CyanogenMod Focal is CM's own full-featured camera app

The hype is over. Thirty-one seconds of slick video and a million guesses later, and we now know what CyanogenMod's "Nemesis" project was all about. Meet "Focal," the open-source CyanogenMod project's own camera app.

This actually is kind of a big deal given that camera apps are traditionally closed-source due to licensing reasons. And, in fact, it was only in March 2013 when DxO Labs filed DMCA violations with GitHub against a number of custom ROMs — including CyanogenMod — for allegedly using its code unlicensed.

And now there's CyanogenMod Focal.

Focal's a pretty simple camera app to get a handle on, even in its unreleased early builds.  Drag out from the shutter button get change between the five major modes. They include:

  • Photo: For taking normal still pictures
  • Panorama: You know what that is.
  • Video: You know what that is, too.
  • PicSphere: CM's take on Google's Photosphere and LG's VR Panorama. It's got the same idea — you spin around and take pictures, only this one requires you to manually hit the shutter button for each frame. Dots are laid out to guide you through the full 360 degrees.
  • And finally: A button to switch from the rear camera to the front-facing camera. For selfies. Because you love selfies.

But what about all those options down on the bottom of the screen? You slide out from that edge — this works in portrait and landscape modes — to get to all the icons. They're being referred to as widgets, and they work in much the same way, too. Touch one, and it expands on the screen and can be dragged around and reordered however you want. 

From left, the widgets are:

  • Flash mode
  • White balance
  • Scene mode
  • HDR
  • Color effects — filters, really
  • Exposure compensation
  • Color enhancements
  • ISO sensitivity
  • Burst mode
  • Time mode
  • Settings

You tap a widget to expand it. It'll float there on the screen, until you tap the icon again to hide it. When there's more than one widget open, you can drag them around to reorder them. The idea is that you leave what you use most often on the screen. (In the settings menu there's a list where you can uncheck widgets you don't use and hide them from the display.)

A few fun items in the widgets, as they stand as of this build: 

  • The flash options include always-on.
  • Scene mode includes auto, night, party (really?) and sunset.
  • Color effects comprise negative, posterize, aqua, black and white, sepia, whiteboard, blackboard and solarize.
  • Burst mode has options for 5, 10, 15 or "infinite" shots. (Of course there's a finite amount of storage on the phone, but you get the idea.)
  • The timer feature runs up to 60 seconds (for those of you going for the Safe Solvent sort of selfie, we suppose), and it looks to have a voice command feature as well.

All in all, it's got the makings of a really good camera app once it's ready for release. Look for it ... well, you know better than to ask for ETAs, don't you?

