own because its with you but if you plan on taking pictures you will be bringing another camera with you.

    Just make them decent. Also, work on the interface. The new Android camera interface is decent but could use some tweaks and some serious speed up.

  • Smartphone cameras are becoming more than adequate when pictures are viewed on smartphones as well. However, I doubt smartphone camera for a wall print when all aberrations will be blown out.

  • joejoe5709

    Yeah I doubt it’ll truly replace a DSLR in the next five years, but I bet in the next year or so “point and shoots” will make less and less sense. The weak sauce camera is one of my least favorite features on my GNex. I almost always reach for our compact Canon or even worse, my wife’s iPhone. 🙁

  • Steve S

    There is no way any smartphone camera, even a ‘far advanced’ one will be able to do the things that a DSLR can. Anyone who thinks this is a possibility has never used a DSLR.

    • There is no replacement for displacement

      • kixofmyg0t

        Except a turbo and Nitro methane.

    • I just want my DSLR to make phone calls! Make it happen Canon!

  • thedonxr

    Could they implement this for the first time ever in a Motorola Phone?!?!?!!

  • Bigwavedave25

    Ah yes, the one last area of triumph the iPhone has over a Nexus device. Picture quality. Your time has come to an end Apple!

    • joejoe5709

      Ha. Yes. Seriously. I drives me crazy that my wife’s two year old iPhone4 takes noticeably better pictures than my year old Gnex.

      • Bigwavedave25

        Same here buddy, same here…

      • yea, i’ve noticed that the only way to get good pictures on a Gnex, is being outdoors with the Sun shining bright.

  • tyguy829

    What’s he talking about?? We already have the galaxy nexus camera. What more could you ask for? /s

  • Tom Snow

    I havent seen anything on DL about it, but saw a report/rumor that the new HTC One/M7 will have will have a separate camera piece that will effectively make the camera a DSLR. I have no idea how reliable this report is, but it does kind of match up with their “eye” teaser picture. Not the first time we’ve heard this sorta thing either the iphone 5 was rumored to have something like this too. Heres the article http://www.christianpost.com/news/htc-m7-camera-add-on-teaser-image-leaked-90222/

  • Maybe this Nexus with an awesome camera will come to Verizon!

    • Nope. Highly doubtful considering the big Galaxy Nexus fail by Verizon

  • possomcrast1

    Does this imply it will be the “Nexus X”?

  • Pandalero

    I’m not impressed with the cam on my Nexus 4. It’s the only complaint I have about the device. Flash is way too bright, so images are washed out by it. And the shutter is relatively slow, no zero shutter lag like most of today’s newer phones. I miss my Inc4G’s cam.

    • Bright flash is good. You can adjust the settings and compensate. I prefer and love the camera options with Android.

  • peeyourownpants

    how about keeping the whole nexus line in aosp?


    I’d like my phone’s camera to be as good as my DSLR but it’s not about the sensor, it’s about the lens. Without dedicated controls on the body, touch screens are difficult because you often move the phone so much you have to reframe the shot, and the weight of a real camera, it’ll be difficult to pull off really great shots even if the sensor is amazing and the lens is actually what you want.

    • Man, I was just thinking to myself; why don’t phones include dedicated camera buttons anymore? This was such an ingenious idea on the OG Droid and then… gone forever. Please, bring it back someone!!!

    • ty

      I was just thinking the exact same thing. You can have a 20mp camera in your phone but without different lenses and all the dedicated controls of an SLR the phone camera will never even come close to comparing.

      • ty

        On top of that, I could never see a phone coming with a shoe mount for flashes and things of that nature. However, I definitely see a time when your phone makes the small point and shoot cameras a thing of the past.

        • Depending what you mean by a small point-n-shoot. If you mean a cheap point-n-shoot that doesn’t even have a zoom, then yes. But if you are referring a some higher quality point-n-shoot that has a decent size sensor, and an even a short range of optical zoom, then the answer is probably no. Bigger sensor almost always translate into bigger lens, and couple that with a zoom lens, we need a much thicker phone to house the lens. Unless we are willing to carry a bigger phone, with the current technology it’s not going to happen. What we need is a new kind of sensor — and we are way way way off from having that.

    • Sensor size DOES matter (I’m not talking megapixels), not as much as lenses, but a big sensor will produce a higher quality image than the tiny sensors in phones and many point & shoots. They give you better detail and lower noise. In general terms, the higher quality your lens is the bigger your sensor should be otherwise your wasting a lot of what that good glass gives you.

  • Zoloft_User

    Can they focus on the next round of devices having LTE first…

    • Austin Warren

      If you’re not getting real LTE then why?

