Camera technology is an integral part of the smartphone package these days, with OEMs racing to include the latest and greatest photography hardware and features. As a result, the market for high resolution image sensors, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) modules and dual-camera compatible components is becoming increasingly big business.
From 2013 to 2014, the CMOS Camera Module market grew by 13.4 percent to a value of $16.4 billion. The industry is anticipating further growth of another 15.9 percent to $19 billion come the end of 2015. OIS technology and higher resolution sensors are expected to spur on much of this growth.
Given that high-end smartphones, such as the Galaxy Note 4, Nexus 6 and LG G3, have already adopted OIS modules, the expectation is that the vast majority of flagship smartphones will include the technology in 2015, with the potential for the technology to reach mid-range handsets too. Estimates put shipments of OIS equipped handsets at around 178 million in 2015, surging by 145% against 2014, and could reach 361 million by 2017.
Although Sony’s high-end image sensors continue to lead the competition by quite a margin, other companies have managed to benefit from improvements in other camera components. Largan controls almost 90 percent of the profit generated from camera module lenses and has pushed many South Korean competitors to their margins. Sharp has benefited greatly from OIS developments and Sunny Optical Technology has seen its revenue rise due to demand from growing OEMS, including Xiaomi, Lenovo and OPPO.
Dual image sensors are another growing technology, but industry insiders don’t expect this idea to catch on in flagship handsets in the same way as OIS has. Hardware isn’t the problem, as such, as both Qualcomm and MediaTek have taken strides to support multi-sensor camera setups and software functions into their chips.
Instead, the cost of implementing dual 8 megapixel or high image sensors is not worth the small feature set obtained from a dual setup, especially as it does not go towards increasing image capture quality. This could be the reason why HTC has chosen to stick with its lower resolution Ultrapixel sensors in its dual-camera smartphones and has marketed them as more reasonably price mid-range smartphones.
Further down the line, optical zoom technology could also made an appearance in smartphone cameras, although this isn’t expected until 2016 or later. What smartphone camera features do you think are the most important when choosing your next smartphone?
After Google opened up the APIs that allowed certain Android devices to snap full RAW photos, many have been looking for the right app to control the functions. Along came Manual Camera, which, as advertised, provides full manual control of the camera on your Android phone.
The fine art of photography has been somewhat diluted as the capabilities and automatic nature of mobile cameras have increased. We are, admittedly, at the point where a high-end Android phone can capture impressive images, I’d even venture to say photos of professional quality, but the ability to take these stunning photos is usually not a credit to the photographer’s ability to manipulate the settings. For those that are accustomed to taking manual control of their cameras, a fully automatic camera app can be a major headache and let down.
The introduction of RAW image support on Android has been very welcome for professionals looking to play with their Android devices a little bit, and Manual Camera offers the software that you can use to take it to the next level.
For our time testing Manual Camera, we found that almost every aspect of your camera, from shutter speed, ISO, white balance and more can be manually controlled. Each available setting defaults to automatic, eliminating the barrier to entry for new users, which also makes this great for those wanting to self-educate on how these typical (D)SLR caliber tools operate. Now all we need is optical zoom.
Manual Camera will run you $1.99 in the Google Play Store and will install on your Android 5.0 Lollipop and up devices.
Do you think that full manual control of your Android camera will make a huge difference in your mobile photography efforts?
The strange periscope shaped “RE” camera from HTC now has an update to its android app counterpart that adds a significant new feature, live YouTube streaming. The update was released today after it’s recent announcement at CES 2015.
The RE doesn’t actually have any connection to the internet itself, so you’ll have to depend on your smartphone paired with the RE camera app to stream any content. With a 16 megapixel sensor, the RE should be able to get some decent video, though, the process of a video stream going through the RE, then through a smartphone and finally to YouTube can’t be good for quality or latency.
If you own the RE and want to start live-streaming, head over to the play store for the free update.
|CES 2015 Coverage Sponsored By:|
The post “RE” Camera app updated with live YouTube streaming appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Kodak and Polaroid are both still fighting for relevance in a world that’s mostly left them behind, and this year they’ve got a new kind of weapon in their arsenals: the smartphone. Both of these companies have basically lent the power of their brands — the history, the force of nostalgia — to third-party players who make devices on their behalf. It’s a little too early to make a call on which company’s definitively doing it better, but we took a look to see how they stack up at this point.
The first up was Kodak, which telegraphed its intentions far in advance. The end result? A nondescript little thing called the IM5 that caters less to Instagrammers than it does to older folks who had an emotional connection to the Kodak brand. Need more proof? Just take a peek at its home screen: It’s festooned with giant icons that lead you into frequently used apps like the phone dialer, Gmail and, erm, the magnifier. Meanwhile, just about the only bit of visual flair you’ll find is a tiny Kodak logo smack in the middle of the IM5’s back. Fashion statement this thing ain’t.
