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Meet Focal the new Camera app for CyanogenMod

first_imgAs cameras and camera software becomes an increasingly important part of our mobile experience, a great photography experience on your smartphone can make all the difference. The CyanogenMod project has decided to take smartphone photography a lot more seriously with the release of Focal, an all new camera app for CM users everywhere.Using the stock camera app is something of a lackluster experience when you compare it to some of the things being done by HTC, Samsung, and LG right now. When we took a look at the Google Play edition variants of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, the camera experience was one of the places that really felt lacking. As a result, you have Android ROMs made from the Android Open Source Project, like CyanogenMod, that offer an amazing Android experience right until you load the camera app.In order to keep up with the next wave of features that users expect from their smartphones today, the CyanogenMod project is going to be releasing a series of big changes to their user experience under the codename Nemesis. The first phase of Nemesis is the camera, which will now exist in a new app called Focal.From the ground up, Focal is an entirely new camera app. The Widgets based UI pulls from modern Android elements found all over the OS. The main settings menu exists as a left hand fly-in that you bring in with your thumb, while the camera button expands out as though you are going to launch Google Now to offer bit toggles for the front facing camera, panorama mode, and a few other features. The focus point on the viewfinder can be dragged to wherever you want to manually focus on, or you can just tap anywhere on the screen. It’s a flexible UI that looks amazing when compared to the current vanilla camera app, and it is significantly more powerful than the existing CM camera.Rather than pulling from Google’s proprietary and closed source photosphere, which is only available on Nexus devices Google has put it on, the CyanogenMod team built their own. PicSphere is a completely open source photosphere alternative with a UI that is familiar to anyone who is a fan of these kinds of pictures.Some other features that have been implemented in this app include a burst mode that allows you to hold down the camera button and take multiple shots in quick succession, photos while recording video, and an improved HDR mode. These features are available even on phones that don’t normally have these features.Under the hood, Focal is designed to allow individual device maintainers the ability to tweak and add features that suit their hardware. For example, phones that offer zero shutter lag will also have that feature in Focal as long as the device maintainer enables the feature when building for that phone. As more advanced phones are released with unique hardware features, the theory is the modular nature of Focal will make it easy for maintainers to take advantage of that hardware and make sure that their camera app is always just as powerful as the OEM made camera app.This is an ambitious first step for the CyanogenMod team, and a great indicator of what the rest of the Nemesis updates will be like moving forward. Focal will be available in unfinished Nightly release form starting next week, with stable builds of the app ready for each supported phone at some point in the not so distant future. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY FocalMenuFocalMenuFocalPreviewFocalTogglelast_img

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