Everyone's found themselves in this situation at one time or another: you're in a picture-perfect setting, but a selfie at arm's length won't cut it. You want to be in the picture, so you wait for a friendly looking passerby and ask them to take it. But, now it's out of your control, and chances are the resulting snap won't turn out exactly as you'd imagined. Samsung knows you're too polite to hold the stranger up while you convey your vision, so it has come up with a camera feature that does the explaining for you. It's described in a recent patent filing, and the gist is that you select the backdrop and take an initial snap that acts as a guide for the next, similar to how some panorama modes work. With a silhouette of the desired scene now showing atop the live view, the designated stranger just needs to let you get in the shot, line the overlay up with the live scene, and hit the shutter release.
The patent application also talks of editing the overlay, such as adding a circle to show the photographer where you'd like your face to be in relation to the backdrop. If you want the passerby to know how well they're doing, the claims explain an on-screen "composition score" that would rate their lining-up skills. And, if you'd rather trust the final decision to the camera, a ball-in-the-hole scenario is described that'll automatically engage the shutter release when the live view matches your ideal layout. This is just words and a few diagrams at this stage, mind, but if the patent gets granted, we could eventually see such a feature added to Samsung's smartphones or Galaxy cameras. Until then, you'll just have to put your trust in strangers and hope they have at least a basic understanding of the rule of thirds.
Despite recent strong competition, several Engadget editors' love affair with the HTC One continues unabated. We've mused plenty on its Ultrapixel camera, but we're not going to refuse improvements, which is good, because that's exactly what HTC's offering its European customers. An incoming software update for existing handsets promises better noise reduction on slow-motion videos, improved dynamic range from HDR shots and enhanced audio recording on your Zoe clips. Naturally, there's some performance and stability improvements included, if you're not all about the imaging. According to SlashGear, the software refresh will arrive on European handsets this week, though we're still waiting for it to land on our own UK device.
24/04/2013 - Thinx upgrades the video monitor with embedded LTE and SMS alerts; ships in Q3 for around $500
As part of our tour through Verizon's Waltham, Ma.-based Innovation Center this week, we were able to see a brief demo of the Thinx 4G LTE video monitor -- a product that was briefly teased at CES, but we've heard precious little about since. Essentially, this is a rather sophisticated 1080p video monitor, designed for small businesses that would prefer that their monitors do more than just capture reels of archived footage. Thinx's solution throws in an admin panel and a smartphone app; users can install the camera and then define hot zones for the sensor to keep tabs on. If and when a specific event occurs (e.g. 50 individuals cross a virtual line), owners can be alerted via SMS -- and, of course, they can then view only the footage pertaining to said event with merely a click.
The aforementioned apps (available for iOS and Android) will allow owners to look in live at any time, with recorded video automatically stored on the included 4GB SD card, a personal NAS or a cloud storage facility like Dropbox. Better still, the control panel supports multiple cameras for those trying to cast eyes over an entire office complex, and there's room for a 12V battery that'll keep it humming along "for a few hours" should the power cut out. Tom Thomasson, vice president of marketing at Thinx, told us that the product is slated to go on sale in the US during the third quarter of this year, and it's one of "over 30" new products that Verizon will help launch during the 2013 / 2014 time frame.
You say you want a revolution? Too bad, because this Galaxy smartphone update is just that... an update. Samsung's newly unveiled Galaxy S 4 is an incremental step up, an evolution less "inspired by nature" and more by last year's GS III. Don't believe us? Just take a look at the two handsets side by side to see the overtly obvious heritage. Samsung's staying the course with the overall design language, though it's expanded the screen size to five inches -- now powered by a Full HD Super AMOLED display with 441 ppi (and yes, it's still PenTile).
On the inside, it has a processor setup that we're told will be either an Exynos 5 or Snapdragon depending on the region, along with 2GB of RAM, 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2,600mAh battery. Starting to see the bigger picture here? Samsung had a good thing on its hands with the GS III and it's not willing to compromise much of the tried-and-true with the GS 4. It will launch globally in Q2, with a stateside debut on T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular and Cricket. Until then, join us past the break for our detailed first impressions.
