While Apple users scurry online to order the new Apple Watch, you would think Android phone users will be left behind with the current crop of Android-based smart watches.
Not so. As reported in The Korea Herald this week, Samsung is planning to release a Gear 2 stand-alone variant with the ability to receive and make calls and receive notifications without the need of a smart phone. Names like Samsung Gear Solo are surfacing in the rumour mill but Samsung patent filings for “Gear Solo” to the Korean IP Office kinda spills the beans.
Although slated for initial release in Korea, I have heard enough from other sources to indicate it will also reach North American shores, perhaps by summer.
SAN FRANCISCO-ARRIL 8, 2015
Today Dell launched the Venue 10 7000, a premium tablet with detachable full function backlit keyboard with multifunction mouse-like touch pad. Available in Canada, the US and China in early May for $599 CDN and with keyboard currently $600 (US PRICE ONLY) with keyboard, the Venue 10 will incorporate its own Dell security work features on top of Google’s Android for Work which comes with Android 5 (Lollipop) OS. The Venue 10 (and other Lollipop Dell upgadable Android Tablets) can run both work and personal apps on the same device. But each will be separate from each other. For example, an employer would be able to wipe out an employee’s work apps from the their Venue 10, leaving personal files intact. Dell demonstrated other security features like not being able to screen capture mixed work and personal content on the same 10-inch multi-angle view 2560×1600 Venue screen.
Despite today’s sophisticated smart phone cameras, I still like to take more serious camera hardware along when I travel.
Why? Because a 16 megapixel cellphone picture is not the same as a 16 megapixel quality mirrorless or DSLR with interchangeable lenses.
Why? Picture sensors on phones, with the exception of the Sony Xperia Z3, are half the size of your pinky fingernail. Compare that to the postage size sensors of interchangeable lens cameras like the Sony NEX, Samsung NX, Fujifilm X, Olympus Pen and bulkier DSLR cameras.
Physically larger sensors record richer colours, more detail in shadows and less noise at higher ISO settings.
Phone cameras have no real zoom lens. They basically shoot wide angle photos with the ability to zoom in closer, but at the expense of megapixel size and quality. This means phone cameras can’t shoot from far away like zoom lenses on real cameras. Nor can they shoot extra wide angle photos.
The lens on a smart phone has one aperture, typically f2, leaving the shutter speed to control the picture’s exposure. Due to the physically small size of the picture sensor, the depth of field on smartphone pictures is quite large (making near and far subjects look just as sharp) and cannot be changed. Again, zeroing in on closer objects, or portraits with an out of focus background is impossible to do with phone cameras.
Phone cameras are best at quickly recording personal moments near you. They are small and handy, but there are images further out that are worth capturing beyond your personal sphere.
Here are examples of “tourist” photos I recently took in Barcelona after the Mobile World Congress I reported on my Global TV Sunday Morning News today.
They were shot with a 16 MP Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and the Fujifilm weather resistant 16 MP X-T1 with top tier fast aspherical extra wide angle XF 10-24 mm f4 zoom which captures 3 times as wide a view as normal lenses, the new 16-55 mm f2.8 aspherical weatherproof and the 18-135 mm f3.5-5.6 aspherical zoom, also weatherproof, for my ultra-zoom close-ups.
See the first group of still impressive quality Note Edge pictures, unbeatable selfies, great panoramas and medium wide angle views. Compare the variety of wider and tight telephoto views shot with the X-T1.
My selfie above, from CES 2006 in Las Vegas got me into thinking about what technology is all about. Especially after having attended similar shows for the past 25 years or so.
The word technology has Greek origins, combining “craft” and “discourse” a lot of which happens at every Las Vegas CES event. It plays itself out in many ways in four days and nights of events in Las Vegas , press conferences, walkabouts, personal meetings, and hands-on on what might show up in store shelves.
The CES 2006 “technology” playing field was much different than today. The BlackBerry smartphone had the North American market to itself with its “CrackBerry” line while Korean, Japanese and US tech giants still showed flip phones. The first Apple iPhone was a year away to be followed by the first Android phone in 2008.