Asus explains Nexus 7 camera omission: it would have been a waste of time

Asus explains Nexus 7 camera omission: it would have been a waste of timeGood old Asus. In a world increasingly dominated by me-too uniformity and political correctness, Asus remains determinedly unafraid to be different – an approach that has proved highly successful for the Taiwanese firm.

A case in point: while it's widely accepted that a poor camera is better than no camera, Asus hasn't bothered sticking one in the Google Nexus 7 tablet because it says it wouldn't be worth the effort.

The Nexus 7 is directly targeted at Amazon's Kindle Fire, the 7-incher with the iPad-busting price tag – a formula which you could argue has made it the only Android tablet released so far to enjoy any real success.

But like the Kindle Fire, the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-powered Nexus 7 strikes a fragile balance between performance and affordability, with a few choice features clearly having been struck off the spec sheet to help keep the price down.

And while Asus has managed to get away with fewer compromises than Amazon in producing its low-cost tablet contender, there are nonetheless a few features missing. Chief among them is the lack of a rear-facing camera, an odd move not so much because pretty much every device going these days offers some kind of camera, but because the Nexus 7 does have a 1.2MP forward-facing cam.

Typically, if one camera is to be left off the features list, it's the front-facing one you typically use for video chat, not the one around the back that lets you take decent pictures.

So why does the Nexus 7 do things the other way around? Simple – affordability. Asus argues that while the webcam-style front camera is a fairly low-tech affair – and therefore relatively cheap, the kind of rear-facing cam it would have been forced into using due to stay within its narrow price constraints would have been a waste of time.

“To make this device accessible to the widest possible market, price is very important,” the Taiwanese firm argues.

“Asus believes that for this device a good rear camera is important [but] adding a high quality rear facing camera will increase the price point and many users would not have a use for it. Adding a lower quality rear facing camera would compromise on the overall user experience so the decision was made not to include [one].”

A brave move – and one not everyone will agree with. And yet, let's be honest: while mobile cameras are constantly improving, a large percentage remain utterly rubbish and are only included at all because they cost next to nothing and there's a space in the chassis.

But how different is that from PC makers pre-loading machines with crapware you neither want or need? If Asus had stuck a camera in the Nexus 7 we'd surely be talking no better than a 3MP or (at a stretch) 5MP bare-bones affair. How many Nexus 7 buyers won't already be carrying around with them a smartphone (or even feature phone) with better camera credentials?

And of course taking pics with a smartphone doesn't like you look like a total berk. Taking pics with a tablet does.

Via Slashgear

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13 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 21, 2012 at 12:28

Makes sense to me. A tab is a bit awkward for artistic photography. The budget tag makes a good cam a no-no, and who needs another cr*ppy 2 MPixler?

Also: are you allowed to type 'political correctness' without ironic quotation marks?

ArtZGurl  Jul. 21, 2012 at 12:50

I agree with their decision on no rear facing camera. And they made the right choice to include the front facing cam. I would imagine will be used more for free video chat than for picture taking.

matt101101 / MOD  Jul. 21, 2012 at 12:58

Makes sense to me. A tab is a bit awkward for artistic photography. The budget tag makes a good cam a no-no, and who needs another cr*ppy 2 MPixler?

Also: are you allowed to type 'political correctness' without ironic quotation marks?

You are when you don't believe in such over hyped crap.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 21, 2012 at 13:00

Makes sense to me. A tab is a bit awkward for artistic photography. The budget tag makes a good cam a no-no, and who needs another cr*ppy 2 MPixler?

Also: are you allowed to type 'political correctness' without ironic quotation marks?

You are when you don't believe in such over hyped crap.


Good Gawed, man... Hey: Google bought the makers of Sparrow!!!! Could Android finally get a good email client?

Treab  Jul. 21, 2012 at 13:42

smart move imo. i would rather have a tablet at 159 quid and use my smartphone camera via bluetooth than use a cheap and tacky one on an unusable tablet ...

Pondlife  Jul. 21, 2012 at 16:07

Rather like gmail on android tbh. Does what I expect it to, never used Sparrow though.
I did see someone using the ipad camera outside the tower of london, and yep she looked a right idiot.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 21, 2012 at 16:29

UI-wise Sparrow is pretty cool.

Spacemonkey1010  Jul. 21, 2012 at 16:49

Leaving off the rear camera may have been a no brainer but leaving of an SD port is IMHO a major blunder. It will only sell great until something else [VERY soon] comes out with similar credentials and including an SD port.

Pondlife  Jul. 21, 2012 at 16:50

Reviews of sparrow don't seem awesome even after getting passed those sulking over the sale to google and screenshoots don't look too inspiring. Oh well see soon enough I guess.

scootgi6er  Jul. 23, 2012 at 05:37

My son just got the nexus 7 and we had to down load a app to use the front facing camera. That sucks. Stop trying to play catch up to Apple and invent something 1st for a change.

Pondlife  Jul. 23, 2012 at 14:30

What did apple invent first then?

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 23, 2012 at 14:57

What did apple invent first then?
iTunes? A usable touchscreen UI? A lucrative marketplace for apps developers?
Cool lawsuits?

Pondlife  Jul. 23, 2012 at 15:29

those are more developments than inventions...

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