For the past several years, improvements in smartphone cameras have followed the "more megapixels" mantra. Samsung's Galaxy S5 is up from 13 to 16 megapixels; Sony's new Xperia Z2 packs a 20.7-megapixel Exmor model; and Nokia's Lumia 1020 with PureView is a 41-megapixel monster. However, Google's recent sensor-laden smartphone prototype, Project Tango, could herald a new direction.
Though Mountain View is focused on 3D mapping, so-called depth camera tech could dramatically improve all the pictures you take with your smartphone. By using two lenses with different focal lengths, for example, you could zoom in on subjects with quality that rivals bulky optical zooms. It could also eliminate a number of other shortcomings without adding an awkward hump like the one seen on the Lumia 1020. You could soon have much better light sensitivity, less noise and depth of field control that rivals a DSLR. The benefits are clear, but Google is not alone in its pursuit. The battle for a better smartphone camera is on, and you could be the one to reap the rewards.
07/01/2014 - A chip off the 3D printing block: Samsung partners with 3D Systems for custom Note 3 cases (video)
It figures that Samsung would want to take its "Create" tagline for the Note series and press on into 3D printing because: You. Customization. The endless possibilities. And all that other jargon-y industry buzz buzz buzz. Well, now that the Korean electronics giant's taking a stab at the make-it-yourself wheel, it's partnered with 3D Systems to show off an app that makes custom inserts for specially-designed Galaxy Note 3 cases. The catch here being that it's not a soon-to-be released commercial product. This is all just concept for now and you have to be at CES 2014 in Las Vegas to test it out.
Instead of whipping up entire cases, the 3D Systems app allows users visiting Samsung's booth to create custom-designed coins (small plastic inserts that slot into the base of a Note 3 case) using its new entry-level Cube 3 3D printer. Coin creation is fairly straightforward with options to add a range of pre-set icons, text or free hand drawing. There are also three template users can choose from: a plain-faced Simple Coin, an Olive Wreath or Poker Chip. But 3D Systems told us that it intends to swap out these three templates throughout the week, so what you'll see will depend on the day you visit.
Once you've settled on a final design, the coin printing process takes about 20 minutes to complete, but not everyone who passes through the booth will see their designs come to life. 3D Systems plans to sort through all submitted designs and populate a wall in Samsung's booth with the best of the bunch -- a money shot we'll have for you later this week. So, there's your taste of the future folks: Big-ass phones, styluses, 3D printers and your unbridled creativity (actual sense of taste optional). %Gallery-slideshow159852%
You'd better put that coffee down before you exhale it through your nose. Why? Because thanks to the very kind folk at Cartridge Discount, you could win a 3D printer. A second generation Cube by 3D Systems, to be precise. Not only would this make any tech-lover's Christmas, it solves your shopping woes too -- now you can print those socks for Uncle Alan if you win. Or stock up on bargain toner from Cartridge Discount if you don't. So, undoubtedly this is one heck of a prize for our UK readers (sorry everyone else), but you're likely wondering what you need to do to take part? Well here's the best part, just head past the break, read the terms and conditions (important!), and choose from the assortment of entry methods we've laid on for you. Don't thanks us, thank your lucky stars.
Oh yes, things are really starting to kick off in the arcane world of smartphone benchmarking. First, there came clear evidence of phone makers manipulating scores in apps like AnTuTu and GFXBench, and now a more mainstream benchmarking company, Futuremark, has publicly delisted specific Samsung and HTC phones that it suspects of cheating. Futuremark says that the devices in question -- including the Galaxy Note 3, HTC One and HTC One Mini -- fail to adhere to the fairness policy, which requires that a device treats its 3DMark app just as it would treat any other app, with no tailor-made bursts of performance designed to achieve artificially high scores. Clearly, this bad behavior is just as endemic as we originally feared, so benchmark apps either need to toughen up, as Futuremark appears to be doing, or they need to find entirely new ways of measuring performance.
At last, the will-it-won't-it drama surrounding Apple's rumored acquisition of PrimeSense is over. The iPhone maker has confirmed the deal with AllThingsD, issuing its familiar statement that it buys smaller companies "from time to time." The company isn't discussing its plans or the terms of the deal, but ATD's sources claim that PrimeSense sold for about $360 million, or more than the $345 million that Calcalist reported a week ago. Whatever the value, it's clear that motion control will play a role in Apple's future -- the crew in Cupertino now has access to 3D sensor technology that works in everything from living room devices to smartphones.
