Google Photos 1.21 rolled out silently to Android devices this week without any new features. However, a teardown by Android Police reveals that Google is preparing to offer unlimited original quality photo and video backups for Nexus devices. Of course, this is not yet official, but such a feature would provide an even bigger incentive to buy a Google-branded device.
At the moment, Google Photos offers free unlimited backup for photos under 16 megapixels. While the current 12.3MP sensors found in the Nexus 5X and 6P take pictures under the requirement, Photos still does some optimization to lower the file size. In order to have the best image quality possible, users have to opt for the original quality upload that counts against a Google Account’s storage limit.
This possible incentive for Nexus devices makes most sense when storing 4K video. Both current Nexus devices are capable of shooting 4K video and under the high quality storage tier are degraded. With very large file sizes, these videos can quickly fill up storage. In the future, Nexus devices will only get better and presumably get higher resolution cameras.
The strings found by Android Police do not mention specific restrictions. It is unknown whether even older Nexus devices will get this deal or if high-res images and videos downloaded, but not taken by Nexus devices will be able to sneak under the promotion.
Hopefully, Google will make this feature official in the near future and not wait for the fall when future Nexus devices will presumably be announced.