According to some recent discoveries in Android’s open source code, Google is working on a new camera API for Android. Hip hip hooray! The code first discovered by Josh Brown and reported via Ars Technica on Google+ looks to originate as far back as December of last year which would make it appear that KitKat was a viable target for launch.

As recently as October 11th the new commit code didn’t make it into the software as it was listed as “not yet ready” and “DO NOT MERGE: Hide new camera API.” The October 11th date falls within KitKat’s “feature freeze” time where work stops on new features and attention turns to bug fixes prior to release. As we can tell from the official KitKat release, the new API was replaced with the original API which you see on KitKat devices today. There is still some good stuff to learn from the new API’s including some enhanced capabilities:

  • 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.
  • General RAW camera sensor image format, usually representing a single-channel Bayer-mosaic image. Each pixel color sample is stored with 16 bits of precision.
  • The layout of the color mosaic, the maximum and minimum encoding values of the RAW pixel data, the color space of the image, and all other needed information to interpret a RAW sensor image must be queried from the {@link} which produced the image.

The good news for RAW photography lovers is the wider spread of options that can be used with photos in apps like Photoshop. As Google continues to boost the capabilities of its photo editor with Google+, there is plenty that can be done with the addition of RAW photo support.

Regardless of when this arrives, and we certainly hope it’s sooner rather than later, there is plenty of opportunities here for Google to improve the camera function in Android and this seems like a great start.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author