Android 14 Amps Up Image Quality with Ultra HDR Support

08 Oct 2023



In an always-connected, visually-driven world, capturing compelling images that convey stories perfectly is paramount. The quality often hinges on the capabilities of our phones' image formats and features. Heeding tech enthusiasts' call for superior image quality, Google has equipped Android 14 with a suite of premium tools, including the much-anticipated Ultra HDR image support. This significant upgrade leverages a backward-compatible format to render Ultra-HDR images with pristine clarity and dazzling bright content.

The intricate mechanics of Ultra-HDR relies on a JPEG_R file, which encapsulates a gain map within its metadata. This is a prerequisite for rendering HDR image versions on HDR displays and SDR images on SDR displays. Mishaal Rahman, an Android authority, along with XDA's Dylan Raga, dove deep into the intricacies of this update, discovering new APIs that bolster HDR image support across third-party applications, including Chrome.

For photography enthusiasts and novices alike, the introduction of HDR is monumental. The unique image formats in HDR pack robust tools that meticulously negate the need for heavy tone map processing, delivering a more naturally appearing image. Traditional HDR containers, despite their limitations, often require an extensive shuffle of squishing and squeezing to produce the final image. This process often masks the critical elements of the image that warrant focus, yielding an artificial look.

Understanding diversity in client requirements, the HDR tool is brilliantly designed to balance bright colors and inherently bright objects, such as the sky. This reduces the reliance on tone map processing while concurrently improving contrast.

Chrome's HDR support is indeed a significant enhancement, aiding browser support and standardizing such naturally appearing images. It's critical to mention that HDR image support is interoperable solely if your phone or device comes with SDR dimming support on Android 14. With SDR dimming, your images retain sharpness and clarity, even under dim or dark screen conditions.

Revolutionizing modern image formatting, HDR image support is set to alter the landscape by delivering naturally finely processed images. Launched in 2016, fundamental HDR video support provided a considerable boost to smartphone and television manufacturers in their pursuit of superior-quality content. Fast forward to today, HDR support is virtually ubiquitous in mid-range TVs and smartphones. With Android 14 stepping into the arena, your images are set to attain an unprecedented level of quality.