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S 4 preview
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S 4 preview
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S 4 press shots
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S 4 press shots
27/12/2012 - New Toshiba camera sensor lets you refocus after the shot, plans 2013 launch in smartphones and tablets
Hoping for some after-the-fact focusing in your next smartphone camera? Well, you'll have to wait around a year, but Toshiba's planning exactly that with a new module that houses an array of 500,000 tiny lenses. These are layered in front of the camera sensor, which can then capture slightly different images from compound lens arrangements.These can then be combined in a "complete" picture using Toshiba's own software. The camera will also be able to measure the distance between objects in the shot -- similar to how 3D images are captured -- with the user then able to focus on both close and distant detail, or even create images that are in-focus throughout. Toshiba says the module will also be able to capture video with a similar degree of focus management -- something that Lytro hasn't got around to just yet. The sensor is still a work in progress, but the manufacturer plans to commercialize the module before the end of 2013. Toshiba is looking to ally itself with multiple smartphone (and tablet) makers -- and here's hoping that it finds its way into a device outside of Japan.
Source: Asahi Shinbun (Japanese)
Last month, tucked in alongside news of the 1080p Find5, we got word of another, less macho Oppo phone coming to China -- the Ulike 2. This Ice Cream Sandwich-based handset went on sale today for the equivalent of $370, and you don't have to be in love with its ladyphone ways to acknowledge that it at least tries something different. Its front-facing camera rocks a full 5-megapixel resolution, putting the HTC One X+'s vanity cam to shame, while a countdown timer and a bunch of beautification filters (including face slimming and skin whitening) try to make all that extra detail work in your favor. The other specs are mediocre at best, including the 960 x 540, 4.5-inch LCD and 16GB of non-expandable storage, but Oppo is hardly alone in its views on what women want.
Source: Engadget Chinese
We're not going to lie. After spending some quality time with several Lumia 920 prototypes in Finland last September, we came away extremely impressed with the PureView-branded camera aboard Nokia's Windows Phone 8 flagship. It's the first handset to feature optical image stabilization -- the floating sensor and lens enable ultra-stable video recording and phenomenal low-light stills. Imagine our disappointment then, when upon receiving our Lumia 920 review units, the shooter failed to live up to our lofty expectations. While the OIS was performing as advertised, most photos we took suffered from an obvious lack of detail, an annoying fuzziness / softness. We reached out to Nokia and it exchanged one of our phones, but to no avail. Compounding matters, we also experienced problems with inconsistent white balance and exposure. The company never confirmed these issues, but hinted that the camera software was still being tweaked. We've been longing for an update ever since.
It's time to rejoice, because it looks like something's in the works. This weekend we obtained an exclusive set of identical pictures taken with two Lumia 920 handsets -- one setup with the existing PR1.0 firmware, the other running the upcoming PR1.1 update . Here's the great news: looking at these sample shots (see crop above), it's abundantly clear that Nokia's fixed the camera's fuzziness problem. The not-so-great news is that we're still seeing some issues with white balance. Nokia US recently hinted on Twitter that an update is scheduled "this month" and our source confirms that it's indeed PR1.1. The new software also includes many stability, LTE and web browsing improvements, plus Microsoft's own tweaks (such as declining calls via SMS). We've compiled the images (labeled with the firmware version, ISO and shutter speed) plus some composites (including 1:1 crops) for comparison in the galleries below. The originals (stripped of EXIF data at the request of our source) will be available for download here tomorrow.