If we’re being honest, what’s inside the phone isn’t that much more exciting — there’s an octa-core MediaTek processor running the show, along with 2GB of RAM to help keep things snappy. I didn’t notice much in the way of performance gaffes but, you know, it’s not like the intended market is on the lookout for visual stutters or slowdown. The real kicker is the 13-megapixel camera ’round the back, and the photos they produced weren’t all that impressive (though the relatively low-res 5-inch, 720p display didn’t help matters). One of the perks of attending the world’s largest conflagration of tech nerds is everyone, everyone is clamoring to play with the same things, but during our limited time together, the Kodak IM5 felt like little more than a money grab, another desperate attempt by Kodak to hang on in our lives.
Polaroid, surprisingly, fared quite a bit better. The company (or rather, the Brooklyn-based distributor that basically tweaks existing white-label Chinese devices) brought a trio of low-cost smartphones into the gaping maw that is Central Hall.
I found myself gravitating toward two in particular. The slim, slab-like Flip packs an unknown quad-core chip and 1GB of RAM, and seemed plenty responsive while I tried to suss out what its deal was. It, like the IM5, is pretty low-key in terms of design, but a pair of speaker grilles machined into the top and bottom of the phone’s plastic shell added just a touch of life to the mix. The other — called the Selfie, ugh — tickled my fancy because it uses the exact same swiveling-camera gimmick we loved when Oppo tried it. Being the more premium gadget, the Selfie has an octa-core chip and 2GB of RAM thrumming away inside, and the 5.5-inch, 720p display seemed brighter and more pleasant that the Kodak’s panel.
Polaroid logos and wallpapers aside, both devices also come preloaded with a Polaroid photo app — it’s a ridiculous and somehow charming thing that tries to replicate the act of peering through a retro Polaroid’s viewfinder. Once you snap your shot, you’ve even got the option to shake or blow on the “photo” to coax it into developing. Sure, it’s basically paying lip service to Polaroid’s retro roots, but there’s something to be said for even small amounts of effort and ingenuity.
The signs strewn around the booth claimed that the devices ran stock versions of Android 5.0 Lollipop, and they were wrong on both counts. The phones, in fact, ran lightly skinned builds of Android 4.4.2, but at least the spokesperson was quick with assurances that the final units would come laden with Google’s latest and greatest software. Not a single one of these phones will elevate the company that made them into anything more than a mobile also-ran. With all that said though, round 1 goes to Polaroid — its phones still aren’t out-and-out great, but the companies involved haven’t completely failed capturing a once-great camera company’s legacy.
Filed under: Mobile
Scanners are really extra-large image sensors at heart, so it stands to reason that you could make a decent camera out of one. Right? Well, Dario Morelli just proved it… and then some. His homebrew medium format camera uses parts from an Epson V30-series scanner to take enormous 143-megapixel photos whose resolution puts even the better professional cameras to shame. Morelli went so far as to repackage everything in a custom enclosure, so the device is relatively portable and will sit on a tripod.
The catch, as you might suspect, is that this camera still behaves like a document reader while you’re shooting. You need to connect to a computer and a big external battery to get anything done, and there’s no live viewfinder to help you frame the shot. An exposure typically takes minutes rather than seconds, and the limited light sensitivity (Morelli believes it can manage ISO 50 and eight dynamic range stops) largely rules out nighttime photography. But hey, it works — and it’s proof that do-it-yourself cameras can sometimes best their professionally-made counterparts.
[Image credit: Dario Morelli, Flickr]
Filed under: Cameras
Source: Dario Morelli (Flickr)
Drift Innovation is a seasoned veteran of the action camera world, but there’s no question that it’s facing a lot of pressure lately; models like the Ghost S are huge next to rivals like the GoPro Hero4. The company’s newly launched Stealth 2 camera might just come to the rescue, though. While it captures 1080p video at 30 frames per second instead of 60 like its Ghost S predecessor, it’s also just half the size and 40 percent lighter — rather important when you may be strapping this device to your head. However you use it, the new Stealth should last for a respectable three hours of recording. It also comes with modern conveniences like WiFi remote control and a 300-degree rotatable lens that adapts to difficult shooting positions. This shooter doesn’t tout 4K video or other luxuries, but you’re also paying $249. That’s a solid bargain for a tiny adventure cam that makes relatively few compromises.
Filed under: Cameras
Source: Drift Innovation
Say goodbye to the days of monochrome night vision footage, folks. Sharp recently unveiled an infrared security camera that captures color 720p video, even in absolute darkness. The trick is an imaging sensor that uses near-infrared for illumination; unlike virtually every other competitor, this camera doesn’t have to resort to conventional lights (and thus give itself away) to get a vivid picture. The device will likely be limited to corporate and government customers when it goes on sale in late November, but it could have a big impact on your safety. Building managers will soon have an easier time identifying intruders, not just spotting them — while the technology might not stop a break-in, it should increase the chances of catching thieves before they strike again.
