Android L, the upcoming next big update for the Android operating system, will allow users to take and process professional-looking pictures using mobile devices.
Google will be launching the new Camera 2 application programming interface in what will be the fifth major version of Android, with features that will be devoted to professional photography.
The new Camera 2 API will unleash the capabilities of a device's camera, making it limited only by the hardware. Previously, device manufacturers can limit the capabilities of the camera. Google will look to bypass this limitation with this new API, providing a drastic increase in the performance of Android cameras.
With the performance improvements brought by the Camera 2 API, the Burst mode function will be easier to develop and use. HDR + will also be unlocked.
The new API will have native support for RAW files, specifically DNG. This means that there will be no need to hack or tweak an Android device to obtain RAW images taken with the device's camera. Android devices in the future will be able to save RAW images just as if they were JPEG images, delivering full resolution pictures as fast as how the camera's hardware can capture the picture through a fully synchronized pipeline model.
Lastly, Android L's Camera 2 API will unlock full manual control of Android device cameras. Previously, manual controls on cameras can only be accessed by making changes to the operating system and existing APIs. However, by unlocking manual camera control with the API, Google will be able to provide users with a complete manual camera experience on their Android device.
The manual camera controls that the Camera 2 API will unlock are exposure, exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, manual focus / auto focus trigger, flash trigger, auto exposure / auto focus/ auto white balance mode, auto exposure / auto white balance lock, precapture auto-exposure, hardware-enabled video stabilization, metering regions, tonemap curve, color correction matrix and frame duration.
This major photography update for Android will most likely spawn several new apps geared for photography. Additionally, with camera manufacturers such as Samsung and Nikon already starting to integrate the Android operating system in certain camera models, it looks like photography will be another major part of the future of Android and its devices.
For developers that wish to take a look at the new features, samples for photo and video capture apps, entitled Camera2Basic and Camera2Video, can be seen at the new preview software developer kit for the Android L.