Smartphone cameras are often at the forefront of hardware evolution year over year when the latest and greatest devices are announced. Whether it be larger pixels, more pixels, better auto-focus, processing, lenses, or literally more cameras, smartphone makers are constantly trying to tell us that the cameras on their devices are always better than they were just twelve months - or less - prior.
This weekend's poll is easy: how many photos do you typically snap in a month? That's not a terribly hard thing to estimate (heck, just go into your gallery and look at dates / frequency of photo taking), so I've given some pretty tightly tuned options that I hope will encompass most of your use cases.
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.
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.