Vic Gundotra says Google’s committed to making “insanely great” cameras for future Nexus phones


Some interesting commentary has sprouted from the mouth of popular Googler Vic Gundotra. Google’s senior vice president of engineering took to Google+ to ask folks which photo snapping devices he should take on his upcoming vacation trip to Lake Tahoe. The Nexus 4 and a set of Google Glass lines the inside of his bags, obviously, but he was undecided on whether or not a DSLR would be appropriate, as well.

Responding to a comment by a user suggesting he wouldn’t have to worry about taking a DSLR if the Nexus 4 had some truly revolutionary camera hardware, Gundotra said “we are committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras.” He also added a nice, reassuring “just you wait and see” to the end of that for good measure.

First of all, it’s refreshing to see Gundotra reference an unannounced device even if it’s obvious that one is coming. It’s not often you’ll get one of these corporate big wigs to spill any beans — whether they be big, small or filled with jelly — ahead of any official announcement.

The only thing to work out is whether or not Gundotra was simply being overzealous and excited with his comment, or if we should expect truly big innovation in the camera department with a future Nexus device. It’s important to note that he didn’t say “next” Nexus device, so don’t be too disappointed if 2013 comes and goes with a phone that has a relatively ordinary camera.

We wouldn’t mind seeing a mini Lytro sensor stuffed into one of these devices sooner or later. One might also speculate Google could be looking to outfit a future Nexus phone with a larger camera sensor akin to the kind you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy Camera or Polaroid’s Android-equipped camera. That’s all wishful thinking for now, but Gundotra’s comment has our mouth watering and has us expecting nothing short of “insanely great” hardware — you can’t let us down now, Google.

[via Google+, thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This excites me. Maybe a little too much.

  2. I hope he means the X Phone.

    1. I hope so too, because then the X phone would be a nexus (which I am seriously hoping for)

      1. Yeah I’m kinda torn about whether I’d want it to be a Nexus or not. What do you think the pros and cons are?

        1. The pro’s:
          1-I won’t have to choose between Xphone and the new nexus for my new phone
          2-I won’t have to choose between Xphone and the new nexus for my new phone
          3-I won’t have to choose between Xphone and the new nexus for my new phone
          4-Updates directly from Google

          The Con’s:
          1-X-phone would have a stock UI (changed or not)

          2-UI skin would have been cooler than stock
          3-Motorola specific patents for cool stuff on the software side might be overlooked for in favor of having an OPEN software system. You know, the software stuff that only moto phones can have.

          1. I could see it being cool if they put out a new X phone every spring AND a new Nexus every fall. More choices is always good, though I’d hope the Nexus wouldn’t suffer due to lack of focus the project.

      2. I dunno, I was under the impression that the X Phone would have a custom UI that is neither Blur nor stock Android.

        1. Me2, but I guess it is possible that the new UI would become the new stock ui (or be the first to utilize an UI manager inside a newly developed stock ui system, making it unique without removing the stock ui)

          I just don’t wnat to have to choose between x-phone and nexus :'(

          1. I second that. Although I have been wanting to try out non nexus devices lately since they seem to be offering things that a single phone cannot offer. Like the Note with a huge screen. Or custom services such as SVoice. Even though I’m sure s voice isn’t as good as googles software I still would like to try it.

      3. The X phone is not a Nexus device, it’s Motorola/Google’s in house brand. The next Nexus device is being manufactured by Sony if rotating between the original Android OEMs holds true.

        1. Lol wut? Sony making the next Nexus? I kinda don’t buy that. Aren’t they kind of like a LG market share (potential device output) wise?

        2. They said that they look at what OEM presents the best match for the next Nexus. That is why Samsung got it twice in a row, at that time they were the best choice. So Sony needs to do something cool to win a nexus device, but motorola is also a great option seeing as how Google needs to save that company and it could do VERY well with the attention of a nexus device (not to say that if the x phone is not a nexus it still generated a LOT of buzz, but that is mostly for techies….nexus have a slightly larger reach with non-techies than other rumoured phones have)

  3. It’s about time Google focused on this.

  4. There are certain physical laws that pretty mean you can’t replace a DSLR with a camera phone. Optics are the most important factor and a bigger lens can’t be replaced.

