The camera on the Nexus 5 leaves something to be desired. Sure, it’s better than the camera on the Nexus 4, but it’s that doesn’t exactly say a whole lot. Suffice to say, the Nexus cameras don’t have a stellar reputation. The good news is that Google knows that. In fact, it looks like Android developers may well have been working to include a new camera API in Android 4.4 but didn’t quite get finished in time.
Ars Technica points to commits in the public Android source code that suggest work started on this new API almost a year ago, in December of 2012. The API was pulled from Android 4.4’s framework code approximately before KitKat was released. A commit from the release code states that it was pulled because it wasn’t ready yet.
This new API, dubbed “Android.hardware.photography,” packs in support for viewing and saving images in RAW, which Android isn’t currently capable of doing (instead your images are stored as compressed JPEGs). There’s also support for a removable camera (perhaps a nod towards Motorola’s modular Project Ara), burst mode, and face detection.