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Posts tagged ‘Camera’

26
Aug

Is the Moto G 2015 the King of mid-range devices?


As the last week has proven, the majority of everyone cares more about those high-priced, powerful phones that dominate headlines for weeks. Not only do those devices dominate headlines, but they also dominate our wallets. However, even with these high-profile devices taking our wallets hostage, there are more economical devices becoming more and more relevant.

The OnePlus One shocked everyone with flagship-like specs while only costing about $300 for the base 16GB version. Naturally, the OPO was dubbed the flagship killer of 2014, and OnePlus just released their sequel, the OnePlus 2. However, in 2013, Motorola started hitting our pockets in a different manner.

A few months after the release of the original Moto X in 2013, Motorola debuted the Moto G. The premise behind this device was to provide a very solid alternative to flagship devices which would be an easier hit on our wallets and make everyone think twice about getting those high-priced flagships. The past two years have been no different, and Motorola has really followed through on improving the Moto G since its inception.

Motorola is trying to combine these mid-range internals while still providing one of the best experiences for a mobile device, while hitting a sub-$200 price mark. Speaking of those internals, let’s take a quick peek.

The Moto G doesn’t have the most impressive spec sheet, but that’s the point. Since their remodeling, Motorola has been trying to drive the point home about software integration by showing everyone how well these devices can perform without having the top of the line specs. The Moto G is the epitome of this new initiative..

Design

I loved the feel of the original Moto X. I thought the smaller form factor, with the smooth back was a dream to hold and use. However, I have since switched to larger phones, and even though the Moto G 2015 is taller, this phone is feels really good in the hand as well. The back-plate has a textured feel to it, making it easier to grip, which in turn makes me worry less about dropping it. In fact, I never once felt that the Moto G was going to slip out of my hands and on to the ground, desk, or anything else.

The rest of the Moto G 2015 has the appearance of the Moto X 2014, with the slightly curved back and the metal sides. However, the sides of the Moto G are not made of metal, instead, they are plastic but maintain the appearance of the silver sides found on the Moto X. The back of the device has a silver strip going down the middle with the camera nestled at the top and the flash right below. The signature Moto dimple can be found at the bottom of this silver strip

The back-plate does come off, and while you can’t replace the battery, you can get access to the microSD card slot, and SIM card tray. Motorola also is allowing users to be able to swap the backs around to suit your personal style. Be careful through all the switching and such, because this device is IPX7 water-resistant, you don’t want to forget to snap the back all the way on and get water damage in your device.

Speaking of which, whenever the back plate is removed from your device you will get a notification stating that you need to ensure that the case is fully snapped on. This is to make sure that you won’t ever encounter any water damage on account of everything not being put back into place.

Software Integration

Moto G Homescreen

The 3rd Generation Moto G is rocking stock Android 5.1 Lollipop with a few of Motorola’s added features. The biggest addition to the Moto G was the introduction of Moto Display. Moto Display was already introduced back with the original Moto X and basically has turned into an extension of your device.

For those who are new to the Motorola game, Moto Display is a baked in replacement for your lock screen. Instead of having to turn your display on every time you get a notification, Moto Display takes care of that for you. Once you receive a new notification, you are presented with interactive icons. When pressed, you will see a preview of the message and either swipe up to open the application, or down to just unlock the device. Of course, you can just let the notifications pile up and view them one by one, without ever unlocking your device and wasting that precious battery life.

Out of the box, the Moto G is using Google’s stock launcher that was introduced with Android Lollipop. You don’t have to worry about any overlays or anything that is unnecessary while navigating through your home screens. What you do get is the goodies of stock software with SOME of the Moto Display features. You also get the gestures for quickly turning on the flash light (chop-chop) and activating the camera (flicka-da-wrist).

