It's a fact that the camera in Android smartphones lag behind the iPhone's camera and the ones in Nokia's high-end Lumia range of smartphones, especially Lumia 1020 and 1520, when it comes to image quality. So when we heard that Google could be working on fixing Android's camera woes, we couldn't help but pay attention.

Nokia is arguably the first company to support RAW image files in a smartphone. However, it appears Google is not too far behind, as a new report claims the company is working to bring RAW photography to Android.

According to app developer Josh Brown, a month-old batch of code could be proof that Google is working on a new camera API for Android that could allow smartphones based on the platform to store uncompressed images alongside a JPEG version.

Such a move would be similar to what Nokia has done with its high-end line of Windows Phone 8 devices such as the Lumia 1020 and the Lumia 1520. RAW photography allows for an increase in manipulation that can be done with images taken via an Android smartphone.

One aspect of the API suggests that Android might get a certain level of stock support for external and modular cameras, which could mean better support for devices like the Sony's QX10 and QX100:

An initial commit that contains documentation about Android's new camera set-up, says, "The camera device is removable and has been disconnected from the Android device, or the camera service has shut down the connection due to a higher-priority access request for the camera device." 

Other important notes to take from the documentation within the source code on Google Git:

"Full-capability devices allow for per-frame control of capture hardware and post-processing parameters at high frame rates. They also provide output data at high resolution in uncompressed formats, in addition to compressed JPEG output."

"General RAW camera sensor image format, usually representing a single-channel Bayer-mosaic image. Each pixel color sample is stored with 16 bits of precision.

"The layout of the color mosaic, the maximum and minimum encoding values of the RAW pixel data, the color space of the image, and all other needed information to interpret a RAW sensor image must be queried from the {@link android.hardware.photography.CameraDevice} which produced the image."

It is clear Google is interested in boosting Android's camera app, which would, in turn, increase the capabilities of smartphones running on the popular platform.

Nokia and Microsoft should take note and keep a close eye on what Google is trying to accomplish here, because these plans could intrude in an area where Nokia excels.

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