Source: NokiaCareUS (Twitter)
Not all Kickstarter projects take flight, to say the least, so it's nice to see one like GoPano Micro that not only went somewhere but is continuing to evolve. The company has just put a new version of the 360 degree camera lens adapter on pre-order, this time for the iPhone 5. The tiny lens is mounted to a case for Apple's latest smartphone, and lets you film while panning in any direction by swiping the screen left or right -- as shown in the video for the last model, after the break. It even lets you scroll around the video after its been recorded, since it films the entire circular panorama at once. It'll run you $69 to grab one, including a second case for the iPhone 4/4S, so if you're looking add to your bag of cinematic tricks, click on the source.
Source: GoPano Store
Exploring the world with the hottest cameras and smartphones, I've grown accustomed to drawing discrete glances from curious gadget enthusiasts. In Tokyo, it was Canon's EOS M camera that netted polite peeks. In Hong Kong, it was the Galaxy Note II. From the moment I exposed the striking Galaxy Camera in Bangkok, however, those subtle scans turned into full-on stares, with several courageous passersby even inquiring about the latest Android-based Samsung device dangling from a strap around my wrist.
"Is that a phone or a camera?" Well, it's certainly not the best camera, nor is it a passable "phone," but for this early adopter, at least, it was poised to replace both. When Samsung first revealed its Jelly Bean-powered superzoom hybrid at IFA, the challenge became clear -- there wasn't room in my life for two Galaxy gadgets, but a 21x zoom-equipped all-in-one sounded mighty promising. After I finally unpacked it, the 4.8-inch, touchscreen-equipped, 16.1-megapixel shooter didn't leave my side once during the next two weeks.
It streamed music in the gym, downloaded e-mail on the go, and provided walking directions and historical context as I explored Thailand. But the Galaxy Camera's impressive zoom also brought me far closer to the action than even the most powerful camera phone, and a micro-SIM from iPhoneTrip enabled instant uploads to Dropbox and Instagram far from the nearest open hotspot. As you may have gathered from our review, the Galaxy Camera wasn't designed to replace anyone's smartphone, and with the jumbo footprint and mediocre battery upping the inconvenience factor, could such a device feasibly become your one and only? You'll find the answer after the break.
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Camera review
GoPro left its Android-using audience hanging (from a paraglider) when it posted an iOS app for remote controlling its cameras, but the group won't have been in suspense for long. The action video camera maker has posted a Google-native version that covers roughly the same feature spread as its Apple-oriented counterpart, including remote control, video previewing and daily highlight clips. Any aspiring movie makers will have to fit a narrow set of criteria to start shooting, however -- on top of an HD Hero 2 and a WiFi BacPac, Android 4.0 is a minimum requirement to start shooting without hiccups. Hero 3 support won't be coming until later this month. Despite the limitations, it's nice to know that we won't need an elaborate Google Glass setup to record our next skydive in a Mountain View-approved fashion.
GoPro app reaches Android, captures reckless Nexus adventures originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Nov 2012 08:14:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink GoPro (Twitter) | Google Play | Email this | Comments
12/11/2012 - Samsung Galaxy Camera unboxing (video)
Samsung's much-anticipated EK-GC100 Galaxy Camera finally hit stores in the UK late last week and we've managed to get our hands on one of the very first samples to cross the assembly line. We're putting the Android-powered hybrid through its paces at this very moment, but since this is the company's first entry in a brand new category, we wanted to have you along as we opened the box. This may be a camera, but it's very much a Galaxy device, and that's immediately evident when you first see the packaging.
The cam ships just as any premium smartphone, with a very thin selection of accessories -- you get an AC adapter, USB cable, a wrist strap and a pair of pocket guides (there's no user manual to speak of). Much like Samsung's latest round of point-and-shoots, it uses microSD cards and charges via a micro-USB cable and AC adapter. Even the 1,650mAh battery looks like a smaller version of Samsung's smartphone offering, rather than something that ships alongside the company's traditional camera lineup. Rest assured, we'll have much more to share later this week, but for now, we invite you to join as we unbox the Galaxy Camera in our video just past the break.
