Google's Camera app isn't the most advanced tool for taking photos. It completely avoids manual controls and generally lags behind OEMs for most major features. Where it's lacking in advanced features, the Camera app tries to make up for with a simple interface and clever techniques to intelligently deliver better photos without putting the burden on users. This means it works pretty well for simple point-and-shoot purposes, but skilled and professional photographers aren't likely to give it a second look. A teardown of a recent Camera update shows that Google is testing an option to save both RAW and JPEG files with each picture, a popular feature on many dedicated cameras and high-end smartphones. Read More
It's impossible to launch a new flagship phone these days without some fancy (and expensive) companion devices. At least that seems to be the approach that Samsung and LG are taking, and the former has a very interesting 360-degree action camera on the way. The Gear 360 captures both still photos and video in (you guessed it) 360 degrees thanks to dual lenses and a ball-like design. The Gear 360 is launched in Samsung's home market of Korea, and though it's yet to get a western release, the companion app is already available. Read More
Facebook wants you to share more - specifically, more photos and videos. With that in mind, the Wall Street Journal is today reporting that Facebook is working on a dedicated camera app to compete with the likes of Snapchat and Periscope, who are stealing the limelight away from Facebook's much-touted video platform.
The app would allow users to share photos to Facebook more easily and quickly than is currently possible - it's easy through Messenger, but sharing to your Timeline is a little more convoluted - plus stream live video with the tap of a button. Live video is of course new for Facebook, having launched on Android in February. Read More
Web-accessible cameras don't need much in terms of bells and whistles, but that doesn't mean you can't have them all the same. That seems to be the development direction behind TinyCam, one of the most popular IP camera viewers on the Play Store. The latest update adds some API strings that make it more compatible with the experimental multi-window mode everyone's raving about in Android N. That should be extremely handy for watching your front door and browsing Android Police at the same time. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More