Android 14 Brings Ultra HDR Photos to Google Pixel 8 Series RCS Messaging

Google has quietly rolled out support for its new Ultra HDR photo format within Android’s native Messages app, launching alongside Android 14, users can now share 10-bit high dynamic range images via RCS messaging to other contacts. So far, only Google’s own Pixel 8 lineup can capture the cutting-edge format.

Unveiled last month, Ultra HDR photos unlock a wider gamut through 10-bit color depth versus standard 8-bit JPEGs. That expanded range means more lifelike hues closer approaching human vision – key for landscapes or portraits. Photos also store raw dynamic metadata for superior editing flexibility.

Currently though, that luxury remains confined to the latest Google silicons like the new Tensor G3 powering Pixel 8 models. And even then, smooth sharing depends on contacts also running Android 14 for full-fidelity viewing.

Still, building Ultra HDR support directly into Android’s native messaging lays vital groundwork. As more third-party phones jump aboard, RCS becomes the ideal vehicle for sharable next-gen imaging, open RCS platform based on global GSMA standards is better poised for cross-compatibility than closed systems like iMessage.

In fact, Apple announced RCS adoption coming to iOS in 2024 – albeit without end-to-end encryption that Google hoped to advance market-wide through the RCS platform. When even iPhone owners can share Ultra HDR shots after an Android 14 update, that expanded range could emerge as the definitive new photo standard on par with MP3 audio or 4K video.

Apple Announces RCS Support

By collaborating with silicon partners early like Qualcomm, Google aims to quickly propagate Ultra HDR capture across Android flagships and mid-range phones. The specialized hardware constraints also explain why Android 14 limits the feature to newer premium phones for now.

But the Messages integration paves the way for an exciting imminent future: being able to snap a shot on your Pixel 8, then share that otherwise unattainable level of vibrant realism with friends – no third-party apps or compressing workarounds required. It brings smartphone imaging another step closer toward what the human eye perceives.

RCS acting as a universal conduit also unlocks the potential for Google’s next-level imaging to ultimately reach iOS, driving innovation market-wide thanks to accessible standards. Just as RCS may finally solve the fractured messaging landscape, native Ultra HDR support marks an encouraging start towards unifying consumer photography under one higher-fidelity format to rule them all.

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