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Moto G Moto App Display
Moto G Moto App Actions

In my time with the Moto G, I never experienced any lag while navigating the home screens, scrolling through my apps, or switching quickly from one app to the next. I did experience a bit of stutter when I played Mountain Goat Mountain, but since that game has the ability to change the frame rate, I just bumped it down and kept going stutter free. However I did play hours worth of Riptide GP 2, which is graphically challenging, and never had a single issue. Even when I was playing for hours, the back of the phone only felt warm, and was never uncomfortable.

Battery

Speaking of the battery, it’s amazing. While testing the Moto G, I never once ran out of battery, and there would be times I would take it off the charger at 530AM and would still have about 20-30% of battery left at midnight. The battery really impressed me, and I’m not sure if it’s a combination of the lower-res display with the Snapdragon 410, but I couldn’t get over how much I could use the G without it running out of juice.

Moto G 2015 Battery Stats

I would deliberately try and run the battery out, and only succeeded after using the Moto G for tethering capabilities with my laptop while I was out and about. There also were never any issues encountered with random battery loss from standby time. The Moto G is a beast in just about every manner when it comes to the battery.

One thing to take note of with the 2015 Moto G: there is no quick charge capability built-in, so you can’t get that extra fast charging when you’re low on power. However, with the stunning battery life on this device, the chances of you needing quick charge, is slim-to-none.

Camera

I wanted the camera to be better than the one found in the Moto X 2014, but it seems that it’s more on par with that camera. The camera is definitely nothing spectacular, and you can tell as soon as you try and take your first picture. The built-in camera software is still a little off when it comes to focusing, and unless you try a different app, you’ll have to just hope you can get the picture to focus at the right time.

It definitely felt like I was playing a game of cat and mouse when it came to trying to focus, but we knew that going in. Hopefully, Motorola can get their stuff together and make the app better while removing the focusing issues.

As stated above, the camera is nothing to write home about, but for what you get in an 13MP camera, you can’t really expect too much. This will do just fine with your run-of-the-mill pictures, but they won’t be “featured” in anything important. I would say that the camera is perfect for the price range that the Moto G is set in.

Moto Maker

When Motorola was generous enough to shock the world with Moto Maker for the Moto X everyone was super stoked about it. You mean to tell me I can customize my device to the T, and don’t have to settle for just black or just white? Well Motorola did something pretty awesome with the Moto G 2015. After bringing Moto Maker to the Moto 360, and the Moto X, you can now customize your Moto G on Moto Maker.

Moto G Moto Maker

With a slew of different combinations, Motorola really has taken customizing your device to a whole new level. There are two color options for the front, 10 different options for the back-plate, and 10 different options for your accent color, the possibilities are endless.

Conclusion

The Moto G 2015 follows in the steps of its predecessor and big brother, by offering a great combination of specs, decent camera, and customization options to bring one of the best mid-range devices to the forefront. Now, just as a note, there are two different variants of the 2015 Moto G. The first is one that features 8GB of storage with 1GB of RAM for $179, or the version that was reviewed today with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM for $219.

If you can afford the extra 50 dollars, I would definitely opt for the extra storage and extra RAM so you can have that extra boost when you need it. No lag is always a good thing, and you won’t have that issue when it comes to the 2GB variant of the Moto G 2015.

With the introduction of these mid-range specs, addition of Moto display features, and the inclusion of the Moto G to Moto Maker, the Moto G really deserves a chance. Let us know what you think about this awesome device from the folks at Motorola in the comments below.

The post Is the Moto G 2015 the King of mid-range devices? appeared first on AndroidGuys.

25
Aug

Sony teases greater smartphone camera focus abilities for IFA


SONY Brand Shot logo CES 2014-3

A few unofficial teasers and leaks regarding some upcoming smartphones from Sony have been gradually trickling out over the past couple of weeks, but now we have an official teaser from Sony Xperia GB. The tweet is all about some new camera technology, which the company appears to have planned for a new smartphone release taking place at IFA on September 2nd.

