Smartphones

Xiaomi patents a phone with a twisting camera

Image source: LetsGoDigital

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Following the launch of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola razr, the clamshell phone is back in the limelight. However, we don’t know whether the form factor will ascend back to its former dominance of the phone market. Regardless, smartphone makers have not given up on the clamshell as a lesser known strand of the up-and-coming foldable smartphone.

Detected recently, Xiaomi has submitted its own patent for a potential clamshell phone. However, the patented phone carries a more unique design quirk, setting it apart from current players in the clamshell phone market. As sketched by LetsGoDigital, Xiaomi’s proposal includes a rotating camera bar.

Image source: LetsGoDigital

When folded into a compact, users can twist the phone’s bar on top to switch the camera’s position. With the twisting feature, the phone can use its rear camera setup as a selfie shooter. Several form factors today have experimented with new ways to make the main camera setup as both the rear and front shooter. Xiaomi’s experiment is another unique twist on this design problem.

However, the rotating camera isn’t a new concept. Last year, OPPO patented another take on the concept on a slab phone, a potential successor to the N1 and N3 from years past. Unfortunately, the company did not move forward with the proposed design.

Likewise, Xiaomi can choose to dump the patent into the archives of oblivion. The company has often patented new designs that never made it outside of the patenting phase. Still, it’s refreshing to see further experiments into new and revolutionary form factors for the future.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi patents under-display camera technology

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vivo X50 series now official, employs Gimbal Camera System

Placing heavy emphasis on camera performance

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vivo’s been pretty quiet since the launch of the vivo NEX 3. Today, the company breaks its silence with the launch of the vivo X50 series. It consists of three phones: the X50, X50 Pro, and X50 Pro+.

The series is putting a strong emphasis on camera performance. Specifically, vivo is touting its Gimbal Camera System and its zoom capabilities. We’ll get to that more later.

The X50 series also promises a futuristic and user-centric design along with flagship grade performance. The company says it’s the first X-series to be released globally, so there’s a lot riding on these devices.

Gimbal Camera System

Gimbals are primarily used for stabilization. By adding what they call the Gimbal Camera System, vivo says they’ve unlocked the capability to take clear photos and videos while in motion. This applies, they claim, even at night.

Here’s how it works: the gimbal module, which was modeled from a full-size professional gimbal, moves in the opposite direction of shaking motion to provide stability. It also widens the rotation angle and anti-shake area — wider than the usual smartphone stabilization methods — to produce super clear images.

There’s a gimbal radar that lets users know when the frame is stable. It appears as an on-screen animated ball that reflects the gimbal’s movement. This works in concert with vivo’s motion-deblur algorithm, customized sensors and continuous focus tracking to improve the clarity even more.

If that seemed like it’s a lot to take in, that’s because it is. For our part, we’re excited how it actually works both in demo and in the real world.

Zoom and other camera features

There’s more to the X50 series than the gimbal camera system. vivo says all three are equipped with the cameras you expect from flagship smartphones. Both the X50 Pro and the X50 Pro+ have a periscope lens that supports up to 60x Hyper Zoom.

The X50 Pro has a quad-camera setup with a single selfie camera. Meanwhile, the X50 Pro+ sports a main camera that has a 1/1.3 inch ISOCELL GN1 sensor. This should result in photos with “breathtaking detail.”

The series also has a super wide-angle lens and a super macro lens, giving you versatility in various shooting situations. There’s also Super Night Mode for low light scenarios, and an Astro Mode for stunning nightscape images whether in a city or open field setting.

Lastly, there’s Portrait Mode. vivo says it’s now more refined thanks to a four-layer masking algorithm that not only separates the subject from the background, it’ll also let you apply separate effects for even better results.

A truly flagship series

All the phones in the X50 series will support 5G connectivity — which seems to be something we should expect from all flagship phones from here on out. The series will also have a high screen refresh rate — a choice between 90Hz/120Hz depending on the model.

Those screens, vivo claims, are now even better. They’re more flexible, slimmer, lighter, but also more durable than anything they’ve ever made before.

