Google has been working on RAW support for cameras that utilise the Android operating system and it was very nearly a feature of Android 4.4 KitKat, if a report from Ars Technica is accurate.
The reports states that app developer Josh Brown happened on some notations in the source code which removed the new API, which has been in development since December 2012, from the final release of the new Android OS. It seems that the camera API wasn’t ready in time for the release of KitKat and work was ceased for the time being in the run-up to the launch of the new Android OS.
If it had been completed on time it would have consisted of “Full-capability devices [that]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.” RAW support in other words, opening the door to competing with the likes of Nokia who recently introduced the feature for its 1520 and 1020 handsets.
Other features that were planned were face detection with unique identifiers for faces, the inclusion of a burst mode and support for a removable camera.
There’s no confirmation that the new camera API is still on the way but there doesn’t seem to be any reason why it shouldn’t be. Stuff will be keeping a sharp eye out for it and the resulting improvement it should bring to Android photography.