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        REAL LTE?… Stop it.

        • Austin Warren

          Depending on where you live Verizon is the best. And moving ahead while everyone plays catch up.

          • matti861

            Oh stop blowing them already

        • Austin Warren

          And we know nexus phones don’t have big batteries so 4G is another reason to drain it

    • peeyourownpants

      t-mobile hpsa+ smokes verizon lte in chicago for download speeds. coverage is meh.

      • Jim McClain

        Maybe faster just because so very few are on it

        • peeyourownpants

          i believe it, but i just jumped ship to save $50/month. even with the etf, it’s worth it. and nexus 4 is pretty great.

    • joejoe5709

      I could really truly care less about LTE as long as its compatible with Verizon – even on 3G. I’ve got LTE turned off most of the time. I’m on Wifi 90% of the time and when I’m driving, 3G serves me well for Pandora. Navigation lags a bit, but that’s okay. It’s pretty rare that I need those speeds outside of Wifi. For me, off-contract cost is far more important.

      • Captain_Doug

        Same. 8Gb of data on wi-fi, 500mb on 3G. However having 4G would be nice as a “just in case” scenario. Doesn’t hurt to have it if you can shut it off.

      • How much less could you “really truly care”?

    • jdomann

      One thing my Nexus 4 has that my Galaxy Nexus didn’t is great battery life. I can actually make it through a day AND be able to use the phone with more than 10% battery life left. LTE drain is crazy, HSPA+ is good enough speeds for me.

    • trwb

      LTE = marketing scheme

      • Jwhap

        I disagree. My wife is on t-mo I am on Verizon and I can tell you two things. 1. I always have signal and generally great signal my wife not so much. 2 my phone loads pages, downloads and does not buffer or it is rare when it happens, my wife sometimes even has problems with play music streaming. I have a gnex, which folks complain about having poor radios, the wife has a s3 so the comparison is very fair!

        • tspx23

          When t-mobile gets lte which is probably in a few months you’ll see the same pattern. Verizon has service everywhere and t-mobile does not. T-mobile still has the fastest speeds in major cities even with it’s hspa+ though.

          • Jwhap

            She is on hspa+. We live in Denver so speeds are pretty fast anyway. But vz late is significantly faster.

  • Austin Warren

    I don’t buy phones for the camera but if it’s a beast phone and good camera. The why not.

  • JetBlue

    My body is ready for what the future holds.

  • bakdroid


    • Newp

      “Nexus” not “X-Phone”.

      • Tyler

        Nexus X?

        • michael arazan

          2 Different sites have stated that the new Motorola X phone is to be called the Motorola “Nexus X”, but won’t be apart of the actual Nexus branding, still trying to figure that one out, and of course was given by an anonymous Google source.

  • kixofmyg0t

    Welp I guess that’s why the X phone isn’t a Nexus.

    • tyguy829

      Or 800

      • kixofmyg0t

        Let’s be honest here, the 800 would be nice but it’s not gonna happen because of price. Moto doesn’t have the capital to throw a 5″ 1080p screen, 3500mAh battery, 13MP, Snapdragon 800 cpu and sell it on the play store for $300.

        • tyguy829

          You never know. it sounds like google is heavily involved in this phone, and they definitely have some cash. Plus, i don’t think they are aiming for that “budget price” like with the nexus 4. This phone is definitely going to have lte, and there is no way to keep the cost low with an lte chip because of all the licensing. If it is sold in the play store, i think we are looking more at the $500-$550 range, (maybe even $600), and $250-$300 on contract

          • kixofmyg0t

            Oh its gonna have LTE, that’s for sure. $500 is a bit too much for a phone IMO. I mean a Nexus 10 doesn’t even go for that. That’s how most consumers are gonna see it.

            Keep it less than $400. They will have to go with the 600 to do that.

          • i see what you’re saying, but also, a Nexus 10 doesn’t have radios in it for LTE. i do think that google will price it low, but it sure as hell won’t be $350, unless they keep storage at 8 and 16 gigs

    • Have you own a Nexus, I have a Galaxy Nexus, and I can tell you, the camera in the GNex is even worse than the one you get in a RAZR. I haven’t seen the pictures taken in the RAZR HD, but it probably won’t be worse than the Nexus 4.

      • kixofmyg0t

        Oh I’m VERY WELL AWARE of the subpar camera in the “gnex”. I’m the polar opposite of what a fan of the “gnex” can be trust me.

        The camera in my RAZR HD is adequate IMO. Low light shots won’t wow anyone, but with the 4.2 camera apk and the media profiles tweaks from the N4 it gets better.