It has been brought to our attention that the good people over at Android are possibly developing a totally new Android camera application programming interface (API). This API is touted to deliver support for uncompressed RAW image output, not to mention a slew of additional features that will definitely come in handy such as face detection. These details hail from a commit that was dated October 11th, where it was directed to keep the new API away, unleashing it only after Android 4.4 KitKat rolls out to the masses.
If you’re not familiar with RAW, it’s an image format that is essentially “what the sensor sees”, without any processing such as exposure and other image filters that are used to obtain the final photo that is saved as a .jpg file. Up until now, camera apps could generally not get their hands on this data because there was no interface (API) to do so. If apps were able to access RAW data, they could perform a range of image enhancements that were not available before, such as single-shot HDR photos, like the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 does.
Google must have weighed the various reasons in the situation, arriving at the conclusion that the API is not quite yet ready for a prime time release. This new API class “Android.hardware.photography” will also be able to support burst mode, which would be a more than welcome addition apart from the previously mentioned uncompressed RAW image output and face detection capability.
RAW image data and file formats are more often than not the domain of professional photographers, as this file format paves the way for additional post-processing options unlike the JPEG format. Time to sit back and wait, watching just which smartphone manufacturer will offer a device with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat version alongside the new camera API thrown into the mix. And since RAW files are uncompressed, maybe it’s time to get that 64GB microSD card…