When Motorola threw its weight behind Phonebloks' modular smartphone concept, it pretty much signaled to the rest of the industry that the Google company was dead serious about customization. But that radical vision of a completely upgradeable handset needs an equally radical manufacturing partner and Motorola's found that in 3D Systems. Today, the two companies have announced a multi-year deal that'll see 3D Systems building what Motorola calls "the factory of the future," and providing a complete end-to-end fabrication process for 'Project Ara.' As part of the deal, Motorola's exclusively tasking 3D Systems with creating new "multi-material printing capabilities including conductive and functional materials" to build these modules (e.g., chassis, battery, etc.) and help it keep pace with eventual consumer demand for 'Ara' phones. That's all if 3D Systems can prove its undeveloped printing process actually, you know, works. If not, well, 3D Systems can kiss that exclusivity agreement goodbye.
29/08/2013 - Skype is working on 3D video call capability, is held back by current technology's limitations
In an interview with the BBC (which has canned making its own 3D content), Skype's VP Mark Gillett says that the Microsoft VoIP service has been working on developing 3D calls. Don't expect the capability to arrive soon, however, as Gillet soon added that it could be years before the tech gets to Skype users. "we've done work in the labs looking at the capability of 3D screens and 3D capture... we've seen a lot of progress... but the capture devices are not yet there."
"We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work", he added, saying that the company was looking into the device ecosystem and the capability to support the feature before it ever made it to a consumer launch. Also, if you liked the sound of full HD video, expect it to hit tablets and other laptops before it reaches your smartphone. The VP explained that due to the higher-level processing it entailed, it was looking into those platforms first.
We've already seen Motorola's rumored Moto X in press renders, photos, videos and even the hands of a Google executive; why not throw some benchmarks and specifications into the mix? Android Police is more than happy to add that grist to the rumor mill with a set of photos that reportedly show the AT&T Moto X ("Ghost") running AnTuTu and 3DMark tests. If accurate, the scores hint at a mid-range Android 4.2.2 phone whose 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM produce good (though not great) results. The rest of the visible specs are equally middle-of-the-road -- we see a 720p screen, 16GB of built-in storage, NFC, a 10.5-megapixel rear camera and a 2.1-megapixel front shooter. The hardware alone may not tempt customers, then, but Motorola could be counting on customization and software tricks to lure more customers. We'll know the full story on August 1st.
Source: Android Police
Despite dropping prices in the 3D printer market, not everybody's able to get a MakerBot and print the objects of their desire. Today, however, eBay's launching a way -- aside from trekking to MakerBot's brick and mortar -- for folks to get their 3D printing fix. It's called eBay Exact, an iOS app that lets you buy customizable 3D printed objects from MakerBot, Sculpteo or Hot Pop Factory. For now, you can choose from 18 basic objects that are mostly jewelry, but figurines and phone cases are also available. To place an order, you simply choose your object, then pick from the available customization choices (mostly color and materials options) and check out. It's a fairly simple idea, but you know what's better than us describing it to you? Seeing it for yourself... your download awaits.
Via: The Next Web
Source: eBay Exact
Remember the View-Master? We've already seen goggles from Hasbro and Sanwa that transform the iPhone into a 3D viewer, but Poppy plans to spice things up by adding 3D photo and video capture to the mix. The device, which contains no electronics, is about the size of medium pair of binoculars and features a slot which accepts an iPhone 5. It's launching on Kickstarter today for less than $50, along with a matching app. We got the chance to take a prototype for a spin and it worked like a charm. Check out the gallery and campaign link below, then read on after the break.
Gallery: Poppy hands-on
Source: Poppy (Kickstarter)
Intel's just announced the Creative Senz3D Peripheral Camera at the company's Computex keynote in Taipei. The camera lets users manipulate objects on the screen using gestures and is able to completely eliminate the background. It appears to be an evolution of the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera we recently played with at IDF in Beijing. This new 3D depth camera is expected to become available next quarter and Intel plans to incorporate the technology into devices during the second half of 2014. "It's like adding two eyes to my system," said Tom Kilroy, Intel's VP of marketing. The company's been talking about "perceptual computing" for some time, so it'll be interesting to see the idea come to fruition.
