Meet the Lumia 925, the latest smartphone flagship in Nokia’s increasingly populous Windows Phone portfolio. The 925 is clearly Nokia’s answer to criticisms of its high end devices being too heavy. At the device’s London launch earlier today, Vodafone’s Patrick Chomet – brought onstage to talk up the new Lumia which the carrier will be ranging in Europe — couldn’t avoid commenting negatively on the Lumia 920’s weight. For all the noise about the 925’s camera, its less hefty hardware is the key design difference here.
The 925 drops a full 46g compared to the earlier Lumia 920, weighing in at 139g vs the 920’s hefty 185g. The phone feels pleasingly light in the hand, helped by its slender profile: it’s just 8.5mm thick at its thickest point (vs 10.7mm for the 920). In order to achieve a sleeker, lighter device, yet keep the 4.5-inch display, Nokia has dropped built-in wireless charging – but it’s not ditching the tech entirely. It has included wireless charging as an add-on via clip-on shells – likely sold separately — which increase the thickness of the 925 by a few millimetres but don’t appear to add too much weight back on.
It’s a compromise but one that results in a sleeker, more attractive handset out of the box. If it’s a choice between wireless charging – which remains something of a gimmick — or a lightweight phone, most people would opt for the latter. And that’s a calculation Nokia has clearly made with the 925.
The handset design also takes a few steps in a new direction for the Lumia range, with aluminium edging running around its four sides – a band which doubles as the phone’s antenna – coupled with a polycarbonate back. The two-tone look and feel is a definite departure for Nokia’s high end phone design. Colour options are also more subtle, with the black version having anodized, almost charcoal looking aluminium edging, while the white 925 has silver edges. There’s also a grey colourway. The trademark bright Lumia colours are reserved for the wireless charging shells — including red, yellow and cyan.
The PureView-branded 8.7MP camera on the 925 is the other big focus here. The hardware introduces a sixth lens to the device, which Nokia says improves performance in bright sunlight. This is in addition to strong low-light capabilities, which it has touted on its other Lumia flagships – including most recently the Lumia 928.
During the 925 launch Nokia demoed both the low and bright-light photography capabilities of the phone, inviting the press to compare the shots with photos taken on their own smartphones. The Lumia 925 came off as better at snapping in the dark than iPhones, the BlackBerry Z10, the HTC One and even the Lumia 920, pulling a brighter, more colourful image from out of the gloom. It also appeared to capture more detail in strong light conditions in Nokia’s test conditions.
As well as the extra hardware lens, the 925 includes a new suite of camera-editing software called Nokia Smart Camera. This makes use of a burst mode that takes 10 photos at around 5MP each. It then offers a series of image-manipulation options to enhance the photo. Some of these features were a little hit and miss under the press launch lighting conditions. Others looked a little gimmicky, such as the ability to composite a series of movements into one shot. But others seemed like they could be genuinely useful, such as a feature that allows you to create the best shot by choosing from various facial expressions — much like the timeshift feature on the BlackBerry Z10/Q10. Or another that lets you remove a moving object from an image, such as a person or car passing in front of the scene you’re trying to shoot.
The Smart Camera software won’t be exclusive to the Lumia 925 for long – Nokia said it will be pushed out to other Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices as an update in Q3. But for the moment, the Lumia 925 has the lion’s share of Nokia’s camera creativity, including some new features in its Creative Studio image editing app, such as a tilt shift and radial focus. And the Oggl app.
One more new software addition in the 925′s screen settings allows users to tweak the colour saturation and temperature of the AMOLED screen to dial down how poppingly bright the colours are and opt for more muted, photo-realistic tones if you desire. Elsewhere, this is a business-as-usual Windows Phone 8 device loaded with the usual suite of Microsoft and Nokia apps, which include its HERE mapping and location apps and Nokia Music. It is also skinned with the new more flexible Windows Phone homescreen that allows for three different-sized live tiles.
