We all know that the stock camera app is a bit lackluster. So does the CyanogenMod team. In true developer spirit, they’ve decided to take matters into their own hands and create their own camera app, Focal. Focal follows the same stock Android design language that we all know and love but adds features and tweaks to make it an above-and-beyond improvement over Google’s stock camera app. And just to let everyone know, Focal is indeed a part of the mysterious Nemesis project that the CM team has teased. In fact, Nemesis is the codename for a series of new features such as Focal that will be rolling out over the coming weeks and months.
Focal uses a new configuration with the camera set-up that fits into the stock Android look and feel, but is actually something entirely new. The shutter button now doubles as a quick toggle menu to select between camera modes. To do this, simply swipe your thumb out from the shutter button for a crescent of options including panorama, front-facing camera and even access to CyanogenMod’s answer to Photosphere, PicSphere.
To change all of your other settings, simply swipe in from the left side of the screen while you’re in portrait or from the bottom when shooting in landscape. Here you can access pretty much anything else you could want–everything from HDR to the maximum number taken during a burst shot. It’s a useful set-up that should work well for people, and it certainly outguns the annoying circle set-up in the stock Android app. If you want manually focus the shot, drag and drop the focus point. Again, an infinitely better solution than what Google offers.
Now for more details on PicSphere. PicSphere is the CM team’s response to Google’s proprietary Photosphere. It’s a completely open source version of Photosphere that will allow virtually anyone running CM10.1.1 to take Photosperes (aka PicSpheres). Other features include, but aren’t limited to, taking pictures while recording video, burst mode, zero shutter lag on supported phones and an improved HDR system.
One of the biggest features of Focal is that it’s open source and extremely flexible. In the future, it can hopefully keep up with what manufacturers are offering. Additional features can easily be worked into the app for phones that support them.
Focal is a huge improvement over what CyanogenMod currently offers in terms of the camera. And for that matter, what Google offers. We’ve seen features from popular ROMs get pushed into stock Android before, and here’s to hoping that this is one of those features. Google desperately needs it.
What are your thoughts on Focal?