Take the 3D sensor inside the Microsoft Kinect, shrink it down to a tenth of its original size and add a bunch of mobile capabilities, and you have yourself PrimeSense's latest conquest, better known as Capri. The company, which is the brains behind the Kinect, has been openly working on bringing a tiny-yet-advanced 3D experience to tablets, televisions and smartphones for quite some time now. And it's proud enough of its progress so far that it's willing to give some real-life demonstrations to developers attending Google I/O. You may not see Capri embedded on the PCB of your portable gadget anytime soon -- at least, not until PrimeSense winds up wooing the pants off a lucky OEM or two -- so in the meantime, the company has connected the sensor board to the Nexus 10 via micro-USB.
Unlike the Kinect, however, PrimeSense doesn't think gestures will play a significant role in how we use Capri to interact with our gadgets. Rather, it seems to be more focused on 3D-based use case scenarios, many of which haven't even been thought up yet. As you'll see in the video below, we were shown an AR game that takes the environment around you -- walls, furniture and other elements -- and uses them as restrictions, just as much as they would be in real life. In another app, Capri snapped a three-dimension shot of an object on the table in front of us, captured its measurements and let us export that image to another device or even a 3D printer. In many respects, PrimeSense appears to be taking the same strategy Google does with Glass: get developers excited about the tech in the hopes they'll come up with clever uses for it. And while the company isn't ready to put Capri in their hands yet, the SDK is up for grabs, and I/O is no doubt an ideal place to build excitement for it. If you're looking for more info, we have a gallery, video and press release below, and you'll find the SDK at the More Coverage link.
There are plenty of choices to meet your mobile mapping needs, from feature-rich offerings from big names like Google, Apple and Nokia to crowd-sourced services like Waze. Telenav's Scout app falls somewhere in between, and today the company announced that it'll get both 3D buildings and landmarks and crowd-sourced traffic reporting (backed by the Open Street Map database) later this year. Graphically, Scout in 3D looks similar to Google Maps and will initially be available for major metro areas in the US.
As for traffic reporting, Telenav will be asking its 34 million subscribers to report accidents and traffic jams, and will update its database in real-time. That means that as road conditions change, Scout'll suggest faster alternate route options to get you from point A to point B hassle-free. No word exactly when these new capabilities will make it to users, but when they do arrive later this year, both premium and free users will get 'em. In the meantime, check out the video of the new 3D maps in action after the break.
Android just gained another go-to for benchmarking. After failing to hit the 2012 mark for its Android-specific performance software, Futuremark's finally delivering on its promise and making 3DMark available today on Google Play. Typically used as a PC benchmarking tool, the free-to-download app now lets users catalog and compare performance across Windows and Android devices -- iOS and WinRT versions are still listed as "coming soon." There are a few caveats to use, though, as the application requires a smartphone or tablet running Android 3.1 or higher, 300MB of storage space, a minimum of 1GB RAM and needs to play nice with OpenGL ES 2.0 (which is about 90 percent of all Android devices, according to Google). Who knows? It could even find a permanent place in our own Android reviews soon. Only time and testing will tell -- check after the break for a video preview of what's in store.
Via: Xperia blog
We've come across a number of DLP-based pico projectors over the years and while these products are getting smaller, brighter and higher resolution, it's the integration with other devices that's really captured our imagination. Samsung's Galaxy Beam, which we reviewed last year, merges a 15-lumen nHD (640x360) DLP-based pico projector with a Galaxy S Advance. More recently at CES 2013, Texas Instruments announced its new Tilt & Roll Pixel chip architecture and demoed a handful of other DLP-equipped products live on our stage, including 3M's Streaming Projector and Smart Devices' U7 tablet.
Gallery: Texas Instruments DLP tech hands-on
Gallery: SmartDevices U7 tablet hands-on
The company recently invited us to play with some of these devices and to show us other applications in areas such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, optical research, medical imaging and even automotive. Some of this DLP-equipped tech, like the Interactive Center Console, shows where we're headed in the near future -- other products, like Christie's VeinViewer Flex, exist today but remind us of something right out of science-fiction. Take a look at our galleries below, then join us after the break for our hands-on video and more info on these devices.
