Taking pictures with a smartphone has become one of the most important uses for such devices. The integrated cameras have evolved through years and they now offer very good quality. Sony has always integrated cameras with a very high megapixel count in their flagship phones and while they are capable of producing nice results, there are some users who think that they could be even better if the software allowed it. The company has now released an experimental camera software for their devices on their Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
This is available for some Xperia models and the intention is that developers could create a custom ROM with basic camera functionality. The company wants developers to work with their products and create software with innovative functions while giving them the freedom to experiment. The open source camera based on Qualcomm framework lacks all of the optimizations made by Sony, it is not calibrated and it is not designed to be used in a daily basis. The list of compatible devices includes the Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z Ultra (MSM8974), Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet (MSM8974AB), Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3, Zperia Z3 Tablet Compact (MSM8974AC) and Xperia Z3+, and Xperia Z4 Tablet (MSM8994). The software is not yet available for the following devices: Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium (MSM8994) and Xperia M2, Xperia E3, and Xperia T3 (MSM8226), but the company mentioned that a new release will become available in the future.
This camera framework is recommended for experienced users only, as some lags and crashes are expected and the picture quality won't be as good as the one produced by the software in regular Xperia models. The initial release was tested using the AOSP Lollipop MR1 build guide and some functions might not be implemented just yet. For those advanced developers who would like to give it a try, they just need to go to the Open Devices Program section of Sony Mobile Developer World and build AOSP using the latest resources, as this includes the new camera software. The diagram below shows how the new implementation should look like and further questions might be discussed in the Open Device forum.