Google has released the first developer preview of its upcoming Android P mobile operating system, and the long list of improvements includes support for a display cutout (iPhone X-style “notch”), more precise indoor navigation, and improved messaging notifications among others. However, there are also two points that should be specifically interesting to camera-minded users: HEIF-support and the ability two simultaneously access streams from two or more physical cameras.
Devices running Android P will support the same HEIC version of the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) as the latest iPhones. HEIC files are roughly half the size of JPEGs, and can include several photos as well as short videos. Android P devices will also be capable of merging image data from two or more cameras at OS-level, which kind of makes us think there could be a dual-camera equipped Pixel-phone on its way.
“You can now access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras on devices running Android P. On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. The API also lets you call a logical or fused camera stream that automatically switches between two or more cameras.”
It’s possible (read: likely) this first Developer Preview of Android P will be pretty unstable, but if you are feeling adventurous and have a spare Pixel device lying in a drawer, you can download and install the new OS version from the Android website for the Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel XL and Pixel. A full list of new features can be found here.