The anticipation leading up to Google’s launch of its new smartphone came with mixed speculation. While known for innovation and a game-changing approach to its products, the Pixel and Pixel XL came to market with a cloud of naysaying speculation hanging over its launch.
But now that Pixel is here and has had some time face off against its competitors, one of the most touted features is its camera. In truth, the camera probably isn’t going to be the deciding factor for most consumers when it comes to selecting a smartphone. After all, manufacturers have incorporated some kind of camera since the days of the early flip phones. But it’s certainly a selling point when combined with other comparable features, especially for people who rely on their cameras for work or image-heavy social media activity.
There’s an interesting fact about Pixel’s best-in-class camera, though: it’s really not that awesome. Don’t misunderstand that statement; the Pixel’s ability to produce incredible photographs and HDR images has already been shared far and wide. But as a report on the camera by The Verge–along with a side-by-side review of some of the top smartphone cameras currently available–shows, the camera hardware is only so-so while Google’s software is what makes the magic happen.
Speaking of magic, imagine it like this: you make a pinhole camera from a cardboard box, the kind schoolchildren make is science class or the Scouts. You use it to take a really crummy picture of a leaf. Inside the box, a genie claps his hands together and suddenly your picture is vibrant and more-real-than-real that honeybees swarm to land in its center.
The genie in this case is Google’s software, of course, and it makes so much sense that the powerhouse behind the world’s leading search engine and the world’s most widely used web browser, just to name a few, would approach new hardware from a software standpoint. Why continue to shrink bigger and better components when you can simply make existing hardware work better?