Yes, finally, you can buy a Nintendo 3DS with dragons on it. Today is the day. Well, not quite -- February 4th is the actual day, which is also the day that Fire Emblem Awakening launches on Nintendo's latest portable console. The dragon-emblazoned 3DS is just one small part of the package, as you'll also snag a 4GB SD memory card and the game itself pre-installed on said 3DS. Altogether, the whole package runs just $199, for a savings of approximately $10. It's no Pokémon-themed 3DS, but it'll do, we suppose. Take an even closer look at the limited edition 3DS just below the break.
20/11/2012 - Visualized: a tour of Ben Heck's lab (video)
We've been following Ben Heck since the days of the Atari 800 laptop, so we jumped at the chance to take a look at the modder extraordinaire's shop in Madison, WI. As expected, the place is jam-packed with industrial tools, 3D printers and half-finished pinball machines. Check out where the magic happens below -- and as a bonus, Heck takes us on a tour of his work-in-progress Ghost Squad pinball machine.
Gallery: Visualized: a tour of Ben Heck's lab
You'll likely miss 3D Robotics on first pass. The company's San Diego R&D facility is headquartered in an unassuming building amongst similarly nondescript offices in a maze of a business park. Enter through the back and you'll find yourself in the middle of a small manufacturing assembly, where industrial Pick and Place machines buzz loudly and a handful of women are QAing finished product. Until earlier this month, the site was mostly off the radar, save for a devoted group of online enthusiasts. Then, Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson announced he was leaving the magazine in order to head up the company.
Anderson's off grabbing lunch as we arrive -- like us, just off a flight from the East Coast for a brief visit before jumping on yet another plane. He's in transition at the moment, as the head of both Wired and 3D Robotics, trying out his keycard for the first time as we set up our film equipment to interview the newly minted executive for an upcoming Engadget Show segment. Anderson's ties to the company go back to its inception, however, co-founding 3D Robotics with Jordi Muñoz, a 19-year-old living in Tijuana when the two first met through Anderson's DIY Drones online community.
Filed under: Robots
The potential for home 3D printing has regularly been limited by size; even MakerBot's Replicator 2 can only go so far in matching our ambitions. Solidoodle sees that deficit as a chance to make its name in a still very young industry. Its new Solidoodle 3 printer covers an extra two inches in every dimension than the Solidoodle 2, doubling the printable area to an extra-large 512 cubic inches. The 8-inch by 8-inch by 8-inch space isn't as long as what's inside the MakerBot challenger, but it's larger overall and improves on Solidoodle-built ancestors with a newer spool that cuts back on tangles in the plastic filament. Should any projects be too big for existing 3D printers' britches, the Solidoodle 3 is up for pre-order today at a size-appropriate $799. Do brace for a long wait, however: at 8-10 weeks before shipping, the company doesn't expect any deliveries until January.
Filed under: Peripherals
Just because Nintendo is focusing its energy on the Wii U launch doesn't preclude a sweet deal or two in portable gaming. Starting November 23rd, the company is bundling Super Mario 3D Land with Flame Red 3DS models at the same $170 price as the handheld by itself; it even comes pre-loaded on memory to save some of the hassles of physical media. You can be sure the limited-run console is all about goosing Black Friday sales at a time when Nintendo really needs the boost, but we don't think too many mobile gamers will mind if it means entering 3DS ownership with one of the platform's better games in hand.
LG Electronics has reported its earnings for Q3 2012, notching its third straight quarter of positive income with a net profit of 157 billion won ($138.57 million) and "solid" performances from its home theater and mobile businesses. Revenue is down from the same period last year, but seeing as it's actually making money this time around it's probably still reason to celebrate. On the mobile side of the aisle it reports an operating profit of $19.42 million with slightly higher sales than Q2, mostly thanks to those LTE smartphones it's been rolling out. Its home entertainment biz noted a rise in LCD sales, with 3D TVs and LED-lit models growing from last quarter in most markets. Looking towards the future it's obviously going all-in on the Optimus G (although our interests run towards the Nexus G that should debut next week), and also looks for its Ultra HD television to raise its standing as a premium brand. Check the press release after the break and PDF linked below for more numbers if that's your thing.
