New Nexus Phones

nexus6p-press

Google announced a pair of new Nexus phones packed with the latest hardware and software. Being a Nexus 6 user, the, Nexus 6P (bad name) appeals directly to me.

Wired interviewed, Alberto Villarreal, a Google hardware designer on the approach Google took in designing the new Nexus phones. I found a few tidbits quite interesting.

This is all powered by a new “Android Sensor Hub,” which takes the accelerometer, gyroscope, and more, and bundles it all together on a low-power chip of its own. That means your Nexus phone can collect more information about where you are and what you’re doing, without hurting your battery life, and use it to do more predictive and useful things.

The latest trend in mobile computing is specialization where specific tasks and processes can be moved to a low power chip to save energy. Apple has done a similar thing with its motion co-processor in the iPhone (recently moved back on chip in the 6 plus, but is still specialized).

There’s no wireless charging here, which feels like an oversight, but there is super-fast charging through the new port. And for now, Waraich says, that’s the best solution we’ve got. He says both phones will last a full day, but no more—and that’s as good as it gets. “One and a half days doesn’t matter,” he says. “In the morning you want your battery to look 100 percent when you leave for the day. So either somebody solves it for a week battery, or you have to give reliably one solid day of battery.”

Weirdly and exactly right, for most users. I’m at most 9-10 hours from a charger. If my phone can last that span with pretty heavy use with a healthy amount of battery left, the problem is essentially solved.  Most (if not all) smartphone manufacturers optimized for all day battery life because two day battery life is useless for the majority of people. We can charge every night.

There’s a 12.3-megapixel Sony camera sensor inside both devices, with 1.55 micron pixels that are much larger than your average smartphone. The Nexus cameras have never been much to brag about, but Google says this combination of high pixel count and big pixels is going to be huge..ere’s a 12.3-megapixel Sony camera sensor inside both devices, with 1.55 micron pixels that are much larger than your average smartphone. The Nexus cameras have never been much to brag about, but Google says this combination of high pixel count and big pixels is going to be huge.

Google has been serious about imaging in its Nexus phones for the last 3 years. Why would this year be any different. They have the imaging hardware to back it up. They appear to be using the recently announced Sony IMX377, with its large sensor size. However, your camera will live and die in the software of your camera stack, so I hope they paid the software the same attention.