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Camera unboxing
19/09/2012 - Nokia Lumia 920 makes PureView appearance at Photokina with anti-shake video demo (video)
Sure, Nokia's recently announced Lumia 920 runs Windows Phone 8, but its banner feature is actually the PureView camera, which in some ways seems more capable than that of its 808 sibling. Company reps were on hand at the Carl Zeiss booth at Photokina demonstrating this latest handset's low-light abilities -- which are quite striking. Just as impressive, however, is the device's heralded stabilization feature, which captures an impressively smooth clip even with exaggerated hand shake. Considering the degree to which the Nokia rep was shaking, users with steadier hands shouldn't have any issue capturing excellent quality video. We were unable to view the clip on a computer, so our impressions are only based on what we saw on the LCD, but the feature was impressive nonetheless. We'll of course need to reserve formal judgement until we can conduct our own tests, but this PureView preview was certainly convincing, and quite encouraging -- especially the side-by-side clip comparing the 920 to a "US-based manufacturer's" smartphone. Catch it in full in the hands-on video after the break.
Nokia Lumia 920 makes PureView appearance at Photokina with anti-shake video demo (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Summer in Paris -- you can't walk a block on Champs-Élysées without locking eyes with at least one camera-equipped tourist. But Steve Mann's shooter wasn't dangling from his shoulder and neck; it was mounted on his head, with a design strikingly similar to Google's Project Glass. Unlike that mainstream Mountain View product, however, Mann's version has reportedly been around in one form or another for 34 years, and was designed with the objective of aiding vision, rather than capturing stills and video or providing a bounty of database-aided readouts. It's also street-ready today. While on vacation with his family, the Ontario-based "father of wearable computing" was sporting his EyeTap as he walked down the aforementioned French avenue, eventually entering a McDonald's to refuel after a busy day of sightseeing. He left without his ranch wrap, but with seriously damaged hardware.
What allegedly occurred inside the restaurant is no doubt a result of the increasing presence and subsequent awareness of connected cameras, ranging from consumer gear to professional surveillance equipment. As Mann sat to eat, he writes that a stranger approached him then attempted to pull off his glasses, which, oddly, are permanently affixed to his skull. The man, at that point joined by one other patron and someone that appeared to be a McDonald's employee, then pushed Mann out of the store and onto the street. As a result of the attack, the eyewear malfunctioned, resulting in the three men being photographed. It wouldn't be terribly difficult for police to identify those involved, but this encounter may have greater implications. McDonalds has since launched an investigation into the matter and seems to be rebuking most of the claims, but it'll be some time yet before the full truth is uncovered. Still, the whole ordeal got us at Engadget thinking -- is the planet ready for humans to wear video recorders, and will it ever shake a general unease related to the threat of a world filled with omnipresent cameras? Join us past the break for our take.
Editorial: Engadget on EyeTap, Project Glass and the future of wearable cameras originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 18 Jul 2012 13:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Signs of the Times, Slashgear | Email this | Comments
29/05/2012 - OmniVision's OV2722 sensor promises 1080p tablet video chats, probably more than you wanted to see
We're seeing rear cameras on smartphones and tablets get better all the time; what about at the front? OmniVision might have that side tackled through the OV2722, a 1080p-native CMOS camera sensor. It won't allow for magnum opuses of photography like the company's own 16-megapixel behemoth, but it's just big enough and thin enough (at 3mm deep) to give a serious upgrade to the 720p-or-lower front cameras that prevail today, including webcams on Ultrabooks. The new sensor is both thinner and better in low light than an earlier iteration, so we'll hopefully see fewer instances of blurrycam self-portraits and video calls. The OV2722 is in mass production now for unnamed clients, although we're worried that the resolution jump will show us a little too much detail in that chat with Aunt Mildred.
