Google Now on Tap sounded ridiculously cool when it was announced last year, but the reality of the feature has been lackluster to say the least. Google is apparently toying with a feature that could make it much more useful. Some users are seeing optical character recognition (OCR) as part of On Tap, but the implementation seems very early.
If you're one of the users who have committed to BlackBerry's first foray into Android with the PRIV, you'll be happy to know that the company isn't forgetting its early adopters or leaving them behind. It's been releasing security patches for its phones and now it's updating some of the preloaded apps on the PRIV: the camera, keyboard, and launcher.
The BlackBerry Camera app is adding a mode to capture slow motion video at 120fps (which can be played back at 30fps), but without any audio. The Keyboard app is getting plenty of enhancements to its prediction and usability, including learning from your social accounts and email, faster word deletion, and improvements to cursor control.
If you've heard of Leica, then you probably know your way around a nice camera... or at least a very expensive one. The German manufacturer, a private company that's over 150 years old, specializes in extremely well-crafted point-and-shoot and swappable lens cameras, plus lenses for a few other camera makers. With prices that start at around $1000 for the cheapest models and go up to over 20 grand for specialty and professional cameras, they're generally restricted to the most extravagant of luxury buyers or career photographers.
It's interesting, then, that Leica has announced a "strategic partnership" with Huawei, China's biggest smartphone manufacturer and a rising player on the world stage.
In addition to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung also announced an extra-special accessory at its Unpacked event. The Gear 360 is Samsung's first action camera, and not content to compete with GoPro and other conventional models, the company designed a camera that records video in 360 degrees at once. This is achieved with a ball-like body design and two sensors, each paired to a fish eye lens that captures 180 degrees of action. The camera and Samsung's software then stitches the video together for easy 360-degree presentations and VR playback.
The Gear 360 isn't the first 360-degree camera on the market, but with Samsung's marketing muscle behind it (not to mention integration with the company's smartphones), it could become the most popular.
OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage solution, is a nice alternative (or additional) option to Google Drive. The Android app has offered automatic photo uploads since Feburary 2014 when it was rebranded from Skydrive. However, for the past two years that the feature has been available, it has suffered from one major limitation: no automatic uploads from any folder except your camera roll.
This meant that if you used another camera application that stored its photos on another folder or if you had saved or received photos from other applications (say WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger or via email, etc...) or even if you had images on an SD card, you couldn't back them up.
Sony is becoming less and less of a factor in the smartphone world, but their camera sensor modules are second to none. You can find Sony's Exmor camera sensors in more or less every high-end phone on the market these days, including Samsung's Galaxy line and the iPhone. So when the company announces a new high-end sensor, it's kind of a big deal. That's the case today: Sony's camera division has revealed the IMX318, a new sensor with more megapixels, tiny dimensions, and a host of built-in features.
The IMX318 uses 22.5 megapixels, which is a modest bump over the previous 20MP design.
Despite being available on the Play Store and relatively easy to update compared to a new OTA software, Motorola's Camera and Gallery apps haven't received much attention in the past 4-6 months. The Gallery last got updated in September while the Camera's latest version dated back to August. The counter is reset with these new versions that began rolling out yesterday to both apps. But don't expect much in terms of functionality, we're merely fixing and improving here.
The Gallery's update adds support for Android Marshmallow so that all those Motorola devices that got bumped up to 6.0 can handle it properly and without any issues.
OPPO just announced that it was planning to announce a new phone soon. That's the gist of the story really. I guess the company wanted to jumpstart the CES news cycle by a couple of hours, without being ready to fully unveil all the specifics.
After receiving lots of positive feedback for its cameras on flagship devices, Oppo has decided to bring its photography experience to the mid-range. Everyone likes to take photos and Oppo wants to make it affordable without having to dig deep into your pockets for the top-of-the-line specs on all fronts. The result is the new Oppo F series, of which the F1 will be soon announced and ready to launch in January.
Android 6.0.1's headline feature is a new set of emoji, but did you know it also adds a handy new camera launch mode to older Nexus devices? The Nexus 5X and 6P have had the double-tap power camera launch shortcut since they went on sale (and dropped a twist-to-launch gesture), but now the feature has trickled down to older Nexus models. Specifically, the Nexus 5, 6, 7 (2013) and 9 now all support it as of Android 6.0.1.
We're still looking at the 6.0.1 update to see if we can spot anything else that looks new, but our readers found this one, so thanks to everyone who confirmed its functionality in the comments on the 6.0.1 factory image post!
The Sony Z5 currently reigns as the king of smartphone camera quality according to DxOMark. I've had the opportunity to use a review unit as my daily driver for the past week, and I have been pretty impressed with the image quality thus far.
One thing that I hadn't liked, at all, was that Sony was still using the same clunky camera app that debuted with the original Sony Z. Seriously, five generations of devices all using the same cumbersome UI?
That changes today. The Japanese phone manufacturer has begun the roll-out of the major camera app update that they previewed back at IFA.