Google Confirms that they Are Working on a New Camera API to Support Raw Image Formats and Burst Mode

November 25, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

It looks like Google is indeed working on the camera for Android. Google has actually built deep into the OS, some support for two higher-end photography features. This includes raw image formats and burst mode. Now this might sound familiar, that’s because last week the guys over at Ars Technica found an API that was in KitKat that was basically hidden because it wasn’t done or ready for release.

But now CNET has gotten word from Google spokeswoman Gina Scilgliano that the support is now present in Android’s hardware abstraction layer (HAL), which is the part of the OS that handles communications with a mobile device’s actual hardware. “Android’s latest camera HAL and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography,” according Scigliano. “We will expose a developer API in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality.”

What’s so special about an API? Well that means developers could use the abilities in their own apps. Google already uses burst mode on the Nexus 5’s HDR+ mode, capturing multiple photos in rapid succession and merging them into a single high-dynamic range photo.

We’ve complained for at least a couple of years now about how the Nexus’ camera really isn’t all that good. And we’ve pretty much chalked it up to the software. Because the Nexus 5 has the same sensor, although smaller, as the G2. The LG G2 takes amazing pictures, and the Nexus 5 just takes good pictures. Also, we’ve noticed when installing AOSP-based custom ROMs on devices that have great camera’s, the camera then takes really crappy photos. Which has led us to believe that it’s the software. And hopefully Google can fix this with this new API that they are working on. We’ve seen some phones like the iPhone 5S, Lumia 1020 and even Android’s own LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have some amazing cameras. I just wish the camera on my $350 Nexus 5 took great pictures like that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a terrible camera, but it could be better.