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Hardik Patel

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Android L Camera 2 API Features Include Burst Mode, HDR+ and More

After the release of Android L Preview source code for Nexus devices, we now have details on what features the new Camera 2 API includes and what Google has been working on from the past few months.
Android Police reveals some of the features that the new Camera 2 API brings along and how it is bumped up over its previous interface.
One of the most touted features of the Android L Camera 2 API is its ability to deliver full resolution images at the same speed the hardware is designed to capture. This means that the Nexus 5 , using the Camera 2 API, can capture videos at 30 frames per second in its maximum 8-megapixels resolution.
The Android L's Camera 2 API also includes the burst mode, Digital Negative Format, HDR+ alongside a complete manual control on the post-processing features.
Some of the other reported features included in Android L's Camera 2 API that can be controlled are exposure time, ISO sensitivity, frame duration, lens focus distance, flash trigger, colour correction matrix, jpeg metadata, tonemap curve, crop region, AE/ AF/ AWB mode, AE/ AWB lock, AF trigger, precapture AE trigger, metering regions, exposure compensation, target FPS range, capture intent, and video stabilization.
Last Google updated its Camera app in May with version 2.2 for devices running Android 4.4+ KitKat OS. The update featured two new Panorama capturing modes, besides the existing horizontal and vertical Panorama modes. The two new Panorama modes are said to be fisheye mode and wide-angle mode. The update also let users the option to click images in 16:9 ratio along with a timer mode with 10 seconds and 3 seconds option.

Friday, July 4, 2014

50 Cent's new sports headphones aren't subtle, and that's OK

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson was kind enough to give us an early look at his line of sport-friendly headphones on stage back at CES. Today, you get to see them out in the wild. As a refresher, there are on-ear and in-ear models and you can choose wired (Street) or wireless (Sync) varieties depending on how you roll. The on-ears come with a sweat-proof inner chamber and a rubberized coating to keep them looking box-fresh no matter how many laps you put them through, and there's even a sports "towel" (it's more of a cloth) included to mop your brow! The in-ears won't come with such luxuries, but they do come in the same striking blue, pink or yellow color options. The Bluetooth variants all support aptX, which is more than can be said for the other rapper-backed sports buds we saw recently. Prices are $80/$150 for the in-ears (wired/wireless) and $180/230 for the on-ears -- and we got an early look at some.

Running with headphones is a divisive subject. Some swear by it; others deplore it. Whatever camp you're in, earbuds are usually the weapon of choice. Not me. I much prefer the extra isolation that on-ears provide. I don't run on the roads, so traffic and other such obstacles aren't much of a concern. The problem is, until now, there haven't been many sweat/sport-friendly pairs of on-ears. Let alone wireless ones. These are two instant plus points for the new Sync model straight away. Not to mention that running isn't the only activity that might cause a sweat, where the participants want to listen to their tunes; there's a whole host of music-loving active types to cater to.

The new Sync wireless sports from SMS are, unsurprisingly, very similar to the existing Sync model. The most significant difference is the finish. The shiny plastic of the current model is out, and a new rubberized nano-coating is in. It's a decent upgrade both in terms of aesthetics (shiny plastic never really looks that good), and the textured finish also feelsnicer. The ear pads have been toughened up too. Not only are they covered with a perforated leather, but also the chamber inside is sweat-proof. The result is a sporty-looking headset that definitely feels comfortable once the heart rate (and sweat) starts to rise.

Looks are one thing, but audio is the money here, right? Already I suspect that critics are sharpening their knives, as is de rigueur when discussing any celebrity-made/owned/built/endorsed headphones. The Sync wireless sport are loud and definitely "ample" when it comes to the low-end frequencies; there's no skirting it. But, you know what? When I'm five miles deep on a run, that's pretty much what I want. The bass isn't ridiculous -- it's what you might refer to as "generous." I'd reach for these over a pair with a flatter response every workout, every time. You may differ of course, but if thick, pronounced jams are what you want, then these will give it to you.