The X50 Pro+ is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+X55 processor. The Gimbal Camera System on the rear of the X50 Pro is in the shape of an eye for a unique design element. And lastly, the X50 is the slimmest 5G phone so far measuring at only 7.49mm.

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This wallpaper is somehow causing Android devices to crash [Update: Samsung to roll out patches]

Something about the color

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Wallpapers are one of the most personal ways to customize our phones. Whether it’s a photo of a loved one, a pop culture icon, or just a default one, smartphones become much more colorful and dynamic because of wallpapers. That said, the only time you should fear a wallpaper is when you accidentally show off a very NSFW wallpaper to a very SFW public. However, a new and mysterious wallpaper is striking fear into the hearts of every Android user.

On their official Twitter page, renowned Samsung leaker Ice Universe posted a seemingly innocuous wallpaper with a dire warning: “Never set this picture as wallpaper, especially for Samsung mobile phone users!” The photo depicts a picturesque lakeside sprinkled with tall, coniferous trees; a minuscule island stands at the lake’s center; warm sunlight filters through thick clouds, disturbed only by towering mountains.

Further, when posted to Weibo, the photo changes, losing its purplish-orange hue. In its altered form, the wallpaper becomes harmless. The leaker suspects that the Chinese social network filters out the photo’s “harmful ingredients.”

Original (left) and Weibo format (right) | Image source: Ice Universe / Twitter

(As I was writing this article, I tried putting the photo on Photoshop to analyze its elements. When I downloaded it directly from Twitter and placed it on the software, Photoshop also filtered the hue out. There’s something off about this photo.)

Naturally, after the leaker posted the photo, curious users tried the wallpaper for themselves. As expected, Ice Universe’s warning turned into reality for some. Strangely, the wallpaper’s mysterious power picks and chooses which smartphones to brick. However, based on the flurry of responses, it’s exclusively an Android issue. Besides Samsung models, Google’s Pixels and Xiaomi’s phones are victims. Curiously, only newer models are affected.

According to a Korean forum, the problem lies in the wallpaper’s image profile. Apparently, the raw image was created using GIMP, a Photoshop alternative. Unlike other image manipulation software, GIMP operates in color profiles beyond those that Android is compatible with. As such, Android gets confused when loading the photo as a wallpaper, causing crashes and bricks. Some have also speculated on an error in encoding. Regardless, it seems that the photo’s color profile is at fault.

Still, don’t try it out. If you do try it out, convert it to sRGB first.

UPDATE: According to a follow-up tweet from Ice Universe, Samsung has already received similar complaints in mid-May. The company has resolved the concern and will start rolling out fixes to affected models soon. It’s time to wait whether other brands will release similar patches, if they haven’t already.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 might now be in mass production

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Android 11 launch delayed due to US protests

#BlackLivesMatter

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Image source: Android Developers / YouTube

Coronavirus-related delays are commonplace in this newfound era. The global health crisis has forced various companies from various industries to postpone their much-anticipated annual events. So far, we’ve seen event cancellations, launch delays, and digital migrations. Today, another anticipated launch has been postponed. However, for perhaps the first time in a while, the delay isn’t canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.

In an official tweet from Android’s Twitter account, Google announced the postponement of Android 11’s unveiling. Previously, the company earmarked June 3 as the upcoming operating system’s debut. The launch would have introduced the system to developers for optimization with their apps before a more public release. That will now have to wait.

“We are postponing the June 3rd event and beta release,” Google said. “Now is not the time to celebrate.” Instead, the company will release more details “soon.”

Besides the ongoing pandemic, the United States is now buckling under a lot of civil uprising across several states. The protests are calling for justice for the brutal death of George Floyd, an African American man, under the custody of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. In less than a week, a revolutionary spirit rushed through the entire country, resurrecting the #BlackLivesMatter movement from very recent memory. Since then, several companies and personalities have used their respective platforms and audiences to spread awareness, goodwill, and justice towards the issue.

Besides Android 11, Google has also quietly delayed the launch of the Pixel 4a for coronavirus-related reasons, according to previous reports.

SEE ALSO: Apple and Google release contact tracing software all over the world

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