Google reworks Android's camera API, confirms Raw imaging
Google has confirmed that Android phones will be able to take Raw photos in the future. Google has given its camera API a complete makeover in an attempt to make app development easier for programmers. When the new API rolls out, it will allow apps to take photos in Raw as well as capture in a burst mode.
"Android's latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography," Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano told CNET. "We will expose a developer API [application programming interface] in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality."
As we've seen with Nokia's DNG files, RAW photography helps fix some of the flaws common in smartphone photos. Digital noise can be reduced, white balance can be corrected and small adjustments can be made to fix exposure issues. Android's new burst mode can be beneficial for action shots, but it can also be used for HDR photography like the Nexus 5's HDR+ feature.
Google details Android's new camera API here. While it may read like nonsense to non-programmers, there are still a few details to get excited about. A simpler API may prove enticing for programmers and the new API also gives easy access to a lot more camera features.
From the HAL overview:
Further, this simplified view makes it easier for application developers to use the camera's various functions. [...] This includes: resolution and pixel format; manual sensor, lens and flash control; 3A operating modes; RAW->YUV processing control; statistics generation; and so on.
Google is not ready to give a release date for the software, but it promises that the new API will ship "in a future release." Hopefully in the next candy-themed Android update, we will get some Raw sweetness.