Despite the obvious leaning toward sporting use, the Syncs will gladly fill the role of full-time headphones if you wish. The battery should be good for upwards of eight hours of playback (or talk, given that they double as a hands-free too). If you find you do drain them, there's a 3.5mm jack (and cable) so you can wire them in like regular headphones (which means they're good for all devices, Bluetooth or otherwise). When it comes to sport-friendly on-ears, the Sync wireless are hard to knock. Yes, some will malign the "healthy" bass; others (like me) will appreciate it when trying to eke out that extra drop of energy. More than that, these are the best wireless model I've seen from SMS to date, so either way, things are looking up.

iPhone 6 to Launch on September 25, 5.5-Inch Model Named iPhone Air: Report

Another day and another iPhone 6 rumour. This time a report out of China details an astonishing new launch date for the next iPhone from Apple, ahead of most dates in previous leaks. The report is accompanied with purported pricing details, as well as the name of the anticipated larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant - iPhone Air.
The report citing industry sources claims Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 on September 15, which falls on a Monday, while retail availability will begin on September 25, which falls on a Thursday.
Apple traditionally starts sales of new iPhone models on a Friday to capture the weekend crowd, so the dates seem a little fishy. Previous leaks (including a purported internal communication from a German telecom carrier) had indicated a more credible launch date of September 19, which happens to be Friday.
According to the China.com report (via GforGames), China will also be amongst the first countries to receive the iPhone. The report also details the pricing, which matches previous leaks, claiming the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (32GB) will cost CNY 5,288 (roughly Rs. 50,800), while the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 (16GB) will be priced at CNY 5,998 (roughly Rs. 57,600). This would also imply the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (32GB) is cheaper than the current 4-inch iPhone 5s (16GB), which costs CNY 5,300.
The same report claims the much-rumoured 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will be called the iPhone Air, following the naming scheme of the latest, largest iPad. The report adds that China Mobile and China Unicom, Apple's carriers in the country, have begun field testing the iPhone 6 on their networks.

Recently, Japanese daily Nikkei had posted two alleged images of the rumoured 4.7-inch iPhone 6 dummy model, side by side with an iPhone 5s. The leaked images corroborate what's has been widely expected based on earlier leaks, that the next iPhone will house the power button on the right panel of the device, instead on the top panel seen on current iPhone models. It also seen to feature the Touch ID sensor.

Previously, another Chinese report indicated the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will feature a 128GB storage variant. The report further claims that the 128GB storage variant will be limited to the bigger variant of the rumoured iPhone 6, and the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will offer the conventional 64GB as its maximum storage variant, while the 16GB variant will be dumped for both models.

An earlier report citing a research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested that the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would sport OIS (optical image stabilisation) for the rear camera. The report further claimed that the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will not come with OIS.

The Cupertino-based company has also been rumoured to be testing a higher screen resolution of 960x1704 pixels on at least one of the two iPhone models likely to debut this year.

Android Wear review: Taking smartwatches in the right direction

When I was a tiny tot, I watched Knight Rider and pretended I was Michael Knight, talking to KITT on my watch. Yet now that there are real-life watches that can do even more things, I don't find myself quite as excited as my 5-year-old self was. Smartwatches have been around for over a decade already (remember Microsoft SPOT?), but the category hasn't evolved at the same pace as smartphones. It's not because there's a shortage of digital wrist-worn timepieces. The problem is that there's no common platform for third-party apps, which means there's little potential for growth.
There also doesn't seem to be any vision. Some watches act as Android phones with SIM cards and tiny touchscreens, while others try to establish their own platform to entice developers. Still others have even tried to put fitness bands and smartwatches into one device, to limited success. Even worse, most of the watches on the market today are what you might call "fashionably challenged" -- they simply aren't attractive enough to entice the masses. Google's solution is to extend its Android platform -- which has very strong market share and developer support -- to the wearables genre with Android Wear.