Is it possible to show the camera in a view behind other UI elements in android? I do not want my app to open to the separate camera app because the purpose is not to take pictures, it just needs to show the "viewfinder".
Thank you for your time.
You can use the camera overlay on Android to do this. As long as you are targeting Android 2.2+ and using one of the CI builds you should be able to do this.
Here is an AR example that works on Android https://github.com/benbahrenburg/bARk/blob/master/Resources/poi_camera.js
To get the CI builds ( It is using 1.8+ ) you want to go here http://builds.appcelerator.com.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html and select the 1.8 branch from the drop down.