What is Google’s CameraX and Why You Should Care

google camera x
No, this is not a new version of Google Camera with radical changes compared to previous versions. CameraX is actually an API. And it is not very useful to users, at least not directly. Before considering this as something that only developers should care about, you may want to know some things. This is the case if you are passionate about technology and you like to know things.

What is Google CameraX?

So first of all, what is Google Camera X? As I said, it's a new API. According to the official documentation of Android, "CameraX is a Jetpack support library, designed to help you facilitate the development of camera applications. .

Why does the CameraX API exist?

The camera API of Android has never been easier to implement for developers. Originally, this was called the Camera API, but it has subsequently been deprecated in favor of the API Camera2, of much better quality. The Camera2 API not only enabled developers to implement more features, but also aimed to provide developers with a better experience of managing camera APIs on Android.

However, it was not quite a walk in the park yet to use it. Many difficulties remained with the implementation of camera features in Android applications. This was true even for simple use cases. The new Google CameraX API aims to make the process less painful. In fact, this greatly simplifies the implementation process for minSDK 21 and later. To put things in perspective, the CameraX API allows developers to implement non-native camera features with just two lines of code.

How does this benefit the end user (you)?

You may have noticed that no other third-party camera application on your Pixel is as good as the Google Camera. Well, no other camera app is as good as Google Camera. But you may have already seen this on other phones. For example, the stock camera app on Samsung Galaxy devices. No app on the Play Store can beat it. Of course, they can still apply more filters, sophisticated stickers, but as far as the actual picture quality is concerned, the built-in camera apps are almost always superior.

This is because most manufacturers use digital photography to enhance post-processing images. Third-party developers do not have these resources or have not had them so far. The CameraX API allows developers to implement these native camera features into their applications. In addition, it also allows developers to implement features that were previously native to a specific device. For example, consider Google Pixel devices and their fantastic Night Sight mode.

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Google has made this available, as well as other features such as HDR, portrait, beauty, etc., available via the CameraX API. These are called CameraX Extensions. Interested developers can implement these features in their camera applications in the same way you would add more features to your web browser through extensions.

Which devices support it?

Just like the Camera2 API, manufacturers will need to enable support for the CameraX API. We have seen many OEMs not doing it before, like Xiaomi, but they ended up opening it. At the moment, developers can only use the CameraX API on a handful of devices.

  • Samsung (HDR, Night, Beauty, Auto): Galaxy Note 10 Series
  • Huawei (HDR, Portrait): Mate 20 Series, P30 Series, Honor Magic 2, Honor View 20

The API is still pretty much in the alpha stage. Google plans to release the final API in December, the beta is probably imminent. Once the final API is released, we can expect that manufacturers and developers will use it more. Some manufacturers are already on board, including Oppo and its sub-brand Realme.

Snapchat is a very good example of third-party application benefiting from the new CameraX API. The famous photo chat service has been recognized to offer a bad camera experience on Android devices. It could greatly benefit from the HDR mode of Google or OPPO.

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