More powerful cameras are key to smartphone success, says Google exec

Taking photos is one of the “most important” parts of using a smartphone, a senior Google executive has said, saying the company needs to build devices that allow people to “better capture and remember ” with their photos.

Navin Sarma said Google wants its Pixel line of devices to leverage technology to bring more complex photo-taking and editing tools to “everyday users” in an accessible way.

Pixel smartphones have been praised by industry experts for their photography tools, including a feature called Magic Eraser – first introduced with the Pixel 6 flagship last year – which allows users to erase distracting objects and people from images.

“We know people care about their memories, and we’re able to enable people to capture memories even more viscerally and realistically than ever before, after being able to improve the quality of the camera – not just the specs hardware, but also the software that powers it,” Mr. Sarma, senior product manager, told the PA news agency.

The field is progressing extremely rapidly and with each new innovation comes a new opportunity for us.

“And I think features like Magic Eraser are really capable of continuing to help users really focus on what matters by removing those distractions and really keeping the focus on what matters to you.

“So it’s a suite of things that help us build towards better capturing and remembering those memories. We think that’s one of the most important use cases for our users. »

Smartphone photography has advanced enough in recent years that the devices are used in professional settings by photographers and videographers instead of dedicated digital cameras.

Greater processing power and advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that complex, power-consuming editing features that were once only available on powerful PCs can be used on a smartphone. .

Mr Sarma said it was exciting for casual photographers and smartphone users.

“Certainly the field is advancing extremely rapidly, and with each new innovation comes a new opportunity for us,” he said, adding that the challenge for Google is to streamline complex technical photo tools and edition to “reduce them and make them practical for an everyday user”.

He said the goal of his camera tools is to deliver “great automatic results” while supporting “the creative angle”.

“It’s a multi-year journey,” he said. “Every year we try to improve.”

Google will launch its next flagship line of smartphones, the Pixel 7, later this year, with further updates to the camera systems expected.

However, Mr. Sarma would not be drawn on what to expect.

“There are so many different angles we’re pursuing, so I would ask you to stay tuned,” he said, adding that the company “is open-minded right now” and “looking where the most impact could be had in the future”.

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