I now understand that the strange red-eye housing over my camera lens, which looks so much like an android (or maybe an HTC engineer) after a long night of drinking, is purported as protection for the actual lens. Why HTC didn't just settle for a sliding blackout cover instead of this bulky lesion is anybody's guess. I know that it's relative permanence over my lense will certainly not protect my photos from any dirt and scratches which this protector picks up, so I have been extremely careful to keep it clean and un-scratched. What I suspect is that this lens cover may be responsible for some of my camera quality issues, such as high noise, a reddish tint which tends to flicker on and off, some periodic jerking of the autofocus (flashing out of focus) when you are hardly moving, and indoor shots which are much, much darker than life without the flash. Hey, I get that this camera, no matter how many megapixels they can list, doesn't come with a world-class sensor, but I would like to know from anyone with a background in photography what they think of my concern that even a clean, transparent cap can reduce the amount of light entering the actual lens, while adding its own reflective noise. The same with the opaque cylinder which surrounds the lens (the red eye housing), from a photo-quality standpoint is looks to me like it's only good for cutting the light. If removing this cover would make a significant difference, then it may still not be the best solution as it leaves the lens at risk, but I am still interested in any qualified opinions on how much this red-eye housing causes, if any. It may be good for the future of smart phone design if they see that they have educated consumers, who are paying attention to such possible problems.