The Google logo at Google headquarters in Mountain View.
The Google logo is shown during a news conference at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California January 5, 2010.Reuters

Google has confirmed that it is currently working on a new software for cameras on Android devices.

Based on some fragments of code found in the publically available repository, it has been revealed that the firm tried to release its new Camera application programming interface (API) on the latest Android 4.4 Kitkat OS but called it off just ahead of its release.

The new camera API is said to support raw formats, burst mode, face detection, removable cameras and offers better control over the image quality.

Gina Scigliano, a Google spokesperson, confirmed that the support for raw formats and burst mode is already baked into the Android hardware abstraction layer (HAL), which is a part of the operating system. But these two functions will be exposed via the Camera API when released.

Scigliano revealed some extra details on the burst mode. "The core concept of the new HAL and future API is centred 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 burst of shots, which can be subsequently post-processed by the application layer," she told Android Authority.

Nexus 5, already uses the burst mode in the HDR+ mode, which combines several images into one high-quality final image.

Scigliano also mentioned that they are working on a software update for their average-performance camera in Nexus 5. "the team is aware of the issues and is working on a software update that will be available shortly," she stated.

Android 4.4 Kikat was First Tested on Nexus 4

Meanwhile, it has been also revealed that the latest iteration of Android OS, Android 4.4 Kitkat, was born on Nexus 4 device before it came out with Nexus 5.

Dave Burke, Google's head of engineering, shared an untold story regarding the Android 4.4 Kitkat Project Svelte, the feature responsible for making the latest OS run on older hardware.

"The goal of Project Svelte was basically to reduce the memory footprint to fit into 512 megs. The way we did it, by the way-which we didn't talk about-was to take a Nexus 4 and adapt it to run at 512 megs," he stated in an interview.

"We adapted the resolution to qHD that is 960-by-540 because that is kind of the sweet spot for entry level smartphones. We reduced it from four CPUs to two CPUs. We reduced the clock frequency and what not. And literally a bunch of us just used that as our default phone. It was painful, and it was broken to start with."

He also mentioned the objectives Google had in mind once the special nexus 4 handset was created:

  • Reduce the footprint of the system.
  • Reduce the footprint (memory usage) of the apps that run on a Google Experience (Nexus) device.
  • Fix how apps react and crash during bad memory situations.
  • Provide better measurement and instrumentation of how apps are running in Android so developers can see how memory-conscious their apps are.

The company further removed Google apps from the OS making them stand-alone apps.

The last two objectives were achieved by creating ProcStats, a RAM usage score to monitor the RAM usage by the applications.

However, several complaints have been made by the Nexus 4 users after the Android 4.4 Kikat OS update, which Google is yet to address. The details can be seen here.

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