Google’s next reference smartphone is the subject of many rumors over the past few days, but only one stands out as not too outlandish. Phonearena reports that according to a source, the next Nexus could have Nikon camera technology on board, with a “triple sensor” array. The camera is being referred to as the “selling point” of the Nexus 5, the source claims.
The tipster in this case also cites more reasonable specs for the Nexus 5, including a 5-inch display capable of 1080p output, a Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM and 8/16GB storage options. There’s also a beefy 3140 mAh battery on board, which should outlast the current device depending on the power requirements of the display. These refute an earlier claim from AndroidandMe about a super-powered 5.2-inch LG device being next in line for the Nexus name, with a bizarre 3GB of RAM supposedly on board.
By contrast, the more recent Nexus 5 spec report makes much more sense in the context of how Google has iterated its flagship Android device in the past. And the Nikon camera tech also echoes an earlier statement from Google’s Vic Gundotra, who said on Google+ last month that Google is specifically “committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras,” teasing that consumers need only “wait and see” to realize the truth of that statement.
The one sour note on the otherwise impressive Nexus 4 from Google released last fall is the camera; reviewers mostly seem to rate it either adequate or sub-par compared to cameras in devices like the iPhone or Android handsets from other OEMs. Accordingly, it makes sense that Google would focus attention on improving the camera in the next Nexus, since that would provide good upgrade incentive for those following the brand, and also help Google better show off Android’s built-in camera features, which is one of the primary purposes of its line of Nexus reference hardware.
Google and Nikon have worked together in the past, including on the Nikon Coolpix S800c, which features an Android-based firmware. Google also acquired Nik software last year, makers of Snapseed, and a company Nikon had previously made a sizable investment in.
The sensor of the new camera will reportedly be a three-sensor affair, which sounds like it could resemble the tech used in HTC’s Ultrapixel or Sigma’s Foveon X3 sensors, by combining three sensor layers, each with a smaller megapixel count, to create a single higher resolution image with better color rendering and light capture. This is still very much a rumor, but it’s an interesting one and definitely seems to be in line with Google’s apparent goals for the Nexus line.