Stock Android camera app - options

Is the stock Android camera app about to become a lot more intelligent?

A new feature could be heading to the stock Android camera app, which would make taking that perfect photo just a little bit easier. It seems that Google is working on an intelligent burst mode, which would be able to rapidly take a series of shots, before automatically choosing the best.

The feature has been provisionally labelled Smart Burst, and was discovered by Android Police in an excellent teardown of the stock camera app, v2.5. Smart Burst appears to be in the early stages of development, and although a lot could change, the feature looks like it has a lot of potential.

As the cost of storage becomes cheaper, it makes increasing sense to take photos via a burst mode (when using a device with a microSD expansion slot, at least). Doing so provides a little bit of extra margin for error, so one bad shot should not result in a precious moment being lost forever.

In addition to requiring more storage space, the other traditional disadvantage of shooting in burst mode is being left with numerous near-identical shots. These require a lot of extra time to sort through – a process that is not always especially enthralling – which can take the fun and convenience out of smartphone photography.

If Android’s stock camera app was able to automatically select the best photo from a series of images, one of the major disadvantages of burst mode shooting would be eliminated.

Algorithms to detect factors such as focus and camera shake could ensure that only the clearest and sharpest images are selected. Issues such as composition could even be addressed using algorithms designed to detect the subject and apply guidelines such as the rule of thirds.

This concept is neither merely theoretical nor even a particularly revolutionary idea. A number of Android smartphone manufacturers already offer similar functionality through their own camera apps.

Third-party Android camera apps such as Camera ZOOM FX and A Better Camera are also able to automatically select the best shot from a series of images.

In the case of Smart Burst, it would appear that the developers may be focussing their efforts around extracting an image from a short video, rather than choosing from a selection of individual photos.

Given that there has been no official announcement of Smart Burst, and the feature appears some way from being ready for public testing, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding its discovery.

It may be that Smart Burst never progresses beyond these apparently early stages of development, and if it is released, it could look very different from the current implementation.

Nonetheless, given that the stock Android camera app has focussed on simplicity and is sparse in terms of features, the prospect of Smart Burst is an interesting development.

Smart Burst is the type of feature that could be simple to use, yet extend the whole smartphone camera experience. This would be particularly true when taking photos in challenging circumstances, such as a low-light environments.

There would be less emphasis on trying to set up the perfect shot thanks to the insurance of multiple images being recorded.

[via Android Police]