Smartphone users have been demanding more and more from their handsets’ cameras, and this past year we’ve seen a bunch of manufacturers make varying degrees of efforts to comply, bringing us hardware with larger sensors and optical stabilization. Last week, we saw Nokia deliver an update to support RAW camera output, bypassing any lossy compression in order to preserve as much quality as possible. Today, our attention switches over to Android, as we check out some source changes that reveal a big camera API overhaul, including its own RAW support.
The changes first showed up in the source repository about a month ago, with notes that they weren’t yet to be merged with the main tree. Sure enough, a new Android.hardware.photography class provides that higher quality RAW output when camera hardware supports it. Other changes include a face detection API that’s able to follow multiple subjects at once, and native burst mode functionality.
A few references to removable camera modules also show up in this new code. That could be related to devices like those lens cameras from Sony, or possibly some future Android handset that directly supports interchangeable camera packages.
The timing of all this suggests that the code just missed the KitKat cut-off, so there’s a good chance we could still see it pop up in the next significant Android release.