Facebook's entry into the alternative SMS game has quickly reached its fifth release. This update doesn't contain a huge visual overhaul, but it does have some impressive new additions to the main chat window that will make it easier to send all your non-textual communications. The update should be live for everyone now - check the Play Store if you want it immediately, or just wait for the alert or auto-download.
Even after years on the market and innumerable would-be competitors, GoPro remains the standard for "action cameras." A big part of that is the excellent smartphone integration that GoPro's devices have maintained, and today the official Android app gets a little better in a lot of small ways. The most obvious is the new user interface, which is visible on Android 4.0 and above. The all-black UI keeps its focus on minimalism and utility, but gets rid of some of the gradients of the former interface.
If you've got a late-model Samsung "smart" camera, you should check out this nifty function. Samsung Home Monitor lets owners of the upcoming NX3000 camera (and presumably other models in the NX line) view video from the camera's lens remotely on their phones. It's a neat application of the hardware available.
Using the simple app, you can treat your camera like a security camera or baby/pet monitor. Users can stream live video from the camera at any time, as long as there's Wi-Fi in the house and your smartphone has a data connect (Wi-Fi or mobile).
Taking the background in an image and blurring it is currently the big thing in mobile photography. HTC touted the feature when raving about the M8's duo camera. Google added a similar lens blur effect in the camera app it recently uploaded to the Play Store. Samsung, too, unsurprisingly packed this feature in alongside the plethora of others it crams into the Galaxy S5. Now Sony has uploaded its pre-existing effort to the Play Store, where it can more easily roll out future updates.
Earlier today, Google released a dedicated camera app into the Play Store. This would have been news on its own, as this method of distribution allows for camera updates without having to wait for a new firmware to come along. But the goodies didn't stop there. Google has completely redesigned the app, and while your opinion may vary, here's mine - it's better.
Why, You Ask?
For starters, there's a new lens blur effect that I've already elaborated on in great detail.
Photo Sphere product manager Evan Rapoport, who also manages Maps, Street View, Views, and Panoramio, had one more tidbit of Google Camera-related news to convey today. In a post to Google+, Rapoport announced that photo spheres had gotten a major boost to 50MP (about 11776x5884 pixels). This is up from around 8MP in the previous app, and the results are beautiful.
Most of the time, we execute APK teardowns by comparing the code of older app versions to an updated version. Newly released apps can hold juicy information too, though. We've quickly taken apart Google's newly released camera app and discovered a few tidbits worth mentioning.
Our primary target for this teardown is the strings file. This file holds a wealth of strings not yet revealed in the interface that look like they'll bring missing features back and add some new ones, too.
In case you missed it, Google just released an official Camera app into the Play Store. It isn't exclusive to Nexus or Google Play devices either, so go ahead and download it. I'll wait.
Alright, let's dive into the app's new Lens Blur feature. Google's released a blog post with some of the details. In short, it's one of the features of HTC One M8's duo camera made available to any Android device running Android 4.4.
What a way to start our favorite day of the week - Update Wednesday! Google just dropped the official Camera app into the Play Store, thus paving the way for quicker updates and new features without having to wait for and install OTAs.
The new camera version 2.1.037 has a brand new interface and includes a new lens blur feature for more DSLR-like shots, which you can read about here.