Since Google announced Android 5 Lollipop at Google I/O 2014, mobile photography and video enthusiasts are hoping for a sizable upgrade of their smartphone’s camera capabilities.
The historic Android Camera programming interface was designed before the very first OS release Astro and replicates the logic of a point-and-shoot camera. Except that instead of human fingers pressing buttons, apps were doing so programmatically.
This first design, while extensible in features via a liberal text key-value interface proved increasingly inefficient for the evolving needs of camera applications.
One revolution ongoing is the advent of computational photography which is often based on the capture of multiple frames. You likely heard and used one of the common applications like HDR (High Dynamic Range), superresolution, both joined, low-light mode, eraser, best face.
Android also started powering connected cameras with full-fledged variable aperture optical zooms (ex: Samsung Galaxy Camera) or large sensors seen before on DSLR-size bridges (ex: Panasonic CM1 with a 1″ sensor like Sony RX10).
While Android Camera up to KitKat was too limited, we’ve seen manufacturers extending capabilities on each generation extensively but solely via undocumented, proprietary or even obfuscated APIs, allowing access to advanced features only to their own Camera application.