The launch of Cyanogen Mod Inc took most in the Android world a little by surprise, there’s been some back and forth with developers and one consequences of the Mod going ‘mainstream’ is that the developers behind the AOSP Camera replacement – Focal – have decided to remove the app from Cyanogen Mod and have now released it to Google Play.

Guillaume Lesniak, the developer behind Focal, took to Google+ yesterday and expounded some of the goings on behind the launch of Cyanogen Mod Inc. He describes some hesitation behind the decision by the CM project leads to re-license Focal as a non-General Public License(GPL) app which would give them options to add some vendor specific hardware features as CM Inc went forward and was adopted by Hardware vendors.

After a bit of back and forth behind the scenes, the decision was made to pull the app from Cyanogen Mod and it’s now available in Google Play. It’s named as Focal (Beta) indicating that it’s still a work in progress – as evidenced by the feature list in the Apps Play store description :

  • A photo and video mode, supporting many features (burst mode, timer mode, scene mode, shutter speed on Sony devices, …).
  • A panorama mode, currently semi-broken.
  • A PicSphere mode, open-source replacement of Google’s PhotoSphere, to do 360° sphere shots.
  • A review drawer, by sliding from the top of the screen (in portrait). It shows your latest pictures.

The app itself is actually quite good and extremely usable – tested on my Nexus 4 only at this stage – with further work on the app being promised. Focal is fully Open Source, with the full source available under GPL from GitHub, where updates and commits are welcome. As laid out in the description the Guillaume asks if you have issues, instead of giving the app a 1-star rating, raise the issue with him on Twitter or better yet fix it, if you’re a developer.

The reasons behind the removal of Focal from CM are actually quite interesting and I encourage anyone at all interested to head over to Guillaumes Google+ page and read his entire post. It seems the transition to an incorporated company is not sitting well with all the developers who’ve contributed to Cyanogen Mod over the years for free and are now seeing their work monetised with no recompense offered.

Either way, the camera app is the focus here and quite frankly if Google were to pick this app up and work to fix the bugs and include it in Android as the default Camera App, I wouldn’t be seen to argue at all.

What do you think of the Focal (Beta) Camera App?

Source(s): Focal - Google Play, and Guillaume Lesniak
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  • GingerNutter

    Crashes on my SGS4. Really couldn’t see any advantages to it over the stock camera app anyway.

  • Nick Fletcher

    Google pick the camera up? Wouldn’t that just be the same as when Cyanogen mod tried to pick it up? I can’t see that happening.

  • homebrandcola

    Was compatible with my Razr M when I had the CM XT907 ROM installed. Not now I back on XT905 ROM, would have really liked to try it, I don’t like the stock camera app on the Razr M. Currently using Camera FX – I do like how different ROMs on a single phone hang around in Google Play for ages.

  • Carsten Bauer

    Isn’t compatible with SGS3 :(

  • joelcocks

    Could cyanogen possibly be the next 3DFX.

    I was going to try cyanogenmod on my nexus…but not after the way they’e treated people. Nope. Not for me. I don’t support people the try to rip off other peoples’ work

    • Matthew

      There are a lot of people saying similar things to this, and to be honest such speculation and bellyaching is very much premature. We have no idea what Cyanogen Inc. is planning with respect to monetisation of CyanogenMod, or even if they’re planning on monetising CM itself at all. If they’re smart they’ll split CM into a standalone project while developing the service-style offerings that they’re clearly already pursuing as part of the business.

      I agree with xplodwild’s assessment of the licensing garbage, and the Cyanogen Inc. team should never have sought to make any changes to the licensing of any part of the base product, because that does make it look like a cash grab on the back of other developers’ hard work. That said, the public doesn’t really know the full story, and until the situation develops further it’s a bit silly to be running around proclaiming a ‘CyanogenMod boycott’ based entirely on what little we do know.