OmniVision's OV2722 sensor promises 1080p tablet video chats, probably more than you wanted to see originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 29 May 2012 17:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | OmniVision | Email this | Comments
29/05/2012 - Sharp Pantone 5 ICS Phone has 8 color choices, 3.7-inch screen -- oh, and a radiation detector
Color us shocked and jealous at the new Android 4.0 phone from Sharp -- strange and wonderful even by Japan's highly elevated standards. The eight colors of the 3.7-inch Pantone branded phone from carrier Softbank are nice for sure, but the ability to sense between .005 and 9.99 μSv/h of radiation is in a new category altogether. Though Sharp has hedged a bit by describing the detector as "non-compliant" with Japan standards at this point, the possibilities seem endless for such a feature -- the ability to constantly report your location and radiation level to Facebook comes to mind, for instance. It will be offered -- in Japan only, we presume -- with a 4-megapixel rear camera, eight Pantone colors, 0.3-megapixel front camera, 854 x 480 resolution, and will be dust-proof and waterproof. The price hasn't been discussed yet, but we can't imagine too much quibbling whatever it is, for a phone that could keep you gamma-ray safe.
Sharp Pantone 5 ICS Phone has 8 color choices, 3.7-inch screen -- oh, and a radiation detector originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 29 May 2012 02:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Engadget Japan | Email this | Comments
17/05/2012 - Samsung clarifies camera production shift, confirms commitment to point-and-shoot models
We've heard reports that Samsung has shifted focus at some of its camera manufacturing facilities away from point-and-shoot cameras with the objective of ramping up production of its compact mirrorless models. And while this move implies that the company's pocketable compacts could be doomed, that's simply not the case. We spoke with Reid Sullivan, Samsung's Senior Vice President of Mobile Entertainment, who reinforced the company's continuing commitment to developing and manufacturing point-and-shoot models -- in short, pocketable cameras remain a focus for the company, which simply made manufacturing adjustments to accommodate an anticipated increase in demand for recently-launched NX20, NX210 and NX1000. Point-and-shoots, for better or worse, are here to stay, and Sullivan explained that while we're unlikely to see new sub-$100 cameras make their debut, there's plenty in the works on the SMART front, with new launches in store for upcoming events like Photokina and CES. Whether there will continue to be demand for point-and-shoots remains to be seen, and while consumers are clearly turning to smartphones for casual shooting, Samsung appears to be in no hurry to abandon the point-and-shoot form-factor.
Samsung clarifies camera production shift, confirms commitment to point-and-shoot models originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 17 May 2012 13:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
12/04/2012 - HTC Titan II review
Titan. It's a ballistic missile and one of Saturn's moons. The word also plays a huge role in Greek mythology and in normal use refers to something of enormous power and influence. So it's understandable, then, why HTC seems to prefer it as a name for its phones. So much so, in fact, that the release of the LTE-enabled Titan II on AT&T actually marks not the second, but fourth iteration of the name: if you recall, the company once released two Windows Mobile devices called the TyTn.
We had mixed feelings as we watched the latest Titan get introduced at AT&T's Developer Summit in January. On the one hand, we were intrigued by the idea of a smartphone with a monstrous 16-megapixel camera, as well as LTE -- something the world previously hadn't seen on a Windows Phone device. But the announcement also took place a mere two months after its predecessor launched on AT&T's network, which gave us the sinking feeling Ma Bell's new strategy was to crank out a plethora of refreshed phones boasting only a couple of new features (see: the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket). So what of this sequel we have before us? Will it come out victorious like Remember the Titans or a disaster like Titanic? Is it worth it to new customers to shun the free Nokia Lumia 900 and shell out $200 for this guy instead? Follow us down the page and we'll fill you in.
Gallery: HTC Titan II review
27/02/2012 - Fujitsu quad-core phone hands-on (video)
Gallery: Fujitsu quad core phone
22/02/2012 - Nokia teases with imaging-themed video ahead of MWC
Nokia teases with imaging-themed video ahead of MWC originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 22 Feb 2012 05:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Phone Arena | Nokia (YouTube) | Email this | Comments
Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 flexes its imaging muscle (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 18 Feb 2012 23:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Qualcomm | Email this | Comments