The most important possible improvement that wouldn’t be visible in the source code: image quality. Android cameras arguably lag behind the iPhone in quality, so this new API may be Google’s solution to that problem. Android’s subpar image quality seems to be an across-the-board problem, so maybe the issue really is as low-level as the camera API. There’s no way to be sure though, until we get finished software and devices in our hands. With documentation using phrases like “substantially improved capabilities” and “fine-grain control” it certainly sounds like Google is out to fix Android’s digital-imaging woes.
Yes, yes, YES! A big thank you to Mostafa for pointing me to this.
Update: Google has officially confirmed this.