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.
So you think you're too cool for selfies? Well, NASA's Curiosity rover traveled millions of miles and landed on Mars with a rocket sled, and it has taken a selfie or two. Having established the huge importance of selfies, you're probably chomping at the bit to take some, so why not use the new camera app Frontback? You can probably guess what it does from the name.
It doesn't matter which phone a Sony QX10 or QX100 owner uses, these cameras are better. The drawback is that the user experience is nothing short of awkward. One particular issue is slow NFC connection times, making it challenging to capture spontaneous shots (and aren't those the best kind?). Fortunately, this is the type of problem an update can address. Firmware version 3.0 is now available for both models, doing precisely that.
Google makes cool stuff. There's self-driving cars, that funky street view camera, and those experimental glasses anyone will be able to buy for one day only tomorrow, April 15th. Yet for every product that comes out, there's another in the pipeline that may or may not ever see the light of day. Last month we learned of a patent application for a pair of smart contact lenses that would process blinks as input for wearable devices.