Android 4.4 KitKat secret camera features revealed

Advanced Android camera apps are on the cards as Google reveals raw shooting and burst mode are already secretly built into Android.

More sophisticated Android camera apps are on the cards as Google reveals raw shooting and burst mode are already secretly built into Android, just waiting to be exposed.

Exposed, geddit? Never mind. Anyway, the two new high-end features will allow photographers to take more control of their images with the extra flexibility for touching up that raw image formats allow, while burst mode will let you capture fast-moving action in a sequence of pictures.

Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano explains to CNET that raw and burst shooting are now included in Android's hardware abstraction layer (the ominously-named HAL), which is the part of the software that talks to the phone's actual hardware.

The code is already there in Android, and the plan is to release a developer API in the future that will allow developers to tap into the new features.

The Google Nexus 5, Android's most cutting-edge phone showing off the very latest software, makes use of burst mode -- but not to take a sequence of shots in quick succession, as you might expect from the name. Instead, the quick burst of shots capture different levels of exposure and are combined into one picture with high dynamic range.

The Nexus 5's camera, while decent enough, is one of the few disappointments with the new phone. In the age of the selfie (shudder) camera phones are becoming more important. Nokia is the manufacturer taking cameras most seriously, with the new Nokia Lumia 1020 shooting raw images.

Is it about time Android cameras took a new step? Will camera phones ever replace compact cameras? Tell me your raw thoughts in the comments, or expose yourself on our Facebook page.

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