Google is working on new Android camera API with RAW output and face detection
The information about this new camera interface comes from a commit dated October 11th, directing to hide the new API just around a month before the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat.
Google reasoned that the API is not yet ready, even though it seems that the initial plan was to bundle this with the KitKat release. The real scoop however hides in even earlier commits describing Google’s plans for the new Android camera API. A new API class "Android.hardware.photography" appears and in it are interesting descriptions: support for RAW files output, face detection and burst mode are all mentioned and if implemented right would be welcome additions.
RAW image file formats are well known to professional photographers. Unlike most smartphones nowaday that save images in compressed formats like JPEG, RAW output gives the full uncompressed image information resulting in a much larger file size, but also a file that allows much more headroom for post-processing.
The new face detection algorithms are also neat and will square people’s heads as well as give coordinates for the eyes and the mouth. Additionally, the system will also give each face a unique ID. We've earlier seen manufacturers like Samsung and HTC build face detection right in, but this will be a first-party Google solution and it seems to go to even greater lengths. Also, there will be a separate burst mode. Currently, you can only quickly press the capture button on the Android camera, but there is no single button that would fire a quick burst of shots.
This is not everything, though. Strangely, Google also lists support for a “removable camera.” We have already seen standalone camera accessories like the Sony QX10 for instance, but this could well turn out to be a strange wording for a camera accessory that you can pair and unpair, or remove. Or could this be a reference to a real removable camera component like the one envisioned by the now Motorola-backed Project ARA? We don’t know for sure just yet.
The new API is back-compatible with earlier devices and since work on it has allegedly started as early as December 2012 (with the initial plans for the software to get released in KitKat), we could expect to see it in the not so distant future.
source: Ars Technica, Josh Brown, Android Google Source