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    Third-party apps can soon use full potential of Android phone cameras

    Phone
    By 

    Last updated: January 25th, 2024 at 10:47 UTC+01:00

    Android has always been criticized for not offering the same rich experience as iOS when it comes to the quality of apps and the camera quality on third-party apps. Behind the scenes, Google and Samsung have been trying to solve those issues in their own ways. Samsung has been working with social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat to improve the camera quality inside those apps.

    Android 14's Ultra HDR feature is coming to CameraX APIs that third-party apps can use

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Camera Features Instagram Snapchat

    Now, Google is trying to bring a fundamental change in Android to let third-party apps get improved camera quality. According to Android expert Mishaal Rahman, Google is preparing to add support for Ultra HDR images to the CameraX API. This is the API that third-party apps can use when they use the camera hardware on Android smartphones and tablets. With Google's addition of Ultra HDR to CameraX, images can be saved in JPEG_R format. It allows gainmap metadata to be saved in the same image file, allowing phones to display HDR images on HDR-capable screens and SDR images on non-HDR screens.

    With this change, third-party camera apps can capture images with higher dynamic range and richer colors. This should further improve the quality of images that can be captured and displayed using third-party apps. These features will only be available on phones running Android 14, though, as Ultra HDR is only available on the latest version of Android.

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus Ultra Camera Super HDR

    Samsung is using Google's Ultra HDR format to capture Super HDR images in its stock camera app, starting with the Galaxy S24 series. The company also announced that Super HDR and other image and video processing features will also be available in third-party apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and WhatsApp. These features include full-frame image capture, HDR, EIS for video stabilization, and multi-frame noise reduction.

    This should hopefully improve the camera quality on third-party apps and bring Android closer to iPhones in terms of day-to-day user experience.

    Author's Note: While Google is adding the ability to get improved image and video quality from the camera hardware available on Android smartphones and tablets, how fast third-party apps actually end up using those features (in this case, via CameraX APIs) remains to be seen. Usually, third-party app developers use features that are added to Android only after a few years. While the adoption speed is improving, it needs to be even better.

    One way that Google can improve the adoption speed of newer Android features is by offering concessions in the fees that it collects from app developers for in-app purchases and subscriptions. They can offer lower cuts to those app and game developers that use newer Android features.

    PhoneTablet GoogleHDRUltra HDR

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