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360-degree video. Next to the holodeck, it really is the holy grail of next-generation viewing. The possibilities are seemingly endless - can you imagine a 360-degree video drone copter buzzing around a basketball arena or providing live coverage of a protest in a foreign land? A submarine wading through the depths, giving you the complete ability to pan around the undersea world? And unlike 3D or other crazy video tech, you don't even need a special TV - just a way to control the current area of focus in the video. You could even play it back on a smartphone, couldn't you?

Video courtesy of ARMDevices.net

A company known as Finwe was demoing just such a technology at MWC in Barcelona last week, and as the video above should fully convince you, it's pretty damn incredible. Utilizing a cluster of, essentially, 12 GoPro HD cameras glued together and then stitching the resulting files into a 360-degree panorama (done using a discrete piece of software), Finwe showed a fully interactive 6K (!) video playing on a Nexus 5. Utilizing the gyroscope, you can tilt and pan around the video in a full 360 degrees in a proprietary playback app. You can even pinch to zoom.

You can actually check it out for yourself right here in an earlier form, via a demo app published on the Play Store last year by Finwe - it's kind of incredible.

I wouldn't call the technology demoed in this particular app perfect - you do get some odd distortion around the fringes of the demo videos, but I imagine this will be a matter of fine-tuning and refining the compression / stitching process in the future. Regardless, it's hard not to watch this and think "yep, that's the future."

For the full experience, though, you should join the Kolor beta program (device support is, unfortunately, very limited for now - my Galaxy S4 just crashes the app), which allows you to test the latest iteration of Finwe's technology designed for playback on mobile on an all-new app with more video demos. Kolor is partnered with Finwe, presumably marketing the technology into actual products. Here are the instructions to join the beta:

  1. Log in to your Google+ account
  2. Join the Kolor Eyes Android beta testers community (click on the Join Community red button on the top-right of the page)
  3. Access the Kolor Eyes Android app page (you won’t be able to access this page if you’re not logged in to Google+ and if you have not joined the ‘Kolor Eyes Android beta testers’  community)
  4. Click on the ‘Become a tester’ blue button
  5. Click on the link ‘Download Kolor Eyes – 360) video player on the Play store
  6. Install the app and enjoy an incredible immersive video experience!

There are some more demos on this website if you want to get the full effect on a big display. The proprietary player isn't perfect, but it relays the concept well enough.

For more info, check out Finwe's website, as well as the press release published by their partner Kolor.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • h4rr4r

    The moto X spotlights thing works like this and it damn cool.

  • Proioxix

    This is pretty damn awesome. That S800 SoC is very powerful. Fantastic!

    • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

      Yea Qualcomm is doing a pretty good job!

  • dogulas

    Both apps working great on my Galaxy S III

  • Danny365

    This is the best thing I've seen in a while.

  • Nick Saulino

    "WAT" - Cameraman


  • serzhanja

    Yet still we don't get 120fps or 4k recording on nexus 5

    • Gabernasher

      What do we need 4k recording for? Low quality ultraHD video?

    • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

      Why not? The Snapdragon 800 should support it? Perhaps the Snapdragon 801 is slightly better optimized for 4K, the Xperia Z2 and Galaxy S5 with Snapdragon 801 may do 4K better.

  • Marcellus1

    Looks cool. Next step is to figure out how to stitch the output from multiple of these camera clusters together and let a viewer move around in the scene similar to a 3D virtual environment :)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Careful, I'm running out of minds to blow today.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

      .. and GoogleStreetView-ify the entire world at every possible moment?
      You go work on that, while I have some other stuffz to do :)

    • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

      I filmed this video, and I tried it in the vrAse headset (from Kickstarter), the experience is absolutely insanely awesome. You just feel like you are right there in the video scene, because every time you move your head, even a bit, or a lot, it feels like you are in the middle of the scene and it feels like you really are there, you can also re-experience the same video many times and each times it feels different because you never tilt your head exactly in the same way twice. Now I want to film every one of my family gatherings with a 360 camera in the middle of the room and all my family sitting all around it, or have the 360 camera in the middle of the dining table, perhaps hanging in the middle above the table like a lamp would.

  • WhoaManWtF

    This is the kind of article I like to see, I didn't know about this and it is cool! Downloaded the app and it is fun to play with only three videos right now though.

  • Kurt Thompson

    Coming soon to Porn...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock


      • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

        My friend's hot 3D video ball. xD

  • MJ

    Why would anyone limit beta testers only among people with Google+ accounts? This is not the first time I have seen this...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Because that's literally how beta testing on the GOOGLE Play Store works.

      • MJ

        One reason among many why walled gardens suck... Now I will be able to tell the grand kids how there used to be only three channels on TV and you used to be able to beta test software without a social networking account.

        • Brendan Dillon

          I know. I mean how ridiculous is it that you need to have a Google account to test software for a Google platform? Madness... I want to beta test Android apps on my iPhone instead.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          It encourages feedback about the beta. Don't like it? Don't use it.

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

    MX player is better, it supports more video formats.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wat. Surely, MX Player doesn't support 360 degree video, now does it?

      • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

        And I cant play why mkv files with this piece of crap yet it runs fine in MX player.

        • Shitiz Garg


        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii


      • Shitiz Garg


    • Shitiz Garg


  • flosserelli

    Incredible. But I won't be surprised when Apple buys this company.

    • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

      Or Google.. would make for a nice Google X Project.. $299 for a 6K+ 360 video camera to HDD storage, headmounted displays like vrAse and even higher resolution HMD from Google. Any other nice 360 panoramic displays which they could then also make, perhaps a system of projectors projecting 360 video all around you in a room fit for it, perhaps some kind of tent you would buy and deploy in your living room and with some system of projectors projecting all around it and you can then immerse yourself in the 360 scene without needing to wear an immersive headmounted display headset.

  • GraveUypo

    that's pretty neat.
    there's little use for that in real life but it's all so freaking clever and well-thought out that it almost makes me wanna buy one of those ball o'cameras there just to shoot these.

    • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

      It really is a new experience when you put your face inside of the vrAse headset, you suddenly feel like you're inside the scene, just because it lets you move your head around in any direction, that feeling is really special and it's different from watching video on a fixed screen in front of you, even a very big display, even imax, even any 3D or 4K screen, the feeling here is really special, but perhaps it will only really be special when using http://vrase.com type of headset, or some other headmounted displays to cover both eyes and the full vision, this suddenly to me gives a real usage case for Immersive Headmounted Displays, in a way that i didn't really understand before. The Sony HMD, the Oculus Rift, I think perhaps 360 video will be the most interesting usage scenario for those.

      • GraveUypo

        what i meant by "little use in real life" is that the equipment for shooting these videos are both expensive and unpractical, so it's possibly only going to be a big-company thing. so, consuming the content is great, creating it, not so much.

        i can see some vr-theaters using this sometime in the future tho. fully 360º movies. good for scares :P

        • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

          The way I see it a 1080p smartphone camera costs maybe just $10 in terms of the bill of materials, you could do some 360-degree camera ball with 6 cameras (in 2D) or 12 cameras (in 3D), price may still be less than $100 to manufacture the whole setup. Perhaps stiching can be automated and everything can be consumer friendly very soon, perhaps even also supported on YouTube soon enough (just as YouTube supports 3D videos and 4K videos).

  • KiwiBri

    cool stuff.. now how do I create my own 360 videos??

  • http://resbo.dk/ Søren Resbo

    Of course it's the crazy Finns who would make something crazy cool like this!