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Samsung Phones have had a Flashlight feature for years on Android 13

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It has now been a little while since the first Android 13 developer preview was released. A number of exciting new features are included along with the update, including dynamic theming for third-party app icons, an automatic clipboard clearing feature, improved screen savers, and a Quick Tap flashlight toggle switch. Today, we’re going to be reviewing flashlight features for Android, and we’ve got news that there are new brightness controls coming to the platform soon.

Mishaal Rahman, a developer at Esper, notes that Android 13 introduces two new APIs to the CameraManager class – getTorchStrengthLevel and turnOnTorchWithStrengthLevel. The first one provides information on the LED flash’s brightness level, whereas the second one allows you to set its brightness to the maximum point the hardware will allow. Both of them will give users the option of adjusting the brightness of their phones’ flashlight, as opposed to being able to just toggle it on and off.

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While Android 13 will introduce a brightness-control feature, some devices running the OS may not be able to take advantage of the feature. Due to limitations imposed by the camera hardware abstraction layer (HAL), this is the reason. He notes that the older versions of the camera device HAL do not mention brightness control as one of the functions for controlling the flashlight. There is, however, a second version with support for the two new APIs which is part of the Android 13 Developer Preview for the Pixel 6 Pro. It is implied from this conclusion that other OEMs will have to implement the new camera HAL version in order to be able to control the flashlight brightness – but this may not be the case.

Where are they getting stuck? Well, in the Requirements Freeze program, OEMs do not have to upgrade their devices to Android 13 in order to be covered under the requirement, so they can very well reuse older implementations in their devices. However, devices running Android 13 out of the box are likely to support this feature, provided the vendor software requirements (VSR) for Android 13 mandate newer camera HAL versions.

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It’s likely that you’ve been adjusting your flashlight since the Stone Age if you have a Samsung or Apple phone. However, now that it is included in Android 13, other Android manufacturers should be able to easily implement it natively rather than as a custom feature.

 

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