One of the weakest parts of Android devices has historically been the camera – often both hardware and software, but especially the software. The stock camera app in Google’s OS has been almost universally derided, both for its oversimplistic nature and inability to execute some common tasks.
Despite many enthusiasts complaining about manufacturers overlaying base Android with their own software and skins, the camera app is one area where the skins generally offer improvement.
Ars has taken a look at leaks found in recent Android code commits made prior to the release of 4.4 KitKat.
The codebase shows a move toward a new imaging API class called android.hardware.photography – an interesting change from the current android.hardware.camera.
From the code:
Full-capability devices allow for per-frame control of capture hardware and post-processing parameters at high frame rates. They also provide output data at high resolution in uncompressed formats, in addition to compressed JPEG output.
That uncompressed formats reference means that Android software – whether the (currently mediocre) native application or in developers’ third party apps – will soon get access to an uncompressed sensor feed. Even on poor to medium cameras, that’s likely to mean an upgrade in imaging quality.
On Android phones with excellent cameras, well, we might see them start to really shine.
It’s a nice direction for Google to take; their updates to Google+ and acquisitions of Nik software show that the company is serious about upping their imaging cred, making this just one more step to getting great image quality from your Android device.