Google shoots for better portraits with upcoming Android update

Camera update will come independent of KitKat too

While Google holds the advantage in the smartphone arena where flexibility is concerned, Android cameras often have a poor rep next to Nokia's Lumia series and Apple's iPhone. It's the one aspect of the Google Nexus 5's performance we aren't utterly taken with.

But the big G is certainly trying. A hefty camera update is in the works, and it brings some cool new tricks.

Engadget says Google is currently testing a new camera app with a new UI, as well as some nifty effects including better panorama shots and background-blurring. There'll also be tweaks to the viewfinder, so that 100% of the frame is in shot, preventing any unwanted items sneaking in from the sides.

An exciting development is that Google might even open up support for third-party filters and some tweaks to portrait mode, including a lens-blur effect.

Better photos for all, via Google Play

What's interesting is that instead of just releasing the camera tweaks with the next Android 4.4.3 update, Google's releasing the camera tweaks separately on Google Play. This is good news, as it gives some hope to non Google-stock phones (such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8)) that they could also enjoy a better Android picture-taking experience. Many Android models aren't even on Kit Kat yet, after all.

The coming update will also see burst mode shooting, face detection and RAW capture, which means every bit of data captured by the camera's image sensor will be stored. The latter feature isn't something you'll find on any smartphone outside of Nokia's excellent Lumia PureView handsets, so it sure will be interesting. But seeing how large RAW images are (30MB files are pretty standard), it's doubtful people are going to start utilise the format that much on their smartphones. Still - we'd certainly take an Android phone with a PureView camera, and software tweaks like this could pave the way for just such a hybrid.

For a refresher on how KitKat performs, check out our KitKat review.

[Source: Engadget]

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