Nexus team Reddit AMA: Camera bump, Qi wireless charging, and peculiar names explained

Fixes to video stabilization on the Nexus 6P and support for T-Mobile's LTE Band 12 are the first priorities for device updates.

The “P” stands for Premium. The camera bump actually looks good. And wireless charging was thrown out to keep the thickness down.

Those were the key takeaways from a Reddit AMA with Google’s Nexus team, which answered questions and shared more details about the work behind the Nexus 6P and 5X.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, who described himself as “theoretically in charge of Android and stuff,” joined Vice President of Engineering Dave Burke and the product manager for each Nexus device on one of Reddit’s well-known Q&A sessions.

Why this matters: Both Nexus phones are rather powerful devices. However, there are a few compromises: there’s no support for T-Mobile’s Band 12 (yet) and neither has wireless charging, unlike Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices. Such decisions are usually a balance of priorities. So if you’re a Nexus fan of have a particular interest about the insides of what makes a good smartphone, the Reddit AMA is interesting reading.

About that camera bump

Sandeep Waraich, the Nexus 6P product manager, lamented the numerous leaks of the Nexus 6P, as he said they misconstrued the actual design of the phone’s camera bump. He said the “visor” required a lot of design and engineering effort to achieve the overall goal of a good camera and large sensor for low-light performance.

“The design was driven by major engineering challenges (putting in a great camera with big sensor for amazing low-light performance, LDAF, flash, antennas, NFC coils, Wi-Fi 2x2 MIMO antennas) and still keeping the form nice looking, and optimizing for thin/light/comfortable feel in hand,” he said.

On the lack of wireless charging

One major bummer was the lack of support for wireless charging, which is incredibly useful if you’ve ever had a device that supports it. According to Lockheimer, since the phones have USB Type-C, which is a reversible connector and easy to plug in, it was worth it to ditch the extra thickness that comes with wireless charging. Also, the phones support fast charging, getting you back up to full power in a comparatively short amount of time.

If you already have a wireless charging pad, you can buy a rather inexpensive adapter that sits atop the pad and powers up your device. I’m not sure how much the thickness argument holds water, as the Galaxy Note 5 (which supports wireless charging) is incredibly thin and packs in a stylus.

The cameras are the same, but not really

Vice President of Engineering Dave Burke said both the Nexus 5X and 6P use the same camera sensor (IMX377) and F/2.0 optics. Yet he went into more of the technical details about the 6P, explaining that the 6P camera has more CPU and GPU horsepower and features like 240 FPS slow-motion, “Smartburst” technology for capturing a large batch of photos at once, and Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS).

Also, Burke said, “Yup :)” in response to a question if there would be a tweak to the video stabilization algorithm with the 6P. DxOMark found this to be one of the few weaknesses in an otherwise great camera.

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Derek Walter

IDG News Service
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