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All of the references to cameras and focusing leads me to believe that the upcoming handset will likely make use of Sony’s latest Exmor RS IMX230 or IMX240 image sensor. The IMX230 features 21 megapixels, which is typical for Sony’s flagship devices, along with 192 point phase detection autofocus technology (PDAF), for faster and more accurate object focusing. Sony unveiled its PDAF and traditional contrast hybrid auto-focus technology with the launch of the Xperia M5 less than one month ago, which may also feature in this new handset.

Unfortunately, we can’t really see the phone because of the blur in the image, but the design looks the same as the company’s existing Xperia series, although the size perhaps suggests that a Compact variant is on the way. Last week, a press shot of the Xperia Z5 Compact leaked online and pictures from earlier in the month hint that an entire Xperia Z5 range might be on the way.

We don’t have too many other specification rumors to go on at this point. One or more of Sony’s upcoming devices may be making use of Sony’s 4K X-Reality display software and a fingerprint scanner is also said to be included.

The teaser leaves us with a date set for September 2nd, meaning that there’s a little over a week left to wait until we see what Sony has to offer.

22
Aug

Selfie reveals a 5MP front-facing camera for the upcoming LG Nexus 5 2015


Google_LG_Nexus 5 (2015)_ Selfie camera_5MP_082215A Google employee has reportedly captured a selfie using the upcoming LG Nexus 5 smartphone. The selfie was uploaded to Google+ earlier today and reveals a 5MP front-facing camera. The post was listed with code name “Bullhead” thus further indicating this is indeed the upcoming LG Nexus handset.

The selfie reveals that the LG Nexus 5 (2015) will have a 5MP snapper 1944 × 2592, and include an aperture of f/2.0 for better low-light photos. The picture is blurred in order to keep the identity of the Google employee hidden. This means that this obviously wasn’t planned to be any sort of teaser for the upcoming handset.

Rumors and recent reports of the handset indicate a late October/early November launch alongside the release of Marshmallow. We can’t wait to see what the two companies have in store for us time come this fall.

Source: TechTastic.nl

Come comment on this article: Selfie reveals a 5MP front-facing camera for the upcoming LG Nexus 5 2015

20
Aug

QuantumFilm image sensors explained


samsung galaxy s6 edge vs lg g4 aa (20 of 28)

Smartphone cameras have come a long way recently, with sensor and lens setups in some of this year’s flagships offering up some seriously good looking results, just look at the Galaxy S6 or the LG G4 for example. However, even the best smartphone cameras still suffer from limited versatility, often have poor low light performance, and heavy noise and crosstalk when compared with higher end sensors found in DSLR cameras.

Furthermore, the resolution race has seen increasingly high-resolution cameras in smartphones, but our testing and experience has shown us that the cameras with the most pixels aren’t necessarily producing the best results. That being said, HTC’s attempt to buck this trend with its Ultrapixel technology failed to produce superior results either. The fact of the matter is that sensors, and therefore pixel sizes, in smartphones are limited by their compact size.


samsung galaxy s6 edge vs lg g4 aa (20 of 28)See also: LG G4 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge – Camera Shootout3415120

InVisage, a fabless semiconductor company, is planning to bring its unique QuantumFilm technology to market, which might provide a big leap forward in image quality for small form factor mobile devices.

The problem

The crux of the issue is down to the compromises made with module size and light capture. For a little background, modern CMOS image sensors are built up of lots of sensor/pixel cells, each configured with a filter to detect how much red, green, or blue light is in the scene and in which locations. But these sensors aren’t perfect, there is a certain amount of reflection and loss as light enters a sensor and there can also be cross talk between adjacent cells and electronic interference, which manifests as noise and color artifacts.

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Low light pictures often expose the weaknesses of a sensor.

These problems are more pronounced in compact smartphone sensors, as the cells are smaller and packed in closer together. Further increasing the resolution of a sensor compounds these problems, leading to more noise and worse performance in low light conditions.

The image sensor industry has come up with a number of innovations to help combat these problems. Moving over from frontside to backside illumination sensors helped reduce loss as the light reached the base of the cell, while Samsung’s Isocell aimed to better insulate nearby cells from each other, resulting in less crosstalk. These are fine solutions, but don’t completely eliminate the aforementioned probems.

