It appears that Motorola may have finally fixed one of the biggest issues users have with its Moto X 2014 iPhone rival. Owners of the Moto X 2014 began receiving an updated Motorola Camera app that they say, finally addresses some of the problems the device had ever since release last year.
Members of the Moto X area on Reddit began reporting improvements in the Moto X 2014’s autofocus last night, just as the refreshed version of the Motorola Camera app was hitting the Google Play Store. The improved app should come to all Moto X 2014 and even Moto X 2013 users over the next few days as their devices check the Google Play Store for app updates.
One user, C2005 indicates he tested his camera’s performance before download the update and again after. He believes that the update brings “much improved” focus times. In this context, Focus time is how long it takes the Moto X 2014’s rear-facing 13 megapixel camera to focus in on an object. Another user, Colonelpan1c, describes performance as “Not only significantly faster, but more accurate.”
For its part, Motorola’s changelog in the Google Play Store only indicates that it added a new icon for the app itself and “bug fixes.” We were able to test the upgraded Motorola Camera app first-hand. We also found it to be faster at focusing in on particular areas, but that’s hardly definitive.
It’s impossible to understate how big of a win it would be for Motorola to have addressed the issues with the Moto X 2014 camera. Announced last year, the Moto X 2014 is an improvement over its 2013 counterpart in almost every single way. A larger screen lets the Moto X 2014 compete directly with other high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6. A faster processor, lets the Moto X 2014 open apps and run games just as robust as every other high-end device. Even the design of the Moto X 2014 was a big improvement. The Moto X 2014 uses a metal rim that gives it a high-end feel.
The Moto X 2014’s camera was a different story. The Moto X 2013’s camera was pretty terrible in low-light. The Moto X 2014’s rear-facing camera suffers from some pretty glaring software issues. Trying to focus on specific objects takes way too long. When the device does manage to focus it lasts only for a second, before completely going out of focus again. Worse, by the time you are able to capture the shot, chances are that the moment was over. The camera on the Moto X 2014 is one of the few drawbacks in an otherwise perfect iPhone rival.
If Motorola did manage to address the camera issues through this software update – and that’s not officially verified at this point – it only proves how brilliant its software approach is. In a market when most Android device makers focused on changing Android’s design and stuffing it full of features, Motorola chose to do the exact opposite. Instead of skinning, Motorola makes no significant chances to the Android experience. Instead, it keeps all of its changes in a few apps. These apps can be updated directly through the Google Play Store. That company has said that this approach allows it to deliver software updates at a faster rate. More importantly, it gets fixes in the hands of users without having to go through their wireless carrier for approval first. That’s the key, because in the past something as simple as a few bug fixes would have needed to go through companies like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon for approval.
Past updates to the Motorola Camera experience added support for using the Moto 360 smartwatch as a shutter button. Only Motorola users can download the update from the Google Play Store, it’s available here.