LG records a 'solid' $138.57 million net profit for Q3, keeps the positive trend going originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 00:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | LG, Q3 2012 Results (PDF) | Email this | Comments
04/10/2012 - Pika? Yes, pika: this very yellow Pokemon-themed Nintendo 3DS XL is heading to Europe this year
The incredibly bright, somewhat terrifying yellow Nintendo 3DS XL that Japan got last month is now heading to Europe, according to a Europe-specific Nintendo Direct press conference this afternoon (via Joystiq). The Pikachu-themed 3DS doesn't have a solid release date just yet, but it's said to arrive at some point in 2012. A price also isn't included (though it costs ¥18,900/$238 in Japan), nor is it known if the device will be exclusive to one retailer -- in Japan, you can only buy a 3DS XL plastered with Pikachu's indifferent smirk from a Pokemon Center. Regardless, it's clearly super, super cute, and we'll have more definite information on it soon.
Does this mean it's coming to the US? Keep those poke-fingers crossed, trainers.
Pika? Yes, pika: this very yellow Pokemon-themed Nintendo 3DS XL is heading to Europe this year originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 04 Oct 2012 16:14:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Joystiq | Nintendo Direct EU | Email this | Comments
16/08/2012 - MPEG drafts twice-as-efficient H.265 video standard, sees use in phones as soon as 2013
All of that squabbling over H.264 may be rendered moot in the near future. The Motion Picture Experts Group (better known as MPEG) has just let us know that it was quietly drafting a new video standard while everyone was on summer vacation last month: H.265, also called High Efficiency Video Coding, promises to squeeze video sizes with double the efficiency of H.264. As you might imagine, this could lead either to a much smaller video footprint for bandwidth-starved mobile users or a hike to image quality with the same size as before. Imagine fast-loading HD streaming on 4G, or cable TV without all the excess compression, and you've got the idea. Ericsson Research visual technology lead Per Fröjdh anticipates H.265 coming as soon as 2013, when our smartphones and tablets are most likely to play it first. TV and other areas might have to wait, although Fröjdh is offering a consolation prize -- he's teasing a separate MPEG project that could give us glasses-free, compressed 3D video as a standard by 2014.
MPEG drafts twice-as-efficient H.265 video standard, sees use in phones as soon as 2013 originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 15 Aug 2012 21:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | 9to5 Mac | Email this | Comments
Almost every day it seems like folks are finding a way to add to the number of practical uses for 3D printers. What was once a hobbyist's dream gadget is now being used to produce faux arteries for lab-grown tissue and Magic Arms. As the pricey peripherals work their way into the mainstream, are they soon to be found in most homes? That's the quandary we tackle in this edition of our weekly tablet mag as Brian Heater spends some quality time with the MakerBot Replicator at Engadget's NYC Headquarters. Not really into $2,000 output devices? No sweat. The Meizu MX 4-core, Toshiba U845W and Parrot Zik headphones all get the proper review treatment. "Hands-on" visits SIGGRAPH, "Weekly Stat" examines the shortcomings of our handsets, "Reaction Time" discusses THQ, "IRL" packs in three more of our gadget confessions and GameStop CEO Paul Raines admits his affinity for Jelly Bean in this week's Q&A. Go on and usher in the weekend by hitting up your download link of choice down below.
Filed under: Announcements
Distro Issue 52: Does the MakerBot Replicator signal the dawn of in-home 3D printing? originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 09:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | iTunes, Google Play | Email this | Comments
10/08/2012 - Google Earth adds detailed 3D imagery for Denver and Seattle, might not render the local Starbucks
Google only launched detailed 3D maps in Google Earth for a handful of cities, but it's branching out to provide that extra dimension to a wider swath of the public. Today, it's Denver and Seattle: Android and iOS app users can immediately see the dense, textured 3D City View in their respective western cities. The updates probably won't let Seattle residents spot their hometown coffee brand without going into Street View, but it will let them thread the eye of the Space Needle while their friends in Denver spin past the State Capitol. We can't help but think that Google also enjoys offering some Microsoft staffers a little taste of what they're missing.
Google Earth adds detailed 3D imagery for Denver and Seattle, might not render the local Starbucks originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 02:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink The Next Web | Google Lat Long Blog | Email this | Comments