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October 29, 2012

Google launches Photo Sphere with Android 4.2 (also: 2560x1600 tablet & $300 unlocked phone)

Because of the impact of superstorm Sandy, Google had to cancel their new Android launch event scheduled for earlier today to take place in New York City. So they made their announcements on the interwebs. Of photography-interest, coming with Android 4.2 is Photo Sphere, 360-degree photography. This follows from their Street View technology. Images are stored in JPEG format and all the information needed to re-create the 360-degree view is stored in open-format XML data. This is great in that it doesn't introduce yet another new format or locks up data in yet another proprietary format.

Google has prepared a 37-second YouTube video to showcase this new feature (YouTube-embedded below)

New Nexus Hardware
On the hardware side, of photographer interest, Google has revealed a new 10-inch Nexus tablet made by Samsung featuring a 2560 by 1600 display (300ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 display. This of interest partially because the Adobe Photoshop Touch app is available on the Android Market ($10).

The new tablet comes with Android 4.2 and it has a rather reasonable starting price of $400 for the 16GB model, with a November-13-2012 release estimate. Other features include 2GB RAM, dual-core A5 CPU, Mali T604 GPU, 5mp back camera, 2mp front camera, Wifi (mimo), NFC, Bluetooth, etc. The Verge found the display on-par with the latest iPad. Given how mesmerized most tech sites and tech writers are with Apple, this probably means it beats the iPad ;-)

Also coming is the Nexus 4 smartphone made by LG, unlocked, that can optionally be used on GSM networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, etc) with HSPA+ (no 4G LTE). Sadly from a photography perspective, this critter does not have a memory card slot and the memory card options are only 8GB and 16GB. What is Google smoking? Thankfully the prices are reasonable for an unlocked phone, $300 for the 8GB model and $350 for the 16GB model. Other features include the aforementioned Photo Sphere, 8mp back camera, 1.3mp front camera, 2GB RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1280x768 IPS display (320ppi), 4.7-inch display, Corning Gorilla Glass 2, etc. Hands on at The Verge.

As far as the camera of the LG Nexus 4 smartphone, