Former Google SVP prefers iPhone over Android for mobile photography
Vic Gundotra was an SVP of engineering at Google for almost eight years before leaving the company in 2014, and heavily involved in running Google's mobile initiatives. However, despite being one of the main drivers behind Android from 2007 to 2010, Gundotra appears to prefer Apple's iPhones over Android devices, at least for photography.
In a Facebook post, Gundotra called the results of the background-blurring iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode "stunning" and "the end of the DSLR for most people". When replying to comments on the post he went on the say that, in terms of imaging, Android phones were years behind the iPhone:
Here is the problem: It's Android. Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo options? Should I use the Samsung Camera? Or the Android Camera? Samsung gallery or Google Photos?
It's because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.
Also the greatest innovation isn't even happening at the hardware level - it's happening at the computational photography level. (Google was crushing this 5 years ago - they had had "auto awesome" that used AI techniques to automatically remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, add vignetting, etc... but recently Google has fallen back).
Apple doesn't have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.
Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don't mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.
Apple's portrait mode doesn't come without its limitations, but it's probably fair to say among all the various incarnations of depth or bokeh effects we have seen so far it is the best performing. On the other hand some Android smartphones, such as the Google Pixel or HTC U11, offer an advantage over the latest iPhone models in terms of detail resolution and textures.
So, like with so many things, the smartphone camera that is best for you depends a lot on your personal requirements. Vic Gundotra definitely seems to have made his mind up, though. In another post he says he "would NEVER buy an Android phone again if I cared about photography." Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.
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