Nexus 5X camera app upside down? Google recommends notifying Android developers still using old API


At $380, the Nexus 5X is Google’s more affordable smartphone entry for 2015. Despite lower pricing, the Nexus 5X actually features the same 12.3MP camera as the higher-end Nexus 6P with one key difference: the camera module actually rests in a different orientation. It’s this unconventional placement that’s causing some 3rd party apps to display a flipped image when looking at the viewfinder.

Before you blame the phone’s hardware, apparently this has more to do with app developers lagging on updating their apps with Google’s latest imaging APIs. Google’s Eino-Ville Talvala — tech lead for Android’s camera framework — says in a post on Reddit:

“Image sensors on a compliant Android device can be mounted in one of two ways. Most devices use one way, so a lot of camera apps have never been tested on devices that pick the other way.

Unfortunately, our old camera API (which is deprecated, but most apps still use it) isn’t terribly user-friendly, and requires application developers to explicitly set the preview rotation. On most devices, though, it turns out the default rotation is correct for a forced-landscape app, so many apps never call the display orientation method.

The new camera2 API handles the rotation automatically for developers, but until they move to the new API, apps need to use the boilerplate we have in the developer docs to check the sensor and UI orientation, and apply the right rotation.”

So there you have it. No, we don’t have another “#gate” on our hands. In fact, most bigger name apps in the Play Store should all be working fine. It’s those older apps that haven’t been updated to Google’s latest camera API could give you some trouble.

Should you run into one of these apps, Talvala recommends dropping the developer and friendly email so that they might update to the latest APIs. And don’t think Google isn’t doing their part. Talvala also mentions that Android’s developer relations team is hunting down broken camera apps with LG helping out as well.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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