QuantumFilm’s solution

QuantumFilm image sensor section

InVisage’s QuantumFilm technology aims to address these problems by tweaking traditional sensor designs to make use of its own light sensing layer, which promises to capture more light and avoid crosstalk. Much of the design remains the same as today’s CMOS sensors, instead it is the QuantumFilm layer that is of particular interest.

Rather than using silicon photodiodes, InVisage’s sensors use their own metal-chalcogenide quantum-dot film to capture much more light near the surface of the sensor. This film is built from quantum dots, a small nanocrystal with quantum mechanical properties, arranged in a colloid, a solution made up of evenly distributed small particles.

CMOS BSI vs QuantumFilm

This layer is connected in between the usual filter layer and the electrode circuitry. When a certain color of light reacts with the QuantumFilm layer, the circuit can detect the region in which this reaction occurred to determine the pixel’s color. This way, the camera’s resolution does not affect the amount of light captured in the way that traditional CMOS sensors do and there’s apparently less crosstalk than solutions which require larger photosensitive cells. In other words, the resolution of the filter layer and density of the detecting circuitry determines the resolution, while the film layer remains unchanged.

The video below offers a pretty comprehensive explanation of what the company wants to achieve, without the techno-babble.

This whole idea seems rather well suited to smartphones, where compact hardware is essential. QuantumFilm has a few benefits in this regard, as it can be produced at very thin sizes, cutting up to 0.8mm off the very smallest CMOS sensors, which is a small, but valuable space saving inside a smartphone.

QuantumFilm absorption strength

Furthermore, QuantumFilm boasts a light absorption capacity up to eight times greater than some silicon CMOS sensors, allowing for greater dynamic range and better low light shots, less noise, and it can also be used for infrared light detection, opening the door for new and interesting compact product ideas.

How soon?

Like many other up and coming pieces of technology, the big problem with QuantumFilm is that it remains untested in real world consumer products. There has been a lot of talk for a number of years, but nothing for us to really sink our teeth into.

As a small company, InVisage is currently only producing a small number of wafers, but is looking to ramp up production in the second half of this year. TSMC will be helping InVisage further increase production with additional capacity next year.

We are still probably in for quite a wait until the first smartphones appear sporting the technology, but QuantumFilm is certainly something to keep an eye on.

18
Aug

Razer’s 3D-sensing camera brings motion tracking to your games


Razer's RealSense-powered 3D tracking camera

Razer has been big on immersive gaming as of late, and it’s reinforcing that by unveiling a 3D-sensing camera at the Intel Developer Forum. The ominous-looking gadget uses Intel’s RealSense to track your movement in games, whether you’re sitting at a desktop or sporting a VR helmet (including Razer’s own OSVR, naturally). For example, it can follow your head movements when you look to the side in a race car’s cockpit. There aren’t many more details to speak of just yet, but this hardware should arrive in the first quarter of 2016.

Filed under:
Gaming, Peripherals, Intel

Comments

Tags: camera, gaming, idf2015, intel, motiontracking, peripherals, realsense, virtualreality, vr

13
Aug

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony RX100, how good is today’s smartphone camera?


Many of us use our smartphones as our primary cameras.  We’re aware that they cannot compete with real cameras.  Their lenses are too small.  But that’s okay, they’re good enough.  But for the curious folk, how good exactly?

We continually see OEM’s pushing the technological capabilities of our tiny shooters.  To us faint of heart, they look superb, don’t they?  Is it justified that we cower in submission when our buddies, who lug their humongous DSLR everywhere, scoff at our puny, insignificant excuse of a camera?

Well, I wouldn’t dare to say that it isn’t justified from a quality perspective.  But, I can argue that they’re not as bad and insignificant as they could be perceived.  This is why I thought a camera shootout should be in order.

