The Google Camera got a pretty big makeover a few years ago, and went from being part of Android to being available in the Google Play Store. This meant that Google could update the camera app through the Google Play Store, instead of pushing out an OTA - additionally the app is compatible with all Android devices, not just Nexus devices. When this new Camera API was announced with this new camera app, one of the big features was that the camera could get RAW sensor data. But it couldn't shoot in RAW, yet.
However that may be about to change. According to code found in the latest version of the Google Camera app, it appears that feature may finally rear its head soon. The code around the RAW+JPEG feature is labeled as "Experimental" so it's obvious that Google is still testing out this feature and it's not quite ready for primetime just yet. Hence the reason why the feature isn't yet available. It appears that HDR+ images would be saved as RAW in a DNG format, which would allow you to do all sorts of things in other photo editing apps. It's one feature that is going to make photographers very excited.
For those that may not know what shooting in RAW actually means, it's basically taking the picture straight from the lens. No post-processing whatsoever. And in most cases, this allows the photographer to get even better detail in their images, with the right amount of editing. You see, in post-processing, image sizes are reduced. If you've ever used a DSLR and shoot in RAW+JPEG, you'll know that RAW images are typically a whole lot larger than JPEG's are, and that's due to post-processing. Many photo editors on Android do support RAW images, including Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom. So you'll be able to edit these pictures without needing to go to your desktop.
The latest update for Google Camera - which is version 3.2.045 - is available on the Google Play Store now. Of course, we do also have the APK, which you can download and sideload to your smartphone from the link below.
Download: Google Camera v3.2.045