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Google confirmed to CNet that it’s working on a new software foundation for cameras on Android devices.

Fragments of code found in the publicly available Android repository have revealed that Google tried to release a new Camera application programming interface (API) on KitKat, but called it off ahead of the release. The API supports raw formats, burst mode, face detection, and removable cameras, and offers finer control over image quality.

Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano confirmed that support for raw formats and burst mode is already baked into the Android hardware abstraction layer (HAL), which is the part of the operating system that interacts with the actual hardware of the device. Google will expose the two new functions via the Camera API “in a future release”.

Scigliano emphasized the importance of burst mode:

[quote qtext=”The core concept of the new HAL and future API is centered around burst-mode photography. The basic idea is instead of taking a single shot with a given set of parameters, you instead have the power to queue up a request to take multiple shots each with different parameter settings such as exposure gain. The camera subsystem captures a the burst of shots, which can be subsequently post-processed by the application layer” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

The Nexus 5 already makes use of burst mode in the HDR+ mode, which combines several images taken in quick succession into one high-quality final image. Many Android manufacturers have already built support for burst mode into their devices independently, but the inclusion of the feature in the default camera API will make it accessible to more developers.

When CNet asked about the mediocre performance of the Nexus 5 camera, Scigliano stated that “the team is aware of the issues and is working on a software update that will be available shortly”.

We can only hope that the update will make the Nexus 5 camera as good as Google’s marketing makes it to be.

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • raj

    waiting for xdadevelopers to pull this Camera.apk, so that i can put it on my Xperia Z Ultra :D :D :D

  • Zoltan Hidegkuti

    Hurry up Google, the Nexus 5 has a far better sensor then camera SW resulting in inconsistent images.

  • Shark Bait

    I guess this will be a play services update and benifit us all!

    • raj

      dude, you read my mind

  • McHale72

    Yet no word on the MASSIVE battery drain by their freaking play store? Or how about the massive battery drain caused by Exchange Services in their mail application that has plagued this bloated OS for over a year?

    • Shark Bait

      Well every time you get an email, or hangout , or an app asks for your location it goes through play servecis, its constantly sending and receiving data and updating lots of things. Its very powerful and does more than meets the eye, that’s why it uses up so much battery

      • McHale72

        That and it’s terribly inefficient at doing it. My Windows Phone does all those things and I can go DAYS on a single charge. My Nexus 5 is dead before lunchtime with ZERO phone calls and 15 minutes of screen on time. Play Services and Exchange Services are killing the battery. Hell, this month alone Androids email program downloaded 3 gigs of SOMETHING. It wasn’t email so I’m not sure what it was. Either the Nexus 5 or KitKat or BOTH are complete piles of crap. My Nexus One had decent (at best) battery life.

        • iamtravis182

          I can get a solid day of charge on my N5. If the screen brightness is up too high, it will eat the battery quick though.

        • Ryster1

          You are a troll, go troll elsewhere!

        • Andrew Hope

          Are you really extolling the virtues of Windows Phone over Android, good luck with that! WP will never give me the freedom or software I need, besides it runs software from an evil corporation that I’ll never support. Linux on my laptop, Android on my phone…

        • Shark Bait

          Its not inefficient. Your windows phone will just do those things burred in the system somewhere. Ok i cant speak for exchange server (but thats a microsoft thing anyway so who cares). So what phone do you have that goes DAYS on a single charge? Is that because you dont use it because their are no good games?

        • solstice1221

          Coming from an HTC Titan I can vouch for the days of battery life. That’s due to the fact there were never any good apps on the store to use on it that my phone always sat unused until someone texted or called me. It was only slightly more useful than a land line. I always resorted to my iPad if I wanted to do something productive while on the go. This is not the case with my Nexus 5. I now use it more than I use my iPad. And the 2300 mAH lasts me a good day and some change before it needs charging.

        • Jason

          You are the weakest link…goodbye!

        • SSDROiD

          You know the story of how Samsung paid people to bash HTC devices in various forums on the Internet? That’s what’s happening here. If you don’t like Nexus, then switch to the Note 3, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z1, plenty of alternatives to pick from. You bought the devices that are the least consumer-friendly, and then you complain about it as if those devices represent the entire Android universe. Come back when you… errh no, just don’t come back.

        • EvenInTheDarkestHour

          Either you’ve been downloading where you shouldn’t and caught something, have your settings jacked up, have little, no reception, a bad device, or (and I hate to throw this out there) you are a troll. There is a reasonable solution to all but one of these possibilities.

  • Hudayfah

    What about the nexus4 ?

  • Llankie AiMan

    so the camera slowness will be fixed?

    • karthik339

      Yes. that is what expected

  • zamroni

    It’s called Lenses in Windows Phone.
    Will Nexus 4 also get the update?

    • Justin Rebar

      Probably not. I think we will be left in the dust.

  • Jesus

    Just me, or did the 4.4 Camera update make the camera touch menu to appear SLOWER??

  • kim kiri

    new Camera API on Nexus5

    The new API also supports face detection. This feature includes bounding boxes around faces and center coordinates for the eyes and mouth. In addition to the face-focus capabilities, the system can assign unique IDs to each face (provided they stay on screen) so developers could do things like assign silly hats to multiple faces in a video feed. While you may have seen face detection on some Android devices, those were all solutions built by Android OEMs.

    More Read :

  • About time.

  • Tomás Joaquín Poblete

    what about slow motion?