On this week’s episode, we break down how camera APIs work in Android and why third-party camera apps just can’t match the features and quality produced by the stock camera. Long story short, it’s a mess. What gives? And what’s being done about it?

We’re joined by Mohit Shetty, a developer behind Secure Camera, the camera app on GrapheneOS and available to everyone on the Play Store.

  • 01:48 – How does hardware fragmentation make camera app development on Android inherently more challenging than on iOS?
  • 03:52 – Was there anything Google could have done in the early days to make things better?
  • 08:21 – Why don’t OEMs bother with making sure third-party camera apps work the same as the stock camera app?
  • 12:27 – What are some features that OEMs can’t expose to third-party camera apps through Android’s camera API?
  • 17:20 – How does Android’s camera architecture work? What is Camera HAL 3?
  • 20:23 – How will Google Requirements Freeze (GRF) affect camera HAL versioning?
  • 24:11 – How do third-party camera apps interface with multiple cameras?
  • 29:28 – What is the Camera2 API?
  • 32:52 – What is CameraX and what can (and can’t) it do?

About the Podcast

Android Bytes (powered by Esper)

A weekly show that dives deep into the Android OS

Android Bytes (powered by Esper) is the podcast that dives deep into the engineering and business decisions behind the world’s most popular OS. 

Android powers over 3 billion devices worldwide and is the platform of choice for over a thousand companies. You’ll find Android on smartphones, tablets, watches, TV, cars, kiosks, and so much more. How does Google architect Android to run on so many form factors, and how do companies fork AOSP to make it run on even more devices? These are the kinds of questions the Android Bytes podcast considers each week.

Join cohosts Mishaal Rahman and David Ruddock, two journalists with extensive knowledge covering the Android OS platform and ecosystem, as they speak to system architects, kernel engineers, app developers, and other distinguished experts in the Android space.

Get in touch with us at Esper.io if you’re looking to use Android for your product — we have the experience you need.

Our music is “19” by HOME and is licensed under CC BY 3.0.