Returned a Moto X solely because of the camera.

This week, the guys on the Vergecast had a conversation about how underperforming Android phones are compared to the iPhone or Windows Phone.

This past week, I returned a Moto X solely b/c of the camera.

I moved from a 4S and I loved everything else about the phone: the size, the customization and greater utility of Android, the customization of the phone itself, Google Now. But the camera was far too inconsistent for me to keep.

I have a couple extenuating circumstances:

1. I'm in an odd position where a 2-year contract on my unlimited plan w/ AT&T is actually the cheapest option for me, so buying an unlocked phone is out.

2. I have a toddler that I want to take good (or even decent) photos of in-the-moment.

The first one is a bit unique, but I'm sure there are plenty of other potential buyers that are in a similar position w/ #2. Even though I loved everything else about the phone, I couldn't justify sticking w/ a camera that was that inconsistent for 2 years. The only lighting that produced consistent results was fluorescent lighting. In natural light and low-light, the images came out grainy and dark, and the shutter speed was too slow. So although I liked everything else about the phone experience, I couldn't justify holding onto the handset.

However, I'm hopeful about the phones coming out in 2014. I hope that either Android hardware partners focus heavily on the camera or that Apple will allow some basic user customization (such as setting default apps for core functions). I'm hedging my bets, but both sides (iOS and Android) would benefit from bolstering these areas: if Apple allowed for default apps w/o jailbreaking, many people wouldn't care about the ecosystem lock-in; if Google focused on the camera, iOS users for whom that is a concern would be less reticent to switch.

The Android ecosystem has so much to gain by improving their cameras. Because honestly, if the Moto X2 has a better camera, that will be one hell of a phone to beat.