Google to add RAW camera support to stock Android handsets

Google looks set to add RAW camera support to stock Android handsets such as the Google Nexus 5, newly emerged sections of code have revealed.

With RAW camera file support usually reserved for dedicated cameras and DSLRs, flagship Android handsets could be on the verge of introducing the high-capacity image format, with a section of Google code showing the introduction has been in the works for some while.

The section of Android code, which has surfaced via ArsTechnica shows Google has been planning on introducing the RAW image format since December 2012.

Although the RAW support was originally intended to make an appearance in the new Android 4.4 KitKat OS, the API shows that back in October the addition was pulled, with the section of code being tagged as “not yet ready.”

It’s not the only camera addition lined up for a future Android appearance, either. The leaked code shows that Google is also looking to bring face tracking snappers and burst mode shooting to its stock operating system in future software updates.

Last month Nokia became the first smartphone provider to offer RAW camera support for its flagship phones, with the 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 camera and 20-megapixel snapper aboard the new Nokia Lumia 1520 both adding the professional standard file type.

“There have been requests for a long time from professionals and amateurs asking for RAW file support. This is something that has not been available in any smartphone before,” Samuli Hänninen, Vice President of Software Program Management for Nokia’s Smart Devices business stated in unveiling the company’s RAW plans at Nokia World last month.

He added: “RAW means that you can capture the pure sensor data and process it the way you would like it to be processed. This is the standard in many professional DSLRs and now we are bringing it to smartphone.”

He went on to add: “We are really proud of our cameras and RAW will make them even better. It will hugely improve the flexibility and the creative potential of users.”

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