While many are waiting for an update to Android 4.4 KitKat, the Nexus 5 is about to receive Android 4.4.1. News of the new update’s impending arrival spread from the official Nexus Google+ page this week, and rather than being solely for bug fixes, it’s apparently going to improve the Nexus 5’s camera too.
The post pushes the benefits of HDR+, which is installed as standard on the Nexus 5, and talks about some key changes made to improve its performance. Android 4.4.1 will concentrate on making the Nexus 5‘s camera better in all situations, including low-light. It’ll speed up the focusing, reduce shutter lag, and tweak the white balance to help bring out the best colors in your shot. Pinch to zoom will be introduced in the HDR+, as it’s annoying disabled on the Nexus 5 at the moment.
All this sounds great, and as the camera was one of the few areas which disappointed on the Nexus 5, any improvements which can be made using software fixes will be most welcome. The emphasis on speeding up the camera should see at least a second taken off the time it takes to shoot a picture. Yes, a second, which just goes to show how dimwitted the Nexus 5’s camera can be.
According to David Burke, Director of Engineering for Android at Google, who has spoken to The Verge, Android 4.4.1 adjusts the balance between image quality and speed. In Android 4.4, the Nexus 5 was setup for quality, but at the expense of speed. To fix this without sacrificing quality, the team has been playing around with various settings, including image stabilization, and Burke believes the work has paid off. Expect images to be more colorful, and to see a few UI changes, such as an HDR+ progress indicator.
The Android 4.4.1 update should be on its way to Nexus 5 phones from December 5.
Updated on 12/10/2013 by Andy: The Android 4.4.1 update may have only just arrived, but it has already been superseded by Android 4.4.2. It doesn’t bring any new features though, as according to reports it’s all about bug fixes and security enhancements. A report from AndroidPolice.com indicates it replaces Android 4.4.1, so some users may find the older update never arrives, and all the changes come in 4.4.2 instead. It also states the latest build is compatible with all Nexus hardware, and not just the Nexus 5.
Article originally published on 12/5/2013