We were pretty impressed with how the Pixel 2's portrait mode worked, and Google's deep dive into the technical details was easily one of my favorite reads of last year. The company must have recognized what a hit it was, as a new explanation for the enhanced technologies behind the Pixel 3's depth-sensing tech was just published. As always nowadays, a big chunk of the changes are a result of neural network magic, but Google also has a "Frankenphone" five-Pixel case to thank for the Pixel 3's portrait mode progress.
Dolphin Emulator — the popular Wii and GameCube emulator — recently returned to the Play Store, making it easy to keep updated as Android beta development continues, and so it has. According to the latest progress report, Dolphin now has support for on-phone rumble/vibration in GameCube titles. Landscape mode is now forced by default as well on Android, and the developers would also like to apologize for some recent changes which broke existing savestates without warning for many.
As with all developer previews, Android P continues to surprise us with small but quite useful changes. This one is something I've always wanted since I keep my phone locked to portrait to avoid the flip flopping of the screen when reading in bed for example, but there are few instances I prefer landscape like when viewing photos or videos. Until now I had to toggle auto-rotate to do that then remember to lock it again, or use a third-party app that specifies rotation state on a per-app basis. But Android P has a nifty solution.
Instagram has a reputation. It's true. Whether it's the users who constantly snap pictures of their food or the ubiquitous use of filters, something immediately comes to mind when someone mentions the social network. One major aspect of its identity, for better or worse, is about to disappear. Instagram will no longer exclusively support square imagery.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Instagram is finally acknowledging that cameras don't take pictures in squares. Yes, cropping is a thing, but good cropping is also part of taking a decent shot in the first place. It can be a pain to have to crop things down again.
Well, it's a start. While the Skype app for Android still has a bizarre and uncomfortable habit of forcing landscape mode, today's update at least allows users to use the portrait orientation if they're making a call. That's nice. Especially since the positioning of front-facing cameras on devices like the Nexus 7 make landscape video chats extremely awkward. Now if only we could get this for the rest of the interface, that would be great.
This isn't just for phones anymore!
Additionally, today's update brings a few bug fixes and support for Portuguese, Norwegian and English of the UK variety. Not a bad update.
In my review of the Galaxy Tab 8.9, I found that performance didn't seem to be quite up to snuff. A commenter noted that that was reportedly because the Tab 8.9 was designed to be used portrait mode, so the system has to rotate what's on the screen by 90°. And surprisingly enough, when I took another look at the tablet I noticed that it seemed to be true - things were smooth as can be when using it in portrait mode - it's simply that, unless an app requires it, I always use tablets in landscape.
So I'm curious: excluding when apps require a certain orientation, which way do you use your tablet the most?