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Android 4.4 code suggest photos may eventually be stored in RAW

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday November 18, 2013.

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As I stated in my Nexus 5 review posted earlier today, cameras aren't really Google's strong suit. That doesn't mean Google is incapable of supporting good photography. In fact, a code commit for Android 4.4 suggests it may support shooting in RAW format rather than standard JPEG.

Code submissions to the Android source show that Google has been developing a new camera API designed to improve photo quality. Part of those efforts includes storing photos in uncompressed RAW format rather than JPEG. RAW is favored by many photographers because it helps reduce the amount of noise and discoloration that can occur when compressing photos to JPG format. It would seem that the smaller sensor size would matter less for a smartphone, but on Android cameras, storing files in RAW could be beneficial for better photography. It would also have the unfortunate effect of using more storage because uncompressed photos take up more space.

Ars Technica notes that the code commit containing the "Android.hardware.photography" API was removed on October 11. With Android 4.4 KitKat set to debut 20 days after that removal, Google probably had to remove the code in order to focus on refining other aspects of KitKat and didn't have time to address bugs related to the new APIs.

Other promised features include face detection and supporting removable cameras. Google had to step away from supporting the new camera API because it was not yet ready for mass consumption, but once it's implemented, some mobile photographers will have more tools to get their shots just right.

source: Google Source, via: Ars Technica

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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