Filed under: Cameras
It’s not like it was a huge surprise, what with all the not-so-subtle teasers, but the Oppo N3 is now official and puts its unique spin on the selfie revolution that is sweeping the smartphone world. As expected, the Oppo N3 employs the use of a motorized swivel camera, an upgrade over its predecessor’s fragile, manual swiveled one. What Oppo did announce alongside the Oppo N3 was the O-Click Bluetooth remote, which is primarily used to remotely take photos with the phone, but will also let you remotely change the facing of the camera with its nifty buttons. You can briefly see the remote in the launch video below:
Unlike our previous predictions, the Oppo N3 will not employ a monstrous display like the Oppo N1 did, opting instead for a very normal 5.5-inch display which will be powered by a Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage and a 3,000mAh battery. If you’re into gimmicks, the rear of the Oppo N3 also features a fingerprint reader, which works similarly to the Apple iPhone version which requires you to tap your finger on it to use. I particularly like the fact that Oppo has kept the thin “Skyline” notification light at the bottom of the device which it first debuted on its Oppo Find 7. The Oppo N3 is going to be available in December for $649.
What do you think about the Oppo N3 now that it has been officially announced? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post The Oppo N3 is now official, rocking its motorized swivel camera and Bluetooth remote appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
If you thought Oppo was done with making eccentric selfie phones, you’re wrong; the Chinese company is back with a new model dubbed the N3 to replace the N1 from last September. The iconic swivel camera at the top is here to stay, but this time we have a 16-megapixel f/2.2 module and it’s motorised! It’s actually much cooler than it sounds: You can quickly flip the camera with a flick gesture on the screen or on the fingerprint sensor on the back — more on that later. In addition to that, the N3 comes with a new O-Click Bluetooth remote that not only acts as a remote trigger, but it also lets you adjust the camera’s angle using the extra buttons.
One other benefit that the motorized swivel camera offers is that the new camera app in Oppo’s Color OS 2.0 (based on Android 4.4) lets you install an Auto Panorama plug-in which, as you can guess, automatically takes a panorama shot while you hold the phone still. Other plug-ins include “HD Picture” (to create super detailed 64-megapixel images), “Slow Shutter,” “Beautify,” “Professional,” “Super Macro” and more.
There’s another new feature placed on the back: The old mini trackpad was apparently not that popular (we weren’t impressed, either), so it’s now replaced by a fingerprint reader — not the annoying swiping type, but the tapping type like Apple’s Touch ID button and the one on the Huawei Mate 7. Once you’ve registered your fingers, you can unlock your N3 by just clicking on the fingerprint reader — naturally with either of your index fingers given the location of the reader.
Spec-wise, the N3 has all the typical numbers you get on a modern flagship smartphone: We’re looking at a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core SoC, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a nice 5.5-inch full HD LCD (the N1 had a 5.9-inch one), NFC and a 3,000 mAh fixed battery. Speaking of which, the N3 does VOOC rapid charging with a smaller charger, meaning you can go from zero to 75 percent in just half an hour. It’s also worth pointing out that the N3 is a dual-SIM LTE phone; it takes a Micro SIM and a Nano SIM. But if you want to add a microSD memory card, you’ll have to give up your Nano SIM slot.
As with the recent Oppo devices, you still get a solid build quality on the N3. Compared to its successor, the N3 has a similar feel thanks to the aluminum alloy frame and smooth plastic coating, but it’s certainly lighter — 192g instead of 213g — and easier to hold due to the smaller screen. Like the Find 7 series, the N3 has a nice glowing “Skyline” light at the bottom for indicating notifications and charging status, except it’s placed underneath a metallic arc which is part of the phone’s aluminium frame. It looks good, but the trade-off is that it may trap some dust.
In summary, Oppo’s made a nice improvement on its N series. It may not be the best-looking smartphone, but the motorized swivel camera and the convenient fingerprint reader should be unique enough to win some people over. If you’re one of them, the N3 will be available for $649 off contract this December, though there’s no word on whether it’ll be offered by carriers with a subsidized price.
The latest round of devices from HTC have all made their way to a new region. The One (M8) Eye, Desire Eye, and RE Camera are all available in India. The price for the One (M8) Eye and RE Camera converts to about $634 and $162, respectively. Pricing for the Desire Eye has yet to be announced.
Hit the break for more.
In addition the the Eye devices, India is getting more handsets that belong to the Desire line. The Desire 820, 820q, and Desire 516C are all heading to India as well.
The Desire 820 and Desire 820q are pretty much the same device except for the processors used. Both have 5.5-inch displays with 720p resolution, 13/8MP cameras, and 2600mAh batteries. The Desire 820 has a Snapdragon 615 proccessor with 2GB of RAM. The Desire 820q, though, has the Snapdragon 410 with 1GB of RAM based on 64-bit architecture.
Finally, the Desire 516C is a low-end device with a 5-inch display with qHD resolution. Inside is a Snapdragon 200 paired with 1GB of RAM. Internal storage is 4GB with a microSD card slot. The front camera is VGA and the back is 5MP. The battery is 1950mAh and the handset has dual-SIM support.
Come comment on this article: India gets the HTC One (M8 Eye), Desire Eye, RE Camera, and a few more devices