Nokia Imaging SDK Lets Devs Enrich Camera Apps

Nokia this week released version 1.2 of its Imaging SDK. The new developer tools, which were announced by CEO Stephen Elop at Microsoft's Build conference in San Francisco, will allow developers to add a wide range of new features to their own camera applications. The SDK applies to devices running Windows Phone 8.0 and Windows Phone 8.1. Nokia claims the SDK will let even entry-level devices run compelling and complex imaging applications thanks to optimization and low-memory requirements.

Here's a quick run-down of some of the new tools:

For starters, the SDK is compatible with all the APIs in Nokia Imaging SDKs 1.0 and 1.1. The upgrade path for developers will be seamless when they move to Imaging SDK 1.2. It is available from both managed (C# and Visual Basic) and native (C++) code. It covers both x86 and ARM hardware, and since it is derived from a single code base with no API breaks, developers will be able to reuse a lot of their code when porting.

The SDK makes it possible to only partially decode JPEGs in order to deliver previews, apply effects, or perform edits such as crop and rotate. Partial decoding saves time and system resources. The SDK offers more than 50 different filters, effects, and editing tools. For example, developers will be able to add frames, the ability to adjust brightness, colors, saturation, and hue, as well as add more complex functions such as HDR and lens blurring. Further, developers will be able to create their own, unique effects. Importantly, the API also lets developers add an "undo" feature, which lets users remove edits and save their original image.

Other functions add support for moving pictures. This means developers can add cinemagraph capture to their apps using the Animated GIF API and Image Alignment API. These help stabilize the end result. In Windows Phone 8.1 in particular, the photo sequencing mode allows users to create mini-movies quickly and easily. The APIs permit selective editing, which means users can perform changes to just a small region of an image rather than the entire thing. The Camera Helper API makes it easier to access camera functions directly. And of course developers have full control over the User Interface of their app.

Microsoft itself didn't spend too much time talking about the camera app in Windows Phone 8.1, other than to say it now has a burst mode and some usability tweaks. The Nokia Imaging SDK offers app writers the exact same set of tools Nokia uses for its Lumia smartphones. Considering the premium Nokia places on imaging capabilities, the release of this SDK is rather generous on Nokia.

The Imaging SDK, which is beta form, can be downloaded here. More details can be found here.

Be sure to read the next API article: Bellefield Launches iTimeKeep API