Android 4.4.1 update is real, and will bring some serious camera improvements

nexus 5 before and after sample 1

A couple of days ago, we heard murmurings of an “Android 4.4.1″ update. Our own traffic logs showed many instances of hits from such an OS version, but we also saw hits from the likes of Android 9.9.9 — forgive us if we were a bit skeptical. But it looks like 4.4.1 is the real deal, and we should be expecting some much-needed improvements to camera performance following the OTA’s rollout.

According to The Verge, who happened to have some before-and-after camera samples to go along with the story, showing some key improvements. For starters, the shutter time has been greatly reduced, which should make for much sharper photos.

The team has also increased the framerate inside the camera app, which should go toward improving focusing speed. It also doesn’t take as long to launch the camera app itself. Beyond all of that, HDR+ mode has been given a progress indicator for the software-based post-process effect to be applied, giving you an idea of how long it will take before you can share your shots with the world.

The Verge says the upgrade is so close that it should be rolling out in a matter of days, so if a majority of the people over at the Mountain View campus really are testing it then that’s not that hard to believe. Be sure to take a look at more sample images at the source link.

[via The Verge]

Continue reading:

  • Roy Aguilera

    Doesn’t look like any improvement was made based on the picture you posted.

    • Matt Isaacs


    • Raveesh Bhalla

      They key change, more than photo quality itself, is the improved performance of the app. No more lag, launching or AF, makes it a significant improvement alone

      • batvette

        That’s absolutely true but of course that’s not what the photo depicts and it’s included for impact. Since cell phone cameras aren’t for serious photography anyway (though better quality is always, ummm, better) the things you mention are probably more to the value of the update and the photo’s differences might be moot for day to day use. See my above post, may vary this much from each unit to another, or each user. If you carry a “beanbag” tripod and set the camera on that you’re always going to get a better shot than the next guy holding his.

    • JDC

      You can clearly see a difference in detail in the orange light/reflector as well as the concrete barrier that it’s sitting on.

    • batvette

      I see a difference, but what I’d comment is that it seems impossible to capture a true A/B comparison. Is it the same phone, an hour or more apart after the update? Maybe even another day? Different lighting conditions at another time of day? OR is it two examples of the same model phone, different OS, same time? Flawed comparisons because different phones, would like to see the same comparison with the same OS running first. .
      I’m not saying the writer isn’t competent or all he says is not 100% true- however from a scientific POV the direct comparison is not accurate without a lot of controls and parameters we don’t know here and are virtually impossible to mitigate.

  • Appul Luver

    Meanwhile iOS7 is pwning Android

  • phinn

    Camera performance is one of the main things lacking on Android still. Let’s hope this improves things across the board. Will the Moto X see it first again? :P

  • toomuchgame441

    Now, just what are they going to do with that battery?

    • Lalo Ponce

      I’ve had a Nexus 5 for a month now.. Get about 4.5-5 hours of screen on time and don’t have to charge my phone for about 12-13 hours. Idk what so many people are complaining about, must be the way y’all use the phone?

      • victor montez

        Yeah I’ve had my Nexus 5 for a few weeks now and the battery life is so much better than my N4. Gets me thru my day and then some!

        • Lalo Ponce

          Yeah I wouldn’t complain much about the battery since it’ll always vary depending on use of each person. The main thing that does bother me is the SPEAKER. I got used to the super loud speaker on my Oppo Find 5. Hope there is something they can do to the speaker. Either way I still think the N5 is the best phone I’ve ever used.

          • whirly89

            Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to improve the speaker, you can increase the volume output but with add distortion to the music/video/etc, that is the downside to hardware, can’t be altered like software

          • Lalo Ponce

            Oh well. Sure would be nice if they made phone cases with speakers in them that would add on to speakers already in the phones.. Then you could have multiple speakers in multiple locations.

          • CarstenLorenzen

            A high pass filter on the speaker would help alot and free some power for more dB’s. You can feel how much the phone vibrates at max. volume, the small speaker can’t handle that kind of bass or even make it audible. A correctly adjusted high pass filter would help the N5 alot i think!

          • batvette

            Maybe I’m missing something but lots of MP3 player apps come with EQ’s, what else are people doing with their phones that require hi-fi sound? Movies? Can’t the player apps incorporate an EQ too?

    • Devon Warren

      While we are stuck with the same hardware I imagine the next updates may be battery focused. I actually get decent battery but hopefully merging with the newer Linux kernels will help and I’m sure they will release more dev tools to help track down battery issues.

    • whirly89

      Introduce yourself to XDA developers website, learn to root and flash roms/kernels. The battery problem has already been addressed and fixed a while ago by two great developers, Faux123 and Francisco Franco, both of their kernels can be found in the Nexus 5 thread. If I remember correctly it had to do with a wi-fi bug, but i’m not 100% sure since i don’t own a N5, just what I remember from their twitter posts.

      • toomuchgame441

        Oh no my friend, why do we have to look to xda everytime to fix something that should have worked ok to begin with? Its about to be 2014… Manufacturers need to start getting it right. They’ve had plenty of practice. It’s game time now

        • whirly89

          It’s actually not a manufacturer bug, but a bug within 4.4 itself for the N5. We look to XDA for a fix all the time because that’s what many manufacturer do themselves, that’s why there are leaks all the time before official releases. So the community can patch the bugs, and the companies get free fixes to their problems.