Phil Nickinson
  • any chance picsphere will work using just the accelerometer... i have a really old device with no gyroscope so i can't use photosphere...
  • Don't see how it could work without a gyro to be honest.
  • I hope that using a cm rom isnt required for this camera app since cm roms never seem to have a working camera.
  • Well, I am using 10.1 Nightlies on my HTC One S and it has working camera (since 7/17) and it is including HDR (which is still to slow atm) and everything. I have the 'photosphere' cam apk next to it, but due to the quality of the CM one, I will get rid of it. I hope the Nemesis cam comes out quickly...
  • The lack of working camera isn't down to the app, it's the drivers. So this will be no different in that respect.
  • Oh I know its all about drivers, but cm has been notorious for not having camera access and now the fact they are building an app for it is just a little ironic. Glad the camera is working on some builds but they have been doing this for a while and its still an issue, sucks you had to wait till 7/17 to use your camera on this rom. They build some great features into their stuff but no camera is a no go, its just so strange because most other roms have it from the get go. Most of them dont have as many people working on them either. Not saying they dont Do great work in the rom department what so ever, just the fact they are putting out a camera app makes me laugh.
  • Most Rom's are simply tweaks and debloats of stock firmware.
    All of the build from source (AOSP) roms CM, AOKP, etc, etc have similar problems
    In fact most, even AOKP use CM as a base for their rom, you'll find the bugs in CM in most other AOSP roms. That said, I don't have nearly the problem you do, I've used CM on many devices and while the camera app isn't as full featured, and hence doesn't always take the best shots, the camera has always been basically functional.
  • silentjosh37,
    just as an FYI, with me being a Cyanogenmod Maintainer; we wont make a device officially supported until all features work, and the device passes the CTS (Android Compatibility Test Suite) and complies with the CDD (Android Compatibility Definition Document.) That includes having Jenkins build nightlies that are available on get .cm. If the builds aren't on get .cm; then they are unofficial builds which means hardware functions are still being worked on. And not everything is about drivers. How do you think I got HW Acceleration, 720P, and Netflix working on the B&N Nook Color for CM10 to be Official; all in the code. In terms of HTC/DxO.. when that all went down; we had to rethink the way we were handling blobs.
  • What? CM's camera app works perfectly, if it doesn't work well it is due to device manufacturer not releasing necessary sources. CM's current camera is already much better than stock AOSP.
  • All CM roms have working cameras. The trick to getting it to work is by deleting all of your photos and videos before opening the camera app for the very first time. Then it works fine.
  • The reason CM rooms never worked was explained "one company basically told CM to stop using there code" but I'm guessing that this is the reason they made their own camera app, that way no one can tell them you can't use our code... I'm pretty sure it's the reason they made their own app, it looks very stock too!
  • Never had a device that didn't have a working camera app with CM. Nexus 1, GS2(Sprint E4GT), GS1(AT&T Captivate), HTC One X(AT&T).
  • Root phones only? Posted via Android Central App
  • Well custom roms obviously (even if they may not be rooted, but most are).
  • Don't suppose the video recording feature for this app would resolve the crappy audio you get on the Nexus 4 in loud environments (i.e. concerts). I've read it's something to do with the mic/gain?
  • It's Google's way of saying STOP RECORDING and enjoy the show, don't be that person ruining it for the people behind you
  • Lame..
  • Speaking of guys filming instead of jumping in the pit?
  • But it's vitally important that I record several minutes of badly framed video with a lopsided sound mix, which nobody including me will ever watch. How else will I know that I had the experience? Frankly, the needs of the people behind me will just have to assume a lower priority.
  • DimSum. I know something that may help your mic gain issue. The uNeak kernel add on (in the play store) has two gain options. One for call gain and one for all other audio gain. It might help you.
  • They should post it in Playstore or else...provide it in Xda ... Posted via Android Central App
  • When it happen? It's look awesome
  • Congratulations Android Central for ruining the announcement, showing an incomplete app that has bugs.
    Anyhow, everyone here should just go to in 2:30hours for the real exclusive.
  • It was featured on this morning, also. Seemed a little fishy when Cyanogen announced when they were going to announce it (via AP exclusive), yesterday. I assumed AP took too many liberties on their podcast, and CM took offense, and under scooped them with other sites. In my experience, AC nor Russell Holly seem likely to leak rumored or incomplete CM projects.
  • all the hype for this. FAIL.
  • Go read the full story on Android Police before you spout off stupid s**t. CM is basically going to roll everything out in phases. The new camera app is Phase One. They are taking stock applications that lack polish and features and creating alternatives that are better. That's pretty awesome if you ask me. Hence the name Nemesis. It will be Nemesis to Vanilla Android. Posted via Android Central App
  • Nice. Posted via Android Central App
  • Real review and explanations:
  • Is this the "Nemesis"?
  • Do you ever write a comment and then instantly wish you could take it back?! Haha, I reread the article - sorry for the stupid question.
  • Can't wait to see this come out!
  • Was hoping they would now allow users to disable their horrid file browser. Posted via Android Central App
  • Wait!? I thought it was an ipad mini on top of an iPhone... which meant it was coming to that platform... Are you kidding me? A Camera app? Sheesh! you just can't believe commenters anymore! \s
  • Yeah i was expecting something bigger Posted via Android Central App
  • I don't see any mention of time lapse... Does this have time lapse? Or maybe they're calling it something different?
  • Even after reading the review on AP, this is a bit weak but I suppose a welcome upgrade for CM users. I will reserve my judgement until all phases of the project are done or at least out there.
  • obviously no one actually read the whole AP article. It says right at the bottom when it's coming "The bigger question, however, may be when can I get it? As long as everything continues working well, Focal should be merged with CM nightlies by this weekend – we'll let you know as soon as it's available."
  • im very excited about this
  • Oh boo-hoo, really DxO? That petty? That's sad considering Android is an OPEN-SOURCE platform, and so is AOSP (It's in the name). CM did nothing wrong, just bitter less skilled developers crying that their stuff got improved. Really sad.
  • Nice! I love Android and CM, but after using Nokia phones I don't dare use my Android devices for photos anymore.
  • We've come a long way since JesusFreak and all it's awesomeness on the G1