Sony's phones used to stand out from the crowd thanks to features like water-resistance and high-resolution camera sensors. Now, everyone has those. So, what's next for Sony? Maybe a 3D depth sensor pointed at your face. Sony subsidiary SoftKinetic, which makes advanced camera sensors, is set to demo such a device at MWC Shanghai this week.
Cosmic Watch is not a watch face, or even a conventional clock app. It's an app that models the Earth, the solar system, and most of the familiar constellations in 3D specifically as they relate to both real time and any point in the past. It's also stunningly beautiful - you don't often see educational apps with such a focus on aesthetic beauty. The screenshots really don't do it justice; check out the video below:
The app is equally concerned with current astronomy and time-keeping and the more classical astrology, at least as it relates to the real model of the universe - there aren't any horoscopes telling you that you'll meet tall, dark strangers.
Back in April, some Project Tango invitees reported that the tablet development kit's price had dropped from $1024 down to the "special price" of $512. In an email notification to invited buyers, Google advised, "We're opening up sales more broadly, so now is the last chance to buy the device we've reserved for you."
Evidently Google wasn't joking, as today Project Tango can be bought for the same $512 price invite-free from the Google Store.
Dropping the invitation requirement just one day before the 2015 I/O keynote is certainly an interesting move, and may suggest that Google will have more to tell us about its 3D sensing and tracking efforts during the conference.
Capacitive touchscreens are not ideal tools for 3D modeling. Unless you have an active digitizer and stylus, or superhuman patience, or preferably both, the amazing models on display in the screenshots below will probably be unattainable in the new 123D Sculpt+ app. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to try out a tool that, at least on a technical level, has a lot in common with professional 3D modeling programs. The app comes from Autodesk (a company which should know a thing or two on the matter) and it's a free download.
Sculpt+ makes a few concessions to the limitations of modeling on phones and tablets.
Back in early 2012, mobile game developer Mika Mobile made the public and controversial decision to stop creating games for Android. Though Mika has deleted its original post explaining why, our own David Ruddock wrote an editorial at the time, explaining that the small company was tired of the poor exposure offered by the Play Store and a low return on investment for porting games that had to work on so many different pieces of hardware.
Google is rolling out a big update to the Google Earth app, and as usual it's a staged deployment. Never fear, we are here with an APK download. In this new version (8.0) you'll find better 3D images, cleaner maps, KML import, and more.
Google hasn't updated the changelog on the Play Store yet, but there's a whole blog post about Google Earth v8.0. The gist of it is that 3D images will look much better now with the new rendering engine. Roads will also get nicer labels and updated data at the same time as Google Maps going forward.
Autodesk's mobile offerings for Android are almost always impressive or useful, often both. From SketchBook to Pixlr Express, the company has consistently provided Android users with great apps. Today, there's a new entry in Autodesk's catalog that lives up to that reputation - 123D Catch. In a nutshell, the app lets users create 3D models of real objects using just their smartphone camera.
To get started, the app suggests capturing 20-40 photos all around your chosen object, most at even level with the object, plus some from a top angle. The capture interface gives a handy ring guide to let you know how completely you've captured the object, and once you hit the check mark, the app will ask you to sign in in order to put together and share the finished model.
An Amazon phone has been rumored almost as long as an Amazon tablet, but now we might have actually caught our first glimpse of this unicorn device. Photos acquired by BGR show a phone clad in protective armor to hide the design. It appears to have a number of unusual sensors on the front, but the accompanying information points to a use for them – Amazon's Kindle phone will allegedly have a 3D interface.
Internally, the Amazon phone is said to have a Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM, which isn't surprising. The 4.7-inch LCD will only be 720p, but what Amazon might do with that screen is interesting.
According to Chainfire, the night mode and color adjustment features from Chainfire3D and the original CF.lumen Gingerbread apps are frequently requested. So frequent, in fact, that they're back for KitKat+ devices as CF.lumen on the Play Store.
If you've ever used f.lux for your PC, you know basically what to expect here - color temperature adjustments based on the time of day, bringing tones more in line with your eyes' expectations when the sun goes down. CF.lumen can also match artificial light sources, and has a sleep mode which turns your screen red, so as to not disturb your "night vision." Users can also override the service any time, or have CF.lumen use the device's light sensor to make adjustments.
Google's newly announced Project Tango phone is packed full of sensors to give it a three dimensional understanding of its surroundings. Just how good is it at creating a 3D map? Well, now there's a video showing off what the prototype can do.
The test video comes courtesy of computer vision firm Matterport, which is one of the few companies Google chose to give an early prototype to. In the video you can see the phone being swept around the room, and it's not some perfectly designed test space – there's a bunch of junk all over the place. Project Tango still does a pretty good job, especially considering it is only equipped with a 4MP camera right now.