The 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip powering the Lumia 925 doesn’t sound that beefy, considering the proliferation of quad-core phones in the Android ecosystem at least, but it’s as top-of-the range as Windows Phone gets right now. And Nokia argues that no more processing clout is required to do all of the image processing going on under the 925′s hood.
Nokia has officially pulled back the curtain on the Lumia 928 Windows Phone 8 device, which advertises its PureView camera as its marquee feature. The new flagship phone offers an 8.7-megapixel rear-facing camera, which boasts optical image stabilization for better low-light photography and more stable pics overall.
The new phone has wireless charging and NFC, as did its predecessor, and comes with a 4.5-inch OLED display, which has a 1280 x 768 display with 334PPI, the same as the Lumia 920. Overall, the phone looks to be fairly similar to that device, with Nokia emphasizing the camera difference as its major selling point.
Other stats include the same touch-sensitive tech that can work through gloves and with long fingernails that was introduced with the 920, a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm processor, a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It’s also sleeker than the 920, which should be a good way to convince buyers its an upgrade from the last one. The fact remains that Nokia is essentially just re-skinning an existing phone, however, so it’s not likely to upset the cart too much in terms of mobile industry composition.
Nokis is likely pushing the camera tech as the big difference here as a way to help highlight why the 928 might appeal to Android and iPhone customers, as the tactic of playing up the Windows Phone 8 angle hasn’t done much in terms of attracting customers so far. But overall this launch feels a little off-key, as the official reveal came by way of a simple press release, wedged between Nokia events for the new Asha 501 (in Delhi) which Elop attended, and one next week, which is definitely a Lumia event but about which not much else is known for sure so far.
Nokia is probably going to be rolling out a number of announcements next week, which could include tablet or phablet hardware, according to recent speculation. They’ll still have time to hype the 928, too, but it is unusual to see a pre-announcement like this ahead of a big splashy press event like the one next week. The Lumia 928 goes on sale at Verizon for just $99.99 on a two-year agreement just two days after Nokia’s event on May 16.
One of the coolest features of the Google Translate for Android app is that you can just point your camera at a text, tap the word you want to translate and get a translation back. Starting today, this feature supports 16 additional languages. Those are Bulgarian, Catalan, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Croatian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish.
That’s in addition to Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish, which the app already supported in its first release. Google uses optical character recognition and its machine translation tools to make all of this work.
In addition, Google is making its recently introduced phrasebook feature available in that app. The phrasebook, Google said at the time, allows “you to save the most useful phrases to you, for easy reference later on, exactly when you need them,” and revisiting them regularly should help you turn these translations “into lasting knowledge.”
The phrasebook is now available in Translate’s app menu, where it replaces the app’s ‘favorite’ feature. The service will automatically sync with your Google Account (assuming you are signed in), so any changes you make on your phone will also be reflected on the Google Translate desktop site.
“With your favorite phrases synced across devices,” Google writes, “we hope you’ll never be at a loss for words again.”
It’s worth noting that the iOS version of the app does not currently support translate by camera.
See the original post here: Google Translate For Android Can Now Interpret 16 Additional Languages By Camera, Adds Phrasebook Support
Built as a tool for chronicling your life, Days is a free, just-launched iPhone app with a mission to become your visual diary. The app fits somewhere in-between Instagram’s role as a spontaneous sharing utility and Backspaces‘ niche as a storytelling network. The idea is that, in many ways, our lives are more interesting than we think, and there should be a way to tell our daily stories with as little friction (and filters) as possible.
Just to be clear, Days isn’t a blogging platform — at least, not in the traditional sense. On Days, you use your camera to share what you’re doing, like walking to work, going out for drinks and meeting up with friends. You’re supposed to add photos throughout the day as you experience your life, but here’s the catch: you only get one post a day.
This limitation makes sense, but it certainly threw me off at first. Still, it’s one of the reasons why Days doesn’t fall into the dreaded “photo sharing service” category. A day, says Fisher, is one of the most natural units of time, and by constraining your posts, your result is a nicely packaged story recorded from 5AM to 5AM the following day. Plus, the capturing process is much less stressful when you’re not uploading constantly.
