Android camera API refresh may add Camera RAW support

November 18, 2013
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Android has provided an inconsistent camera experience over the years. Some handsets are capable of producing better images than others, but the experience as a whole has often been criticized. For that, we have often looked towards third-party camera apps to help improve the experience. Sadly though, even the best third-party app cannot fix everything.

Many had thought something big was coming with the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 Kit Kat. That though came from comments made by Vic Gundotra. That comment didn't go into specifics, however he did say that Google was "committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras." Well, while the improved camera experience didn't arrive as expected, it does look like some progress is being made behind the scenes.

Josh Brown shared the details on his Google+ page where he mentioned the new Camera API. Details here point towards work that began back in December 2012. That begin date could suggest this was intended to arrive with Kit Kat, however the API was pulled from the Android framework about a month before the release of 4.4. And in the place was a comment of "not yet ready."

Specifically, the comment read as follows;

Do Not Merge: Hide new camera API.
Not yet ready
Bug: 11141002

That comment was published on October 11th, however it looks like the details of the API come from an earlier time. Some of the original comments touched on how "full-capability devices allow for per-frame control of capture hardware and post-processing parameters at high frame rates." Furthermore, there was mention of them also being able to "provide output data at high resolution in uncompressed formats, in addition to compressed JPEG output."

Anyway, while the discovery has been made, it still doesn't offer any clue in terms of when this may be ready for a public rollout. That is assuming this will see a public rollout. Still, trying to think positive -- between the combination of the comments from Gundotra and the API discovery it looks like a future Android handset may have a better camera. Now we can only hope some of this comes to the Nexus 5, that way we aren't stuck waiting for the Nexus 6.

VIA: ars technica


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