The Galaxy S6 camera is one of the best (if not the best) camera offerings in an Android smartphone.  And the contender?  Well, I felt it’d be frivolous to compare it to a DSLR.  They’re no where in the same league.  But what about a renowned compact camera?  On the opposing corner we have the Sony RX100 (Mark II).

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Yes, I know.  Sony’s compact flagship is up to the Mark IV generation currently.  The Mark II is what I have in my arsenal.  Both models use a similar Carl Zeiss lens, it’s close enough.

Before I begin, know that I’m no professional photographer.  But for this kind of comparison, I think that’s a good thing.  I won’t overdo the analysis and bore with technicalities.  I’m more interested in what the average user is interested in:  What is the grade of the pics coming out of my flagship smartphone camera?  Should I not be using it as a dedicated camera, am I unknowingly missing out?

These are great questions to ask, which no one is asking.  And the results from my tests are quite surprising.  I went around shooting the same shots with both cameras, of random things.

The Galaxy S6 camera shoots 16:9 at 16MP (I’m actually using the S6 Edge variant, but they both have the same camera).  The RX100 has 20 MP at 3:2 natively, but I set it at 16:9, which lowers the resolution to a more comparable 17 MP.  Furthermore, both cameras were set to their Auto modes (on the RX100, I used Sony’s Superior Auto setting).  The settings on the RX100 are far more adjustable than the S6 camera, but most people simply point and shoot.

Let’s take a look at the results.  The Galaxy S6 images will be on the left and the RX100 images will be on the right.  I’ve made three category of images:  flowers/landscape, indoors, and outdoors/beach.

Flowers/Landscape

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The details here are extremely close.  I can’t really tell a difference, other than that the Galaxy S6 image looks a tad brighter.

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It’s the same deal here.  The detail of the butterfly and flowers are all there in both images.  Focusing is a tad different.  The RX100 appears to start defocusing at a shorter distance.

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This image shows a more interesting result.  The sun is shinning directly on the pansies, and that seems to throw the Galaxy S6 camera off.  Not drastically, but you can say that the pedals are slightly washed-out.  The RX100 captures their colors more deeply.  Also, the RX100 has more dramatic focusing going on with the background.

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On this landscape image, I think it’s clear too which wins.  But again, we’re not looking at stark differences.  The colors of the plants in the RX100 image have deeper colors, and the overall tone isn’t as washed-out.

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I saw my dog laying still, so thought it’d make a good pet photo (his name is Ian).  I actually prefer the Galaxy S6 shot on this one.  The RX100 image looks slightly washed-out this time.  And that plant he’s laying on looks clearer on the Galaxy S6 image.

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This last one shows an angry spider on a daisy.  I think the RX100 is the clear winner here.  The RX100 captures detail on the small spider much better and the purple color of the daisy is deeper.

Indoors

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While great detail is captured by both cameras, the RX100 wins out with truer color reproduction.  To me, the Galaxy S6 image has a slight red tint to it.

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What came out most noticeably in this comparison is the difference in focus depth.  The RX100 actually tends to be too aggressive with its pin-pointed autofocusing, for me.  To adjust it, you have to mess with lens aperture setting.

The Galaxy S6 camera is able to capture the detail in the waffle and the moisture reflections of the banana.  I think it looks great.

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This was an interesting, sort of low-light shot.  Because of the aggressive defocusing of the RX100, the Galaxy S6 actually captures the spider detail better (the RX100 focused on the bottom/right area of the web).  But like usual, the RX100 captures the scene colors better.  As seen before, the S6 camera’s overall color tone can be affected largely by the lighting situation.

For the next pair of shots, I wanted to see how far I could push low light capture of both cameras.  I grabbed my trusty R.A.T. 9 gaming mouse and cut the lights slightly, and then tried an even dimmer spot.

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The first pair of shots show that the Galaxy S6 camera starts to become grainy at lower light, but can still pull the detail it needs out of the subject.  Being that the RX100 has a larger lens, it can pull in more light, but it does start to show some blurryness.  When the light is removed even more, the S6 shot suffers in all areas.  Impressively, the RX100 is still able to find light, but it struggles more with the blurryness.

