Kudos to Samsung, but it could also bode ill for camera support in third-party apps
Third-party camera applications on Android are complicated. Google’s Camera2 API and the CameraX Jetpack support library exist to streamline support for your phone’s camera hardware in third-party apps, but both require support from OEMs, which is not mandatory. You’d think Google’s own phones would support those standards and libraries, but it seems you can’t expect that from the company that develops and maintains the Android operating system. Instead, it looks like Samsung is beating Google at its own game.
As noted by developer Zachary Wander on Twitter, launching a CameraX info app he created reveals that all CameraX extensions, such as bokeh and HDR, are not supported on all camera sensors in Google’s newly released Pixel 6a. We spoke to him and found that he was testing this further on an older Pixel 4a, and it’s an identical story.
AP alum Max Weinbach points out on Twitter that while Google doesn’t seem to support these camera standards, Samsung does a good job. All features are listed as supported on Samsung’s cameras, in stark contrast to what can be seen on Google’s own phone or phones from other OEMs like the OnePlus 10 Pro.
We tried the app ourselves and found that even our Pixel 6 Pro, Google’s crème de la crème, is not spared this absurdity – it’s still a sea of unsupported extensions. Meanwhile, our Galaxy S22 Ultra is in formidable shape and supports all extensions across the four rear camera sensors.
In fact, if Mishaal Rahman points outGoogle’s own documentation shows that no Pixel phones properly support CameraX extensions. That Google itself is seemingly unwilling to do the work of making sure the cameras in its phones meet its own standards is no big look, and it looks like a bad omen for third-party camera app support on Android as a whole. We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this post with any new information we receive.