    1. You’re definitely right about that. Still, there’s a ton of room for growth in the department of mobile cameras.

    2. I’d be happy if my phone could replace my point and shoot (Canon S95). In good lighting, my GNexus is close, but when the lights go down, the pics from the GNexus are pretty poor.

    3. BAH! Physical laws… pssshhhhhh.
      Only the weak abide by the laws of physics, scientific, and natural order!
      I however live in a teacup and have more mass than the earth! I defy you, logic!

  5. Its about flipping time, Nexus phones have never been the best or 2nd best at taking good photos.

  6. although I would love to see a better camera on the nexus phone I also understand that the nexi phones are mostly meant to be “developer” phones.

    1. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think it’s starting to become a brand for everyone. And I love it!

      1. Agreed, google is supposedly going to open stores, and the nexus 4 vastly outsold the galaxy nexus. With the growing prepaid market and BYOD plans, the nexus 4 really appealed and sold a lot of phones to non-developers. They really are the best phone for the money especially when you go prepaid. And if it costs a little more to have a great camera, I’d gladly pay it.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you. While the nexus 4 camera is usable with some tricks, the lgcamera app seems to work much better than the stock camera app, it’s still nothing near a HTC Camera. That’s really the only thing I feel needs to be improved on my nexus 4, and the galaxy nexus camera which I previously owned simply wasn’t worth using.

  8. Nice cant wait for the next nexus 5 phone


  10. The camera in the Galaxy Note 2 is perfection to me. So many crazy features. Like taking pictures while capturing videos, or taking slow motion movies.

  11. SInce Nikon made an Android camera, it would be nice to see some Nikkor glass and sensor in a phone.

  12. The mark to beat is the Nokia 808 Pureview. I don’t see how it can be
    beat without matching it in glass and sensor size (much bigger than any
    of the typical Android phones or iPhone). I have no issues with phones
    that are much thicker in the camera module section (like the Nokia). I
    have a Note II and the camera is adequate, but I’m not wowed. I’ve seen
    lots of pics from the Nokia that are amazing, though I haven’t used it
    first hand. To me the most disappointing thing about Nokia going Windows
    instead of Android, was not getting access to the top of the line on
    camera phone tech. I hear interesting things about upcoming Sony phones,
    and if Google wants to push better cameras onto the Nexus brand, that
    would be fabulous. Can we get removable batteries and SD card storage
    too please?

    I have a DSLR too and while I like it, I have it with me less and less. I never expect even the best camera phone to compete with it in low light – that’s moronic. But outside in daylight? I don’t see anything technical preventing just as good a picture. I suppose if you take that argument far enough, you don’t even need the extra glass/sensor size of the Nokia, but there is a point as the light drops that you will miss your DSLR – larger glass and sensor means that point will be that much lower in ambient light.

  13. I’m still waiting for 4.2 so that I can make my own photo spheres.

  14. After a couple of Nexus phones I found that having a great DSLR and a great compact won’t make me satisfied about all pictures I take, because cameras won’t be every time with me and lot’s of pictures are going to be shoot with the phone.
    I’m planning to replace my Galaxy Nexus just because I’d like it to have the best possible camera in a phone, and since Nokia doesn’t make Android phones, I don’t plan to buy a Nokia. I have a DSLR and love the pictures it takes, but I take a lot of unplanned pics with my phone. Optional replaceable prime lens would be a good start for big improvement in phone cameras… a replaceable sensor would be another good evolutionary path – start with a great nexus phone with cheap camera sensor and replace it later with an expensive sensor (if needed go as expensive as the phone itself) and carry it for next phone… just replacing it like a small removable battery. If we can replace SIM card, battery, MicroSD, Covers, etc, why not the camera sensor? ;) And it would be nice to have as many as 16 power LEDs in the back to better replace a real xenon flash…and if your friends also had one of this multi power LED phones, they could flash in sync when you take a picture (to add external flash lights), and then receive the picture automatically via encoded pulse light barcode URL for shared Google Drive file ;)

  15. great, now can if we get some insanely great volume controls for headphones that would be insanely awesome.

  16. Vic isn’t lying I’m sure. There isn’t much to improve on android devices as of right now and cameras capture the images that Google potentially can use for data that their company feeds off of. And extra pixels that can be picked up along the way can only be beneficial. Its going to happen.

  17. Then it will only be available on VERIZON no other carrier in the states will get it

  18. 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 ?

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