Outdoors/Beach

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I was impressed with the detail of the beach logs from both cameras.  My only complaint is that the Galaxy S6 image has a slighy peachy tint in comparison.

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To me, this one is a win for the Galaxy S6.  The colors look richer on its image.  The detail from both cameras are present.

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Very similar image here.  I have a preference for the Galaxy S6 image again, solely because it looks brighter to me.

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When I zoomed on a traveling ferry, I already knew which device would win.  The RX100 has optical zoom, the Galaxy S6 doesn’t.  I just wanted to see how wide the difference was.

The RX100 can zoom a max of 3.6X, so this is how much I zoomed on the Galaxy S6.  As expected, just about everything is clearer/sharper on the RX100 image.

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More fairly, I got a shot when the ferry docked.  An interesting point is the sunlight’s reflection on the mostly-white vessel.  To me, the Galaxy S6 camera slightly overblows the lighting on ship’s body.

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I prefer the RX100 in this image.  I don’t know if it’s the lighting bouncing off the surrounding buildings, but the color of the flowers look richer to me in the RX100 shot.

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The detail of the gate and de-focusing around it are captured beautifully in both images.  But notice the color of the lawn.  For some reason the greenery is over-saturated on the Galaxy S6 image.

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Both of these images came out great, to me.  I think I see that slight peachy tint on the Galaxy S6 image, but at the same time, it’s brighter.  So it may come down to preference.

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This last one was when I sat down with a cup of coffee.  This was a shaded area, on a bright day.  Interestingly, both cameras reacted differently.  The S6 camera was more concerned with the overall shot, maintaining the contrast with the buildings in the background, but dimming the closer-up subjects (brick wall and chair).

The RX100 appears to wash-out the surrounding buildings, but captures the direct subjects much better.  Notice the floor to the left, the RX100 is able the detail much better.

Final Thoughts

I was enormously impressed by the Galaxy S6 camera.  To a causal picture-taker, such as myself, it can totally compete with a good dedicated camera.  And this is saying a lot, because the RX100 is roughly the same cost of the Galaxy S6 itself.

Yes, there were clear moments that the RX100 won.  To sum it up, the Galaxy S6 camera can lose color richness and have a tint with certain lighting conditions, it can’t zoom well (like other digital zooming cameras), and it can’t keep up in low-light shots.

But none of those negatives were drastic, it’s just nit-picking.  And on some of those comparisons, I had to reach deep to comment on something negative.  Do you agree with my assessments?

The post Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony RX100, how good is today’s smartphone camera? appeared first on AndroidGuys.

5
Aug

Google and MIT researchers demo their photo reflection removal algorithm


Smartphone camera lens close up ShutterStock

I’m sure we have all witnessed those pesky reflections while trying to grab a photograph through a window, but those days may soon be behind us, thanks to research conducted by Google and MIT. The group presented a paper at Siggraph 2015 and has published a video demonstrating its algorithm for removing reflections from your pictures.

The software isn’t just good for reflections though, it can also be used to analyse and remove other obstacles from your pictures, such as raindrops on the glass and even a chain-link fence that partially obstructs your view. It’s not 100 percent perfect, but seems to do a pretty good job at mostly removing these annoyances in a wide range of scenarios, include tough low-light scenes.

MIT and Google reflection removal 2

The developers state that the algorithm works using a short video clip that could, for example, be capture from your phone. At this stage, the algorithm sorts out the depth of the scene using edge detection differences in the successive frames and can figure out any obstructions in the foreground. A somewhat similar idea is used for techniques like post processing depth of field adjustments and 3D parallax images, which rely on multiple points of view.

From here, the software can fill in the obstructed space with information from other frames, resulting in a clearer final picture. One creepy “side effect” of the technology is that it can also quite accurately recreate a clear image of whatever is contained within a reflection or occlusion.

The video below has a really detailed explanation about how this is accomplished and a few more examples, which is well worth a watch if you’re keen on details.

