New Qualcomm Tech Aims to Bring High-Quality AR and VR Mainstream
Qualcomm today announced a major expansion of Spectra, its effort to offer manufacturers a drop-in hardware and software solution for easily and affordably adding advanced camera technology to phones and other devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. The expanded Spectra suite includes three new hardware camera modules. The flagship module is an active depth-sensing camera that uses an infrared projector and camera to create a 3D map of its environment, much like LIDAR. The other two new modules are a passive depth-sensing version using two standard cameras, and an iris-scanning front camera. Previous Spectra modules focused on photography, while the new modules enable and enhance additional phone functions, including biometric security, advanced AR, room-scale VR, and AI-powered object recognition. Spectra hardware modules are designed with Qualcomm's guidance, but are made by third-party vendors. Each type of module is offered in one version from one vendor. The Spectra suite also includes ready-to-go driver software tuned to each hardware module, and uses unique ISP technology built into the company's Snapdragon chips. The three new camera modules rely on a new version of the ISP — to be found in future Snapdragon chips — that has been redesigned from the ground-up to be optimized for depth-sensing. The active depth-sensing hardware and software is compatible with Google's Tango AR platform, and should enable Tango phones that are smaller, cheaper, and have much better AR performance. When used for VR applications, the active depth-sensing can be used for position tracking that's good enough to enable room-scale VR in phones. This new version of Spectra also includes advanced new algorithms to reduce noise and improve low-light performance in both still photos and video, by intelligently analyzing multiple frames. The new capabilities will be part of the next generation of Snapdragon chips, which has yet to be announced.
Apple Improves iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with 3D Touch
Sep 9, 2015
Apple today announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which are enhanced versions last year's iPhones. Like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the 6s and 6s Plus have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, respectively, slim metal designs, and fingerprint readers built into the home button.
Snapdragon 845 Boasts Advanced Imaging Tools and AI Smarts
Dec 6, 2017
Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform, its flagship system-on-a-chip for 2018. Qualcomm expects the module to form the core of next year's top smartphones, which it will endow with multimedia smarts for both audio and video.
Google Says ARCore Will Push Augmented Reality to the Android Masses
Aug 29, 2017
Google today introduced ARCore, a software developer kit that will bring augmented reality to existing and future Android smartphones without the special hardware required by Project Tango. Google says it built ARCore on the foundation set by Project Tango, but has tweaked it in a way the will allow most devices to run AR apps and content.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Offer Refined Hardware, Improved Camera, AR Emoji
Feb 25, 2018
Samsung today announced the Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones, updates to last year's S8 models. The devices bear a striking resemblance to their predecessors and make only modest changes to the hardware.
Google Says 'Project Treble' To End Device Update Woes
May 12, 2017
Google today announced Project Treble, which it hopes will solve the pain of updating smartphones to the latest version of Android. As it stands today, the process is multifaceted and includes a number of moving players, including Google, silicon makers, manufacturers, and carrier partners.