After you’ve gone through the signup process, you’ll quickly see the app’s well-designed, but unusual interface. You’ll be dropped into the “everybody” feed, which highlights past days from you and your friends. To the top-right you’ll see a tab which says “my days,” followed by a gear settings icon.
Down below from left to right, there’s the notifications tab, a drafts tab and a camera button. The camera’s there for you to jump right in and post a photo.
Since there’s no photo importing, you’ll have to try using this app as your default camera (your photos will save to your camera roll). That’s one of the toughest habits Days will have to try to break — the impulse to open your phone’s built-in camera — but it also ensures that users stay tightly within the app’s time constraints.
Days packs a number of interesting features, like if you’re taking a series of photos within a ten second time span, the app will turn those photos into an animated Gif (shown above).
For social features, you can leave comments on your friend’s days, including badges which have randomly generated text attached to them. Clicking, for example, the “rock on” button (shown below) may pre-populate your comment field with “Awesome” or “Rad.”
Fisher claims that the top-right icon in the image above, which auto-generates comments like “fail,” is chocolate ice cream, because he hates chocolate ice cream. We’re not so sure.
The app itself is nicely designed, but I also have my gripes: navigating back from viewing comments and changing settings requires me to tap a bold “X” instead of a back button, making me constantly feel like I’m about to delete something.
Additionally, I became so focused on posting my day that I found myself not spending enough time viewing my friend’s days. That may change if and when more of my friends join the app now that it’s live.
Asking users to take tons of pictures a day is an intense request, especially when most of them are likely already glued to services like Instagram. After a brief debate with Fisher on the matter, however, I looked up the total number of pictures i’ve taken with my phone, versus the number I’ve uploaded to Instagram. Only 440 pics out of 2,835 had been uploaded — less than 16 percent.
“What’s going to happen to those photos?,” asked Fisher. The obvious answer is “that’s where Days comes in.”
➤ Days (free, iPhone-only)
A lot of people don’t carry cameras anymore, now that they have smartphones. But that means that you could miss opportunities to capture great moments, especially when you’re missing out on the great optical zoom available on some more expensive or specialized dedicated camera devices. That’s what Snapzoom hopes to fix with its binocular mount for smartphone cameras, and the best part is that it’s completely universal, meaning it fits a wide variety of both phones and binoculars.
The project got started when Hawaii-based co-founders Daniel Fujikake and Mac Nguyen started using their own smartphones to film their surf escapades via a completely DIY, garage-made mounting device that they hacked together. They saw the utility, and other surfers asked them about it every time they went out, so they partnered up with a professional designer to form HI Resolution Enterprises and build a proper prototype using 3D-printed materials.
The duo took to Kickstarter to fund a production run for Snapzoom, and has already blown past its $55,000 goal in just over a week. The funding will help the two turn the 3D printed prototype into a glass-filled nylon injection molded retail product, which the company hopes to manufacture both in the U.S. and overseas.
“It’s going to be extremely tough, since it’s something that’s meant to be used outdoors,” Fujikake told me. “You can put it in your bag, you don’t have to worry about babying it, you can get it wet, you can drop it, it’s very very tough.”
Already, before even closing its Kickstarter funding, Snapzoom has had a lot of interest from well-placed retail partners, including U.S. camera equipment and accessory retailer B&H Photo. Based on funding interest and prospective retail partner enthusiasm, the team seems to have tapped a strong, unaddressed consumer desire, even if it is a bit niche. And it’s not just voyeurs who are interested; this is great for nature photography and action sports, too.
Snapzoom is looking to ship in September, and retail price for the mount is expected to be around $79.99, but currently pre-order backers on Kickstarter can get one for just $70. The team is working on stretch goals now, since it has already earned almost $10,000 more than its original goal.
See the original post here: Snapzoom Gives You A Smartphone Camera Mount That Turns Binoculars Into A Super Zoom Lens