Google updating stock Android Camera API

Jordan O'Brien
November 19, 2013

The launch of the Nexus 5 excited us when we thought that it would bring a whole new focus on the smartphone camera, something to take on the Lumia 1020s and Xperia Z1s of the world, unfortunately it turned out not to be the case – with Google failing to update even the basic stuff. There was a silver lining from Google’s very own Vic Gundotra though almost nine months ago, with the Googler stating that “we are committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras. Just you wait and see.”

That promise wasn’t fulfilled with the launch of the Nexus 5, but some new camera APIs may be the start of this great improvement, with public Android source code revealing that the new APIs were being worked on from back in December 2012. Whilst the APIs were initially scheduled for Android 4.4 KitKat, it seems that it was pulled from the release for some unknown reason – likely because it was during the “feature freeze” time, where employees are pulled from working on new features to fix any bugs for release.

The new APIs that were scheduled for release included some pretty cool abilities, including support for the RAW sensor image format, which was recently added to Nokia’s own Camera app for Windows Phone. There was also set to be a burst mode, and even support for a removable camera – which we have no idea what it will entail (maybe something like Sony’s QX100?)

Google is also likely to be trying hard to improve the image quality through algorithms, which should hopefully bring the Nexus line up to par with the likes of the iPhone 5s.

About the Author

Jordan O'Brien

Technology Journalist with an unhealthy obsession with trains and American TV. Attempts satire far too often. (+44) 020 7324 3502

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