This type of technique has been tried before, but previous result have been rather mixed. Google and MIT’s implementation seems the best so far. Unfortunately we don’t know if or when this type of technology will become available for smartphone cameras. Here’s hoping that someone picks up the idea and brings it to consumers.

4
Aug

What is the least important feature on a phone? [Poll]


We spend lots of time talking about the best features on smartphones and what makes them so great. But what if we decided to turn the tables? Today, we are not talking about what feature has to be included on the phone you buy, but rather which feature you could live without. So here is the setup for this question.

Y

ou are walking through the woods when you come upon an old shack. Inquisitive, you decide to check out what is inside and discover an old magician sitting in the corner reading a book, Android for Dummies. He sees you and begs you to help him figure out how to use his new Android smartphone. As a self-proclaimed tech whiz, you get him all set up and prepare to leave. He says he must reward you and promises to create you the perfect smartphone. His describes the phone to you as he works his magic.

BoomSoundThe screen is beautiful and perfectly sized for your hand. The gorgeous 2K resolution makes pictures and text pop. You are not sure what magical screen technology the wizard used, but the colors are perfectly accurate and the blacks are true. Even better, outdoor visibility is amazing!

The performance on this phone is second to none. No matter how much stress you put on it, you will never experience any lag. It flies through multitasking, gaming, web browsing, videoing, and anything else you can throw at it.

The build quality is strong yet light. You know that no matter what you do to this phone, it will never chip, scratch, shatter, or dent. The materials feel comfortable in your hand, and no matter how much you use it, the phone never gets hot.

The speakers make sound come alive and fill the room you are in. The audio quality would bring tears to an audiophile’s eyes. Best of all, the speakers are front-facing but take up no room on the bezel. Magic, you say? Well…yes.

Smartphone cameraThe camera takes pictures that look more real life that the world outside. Every feature and add-on you want is already included, and there is not even a camera hump. Just for fun, the magician throws in a best-in-class selfie camera, too.

The battery life is unbelievable! No matter how much you use it, the phone will always last for days. When you do finally need to charge it, the charging technology is so good you can be back up to full in no time.

Finally, the software is top notch. It is running the latest version of Android, and if you want, you can add any skin on top. Updates become available the day they are announced, and the magician promises your phone will be supported forever.

All of this sounds amazing, and you are eager for the magician to finish his spells and hand over your new phone. Unfortunately, the magician is old and reluctantly tells you he cannot deliver on one of his promised features. In fact, he has to skimp on one of them to deliver the other features he offered.

So now the question is: Which feature would you give up in order to have an otherwise perfect phone? 

To make this more interesting, I am going to tell you what you will have to endure depending on what you choose.

Smartphone batteriesIf you choose the screen as least important, the size will be unbearable for you. Either too large or too small, depending on which you hate more. The resolution matches 5-year-old budget phones, the colors look terrible, and you will never be able to see it outside.

For those of you who do not think performance is important, you will find yourself will a phone that cannot even handle basic tasks. Texting, browsing the web, using social media, and switching apps cause your device to lag and stutter until you are frustrated beyond comprehension.

Choosing build quality will give you the cheapest built phone you could ever imagine. The materials are flimsy and weak, and the phone creaks every time you touch it. It feels like the phone might just shatter if you set it down to quickly. And this is a problem that no mere case is going to fix, regardless of the brand or materials.

If you go with speakers/sound quality as least important, you will never want to listen to anything on this phone again. First, the speaker will be placed in a way that you will almost always muffle it. The audio itself is distorted, crackly, tinny, and just plain terrible. Unfortunately, the problem persists even if you use headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

Choosing camera as unimportant will net you a camera that 2009 Android phones could beat. The megapixel count is extremely low, the sensor is absolute trash, the colors in every picture look wrong, low light performance does not exist, and you are stuck using a bare-bones camera app.

