OnePlus Invites User Opinion on Camera Blob Release on OnePlus 3
The OnePlus 3 is an almost perfect fit to fill in the void created by the lack of a Nexus release this year. You get stellar hardware at affordable price range, and an experience that does justice to this hardware. OnePlus had also released the kernel source code and device tree for the OnePlus 3 (and OnePlus 3T as well) early on, so the enthusiast community had the opportunity to really dig in.
Our forums are testimony to the love that the developer community has extended on to the OnePlus 3. With a wide variety of custom ROMs with different bases (CM, AOSP, OxygenOS and even MIUI) to choose from, the OnePlus 3 is currently the flashaholic’s device with good reason.
Even after all the developer friendliness that OnePlus has recently shown to the community by fulfilling their obligations and more, they still showed interest in going on ahead. The company promised to look into improving camera performance on non-OxygenOS ROMs, and we kept inquiring about it a few times after their promise. This is what Carl had to say on the issue, from our last interview:
Mario: Do you guys have any plans on helping with the development of the camera software for Custom ROMs?
Carl: We want to, and we’ve been talking about internally. So there’s a challenge with the camera because if we want a blob, then there are two major challenges. The first one being, the code relating to the camera is on a lot of layers, so you have something related to the camera on the framework level, something on the Android level, something on a system level. So we’re gonna have to rewrite a lot of code to be able to separate it in a way that allows us to blob it. And the second reason is, if we were to blob it the result is that the speed will suffer, so the speed of the camera UX on custom ROMs will suffer. We’re still trying to figure out a way of how we can release something that will help people improve the camera in their custom ROMs without making the experience become too bad. And we don’t want something with our logo to have a poor experience either. So it is going to be a little bit harder than we thought, but we’ve been discussing this.
In a forum post at the OnePlus forums, Bradon from the OnePlus Community team has given an update to the current camera situation.
Bradon mentions that discussions are still ongoing internally on how to best manage the release. The issue at hand is that camera code is something that OEMs need to spend a lot of time and effort to develop and fine-tune, effectively making it intellectual property. The various stakeholder involved in a company would definitely not be happy if OnePlus openly distributed its IP, as that would lead to OnePlus losing its edge against all competitors, big or small, as far as the camera performance is concerned.
But at the same time, lack of camera code has led to below-average camera performance on custom ROMs. ROMs are amongst one of the main draws on the OnePlus 3 right now, so a handicap like this presents a virtual roadblock in getting the best performance out of your device.
OnePlus was contemplating releasing camera blobs instead of code directly. This would allow ROM developers to directly insert the custom software into their ROMs without directly being privy to the code intricacies. While camera quality would improve for photos and videos to come at par with the OxygenOS experience, the overall camera experience would become slower than that of OxygenOS (which could have indirect implications for the Oxygen branding).
OnePlus is unhappy about this trade-off and how this would affect user experience on the device. But they are open to discussion, so the company has posed the following questions:
Would you be interested in camera blobs given these tradeoffs? Are there any alternative solutions that might make sense for you?
If you would like to chime in the discussion and share your thoughts, head on over to the OnePlus forum thread. Make yourself heard!