It was reported last week that Google might be working on a new Android camera API that supports RAW image output. Google has now officially commented on the matter. Speaking with CNET, Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said that support for RAW and native burst mode is present right now in “Android’s latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography.” This basically means that support for these features is already built deep into the Android OS, however the company is yet to expose a developer API so that programmers can tap into the features through their own software.
RAW image output on smartphones isn’t common right now. Nokia recently updated its camera app to bring support for the format to some of its devices, RAW images have notoriously large file sizes but they appeal to serious photographers as they’re not automatically processed. Image in RAW format is untouched, so photographers can process it themselves using softwares such as Adobe Lightroom. Native Burst mode support will allow users to take multiple shots very easily. The Nexus 5 already has this feature in HDR+ mode where it basically captures multiple photos rapidly and merges them into one single HDR photo. It remains to be seen if these features will simply be activated through an update to the Android camera app or if they’ll be included in the next major Android OS update.