          *PS* If you have an android device and aren’t on XDA, then why even have an android device. Mine as well use an iPhone!

    • Jack Keating

      battery is fine with me, I get through the whole day with it. Maybe turn off your data when you aren’t using it and lower the frequency at which your accounts are auto syncing.

  • Devon Warren

    Was really bagging on this happening when I bought my N5, glad it actually happened :) Now T-Mobile, show me how fast you send out updates.

    • Blatino

      T-Mobile isn’t sending updates to the Nexus 5. Google is.

      • Devon Warren

        Well it still has to go through T-Mobile to go OTA right? I’m coming from Verizon here so I’m used to delays ;)

        • Blatino

          Yeah the Nexus 5 sold by T-Mobile is exactly the same as the one in the Play Store, no T-Mobile modifications as opposed to the VZW Galaxy Nexus.

        • josh_yth

          no, it’s coming straight from Google.

        • Malachi

          Nope, no waiting. Welcome to the wonderful world of Nexus and non VZW!

          • whirly89

            As much as I hate VZW, got to give them credit for how fast they delivered the 4.4 update for Moto X.

          • Malachi

            Agreed, time will tell if that was an anomaly or not

  • shmigga

    Sounds very serious.

  • Ron Jones

    I was really hoping for a fix for the low speaker volume along with the camera update.

    • CarstenLorenzen

      Me too, i’m afraid the N5 has a hardware problem, i.ex. a very weak amplifier. Both the speaker and jack/aux are very weak. I can’t reach a loud volume with any of my headphones, compared to all other phones i’ve had. Ok, i like it pretty loud, but this N5 only reaches about 2/3 – 3/4 compared to others.
      The built-in speaker could use a high-pass filter, it tries too hard to play low bass notes, which it just can’t handle = lots of distortion. Cutting it with a filter would free a bit of power from the amplifier and make room for a bit more volume before clipping.

      • Walkop

        Odd. Headphone output, from what I’ve heard, is generally fantastic.

        I haven’t had issues with mine.

  • Tomato88

    Any word on patching up the signal issues that all Nexus devices have? ;)

    — Former GNex owner

    • Michael

      My Nexus 4 doesn’t have any signal issues. What are you talking about?

  • smithj33

    Good they are working on the app but should have been fixed 2 years ago. Implementing exposure lock would be easy and make a big difference. Its more surprising Samsung who makes cameras doesn’t have the best camera and Apple who has limited camera experience has one of the best.

  • Jason

    Has anyone read if the update will bring things to any other phone such as the n4? Or is this pretty much just to fix the n5, which would be cool, just was curious.

    • spicymeatball

      I thought I read that this is going to fix things in the n4 and n7. Not sure though.

  • E esor

    In HTC One GPe, there is an issue on data (4G LTE/ 4G/ 3G/ H)  service provided by service provider. I am currently with metroPCS for 3 months and struggling to get data service from them after I update into Android 4.4. I already communicated with metroPCS and HTC manufacturer, and tried several methods like manual APN setting, factory reset, reset power-cycle and so on. 
    What is the solution to fix it. Android 4.3 had no problem at all in HTC One GPe? Is there any update coming soon to resolve?

  • supremekizzle

    Still on the fence with the G2. After this update, can you guys do a comparison?

    • JRomeo

      if you want quick android O.S. updates, then Nexus5 is the way to go.

      • scoter man1

        ^ what he said. I love my N5.

  • Michael Leahy

    Thank goodness, because the Android team in the process of transitioning to the new camera API (camera 3 HAL / API) with the Nexus 5 broke very important existing camera API functionality that has always worked and many 3rd party camera apps are likely broken on the N5 presently. Basically they started moving the existing 3rd party camera API implementation behind the scenes to the new HAL and majorly borked things up and apparently didn’t test any 3rd party camera apps. If you are a developer vote for this Android bug. I clearly document it with a video, source code, and a test APK that shows the problem on the N5.

    Luckily it seems limited to just the N5 and not other devices, but yeah Google.. Please test things better! A major regression bug like this is silly as it shows practically no testing was done before 4.4 was punted to the curb. Yeah 4.4.1 and yeah that this seems to be a N5 only major regression, but…

  • JointhePredacons

    Nice, hopefully it will address the battery and slight signal problem after the 4.4 update as well.

  • perhac88

    So since the camera on Nexus devices haven’t been to well because of the camera software does this mean the update will get to my Nexus 4? Or will it be exclusive to the Nexus 5?


    Clinching my cheeks hoping this fixes all my camera woes.

  • scoter man1

    Does this mean we get a new N5 camera review? I could do it myself, but the colors of winter in Michigan are rather dull.

    • Jerel Butler

      Yay Michigan where is gray so much you want to slit your wrist to see color.. I live in Detroit by the by

      • scoter man1

        I’m so gone after I’m done with college, haha.

        • Jerel Butler

          Wish that was my escape born raised and I will probably be shot there lol

  • ineptone

    According to it’s being pushed as early as today and the APK file is already available.

    Sorry, a direct download link wasn’t provided, but you can download via this article:

  • Henri Conradie

    As Captain Benjamin Sisko so emphatically said: “It’s reeeeaaal!”

  • peter g

    Will I lose root?