FroyoIf you do not think battery life is important, you will be sorry once you have to use this phone. With top of the line specs, this phone will never last you through a day. When you are forced to charge during your lunch break, you will find no Quick Charge technology here. A slow trickle barely fills your battery at all, and you will be back to the outlet in no time.

Finally, choosing software as least important will leave you with an extremely powerful phone running an outdated, ugly, terribly skinned version of Android Froyo. With a guarantee that no updates will ever reach your device and absolutely no root community, you will be stuck in the past forever.

So now the time has come to vote! Which awful feature you choose to endure to have all the other features in the top list? Select you answer in the poll below, and they let us know what you chose and why down in the comments!


What is the least important feature on a phone?

The post What is the least important feature on a phone? [Poll] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

4
Aug

Motorola’s new focus on cameras shows with the Moto G (2015)


motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_closeup_TA

Motorola devices have been haunted for years by bad cameras. There was an opportunity to change the poor camera quality perception in 2013 when Motorola reinvented itself; however, critics and consumers were only left disappointed yet again when the Moto X (2013) failed to deliver a camera comparable to that of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G2. Motorola’s low-end and mid-range devices obviously suffered from awful cameras, too. The Moto G (2013) had a 5MP camera while the Moto G (2014) raised that to 8MP. As we all know, megapixels mean nothing on paper. This year, with Lenovo overseeing the company, Motorola seems to have found itself a pretty good camera of 13MP on the Moto G (2015).

Here is how Motorola describes the new Moto G’s camera:

The new Moto G delivers high-quality photos in any environment. Even in low light, the ultra-fast f2.0 lens produces crystal-clear images, and the color-balancing dual LED flash preserves color and clarity. What’s more, High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging helps you capture both the brightest highlights and darkest shadows, just as your eyes see them.

Below you are going to see images taken by the Moto G. Interestingly, Motorola has the phone’s camera set to capture images in widescreen. This means that they are taken at 9.7MP and 16:9 aspect ratio. Taking pictures at the standard 13MP alters the aspect ratio to 4:3. We have images of both varieties to show you. Also, high-dynamic range (HDR) is set to automatic for all of them.

Indoors (widescreen)

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_shoes

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_sony

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_paw

Indoors (standard)

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_figurines_pair

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_figurine

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_box

Outdoors (widescreen)

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_driveway_plant

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_shed_hook

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_tomato

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_shed_lock

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_shed_gnome

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_shed_lock

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_widescreen_shed_hose

Outdoors (standard)

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_kody_1

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_house_corner

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_wooden_deck

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_umbrella

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_tree_moose

motorola_moto_g_2015_camera_sample_standard_house_siding

Closing

What’s left to say? For a phone that starts at $179, the camera performs well above expectations. Motorola’s new commitment to sell devices with good cameras is evident in a sub-$200 phone.

Come comment on this article: Motorola’s new focus on cameras shows with the Moto G (2015)

30
Jul

Sony teases new Xperia phone on August 3rd


Sony Mobile has just let us in on a new Xperia phone coming our way soon.  It’s just a tease, so not much was said.  But we know that its camera abilities are in focus.

sony_xperia_focus

Lately, we’ve been seeing manufacturers ramp up autofocusing speed in their smartphone cameras, using either phase detection or laser autofocus methods.  Last year, Sony revealed that they managed to squeeze their 192-point phase detection focusing technology into a mobile Exmor RS sensor.  It was assumed that the Xperia Z4 would have arrived touting it, but now Aug. 3rd appears to be the day.

What’s also interesting is the timeframe of this announcement.  This robust camera technology seems fit for an Xperia flagship.  However, Sony typically launches their Fall flapship at IFA in September.  Could Sony be following Samsung’s lead to move forward their launch to avoid butting heads with Apple?

Either way, we’re always excited for new smartphone camera development.  Sony’s new sensor is said to be 21 megapixels and capable of 4K recording at 30fps (with HDR support at this resolution).

Assuming this phone comes stateside, are you excited to see another contender for the top smartphone camera spot?

The post Sony teases new Xperia phone on August 3rd appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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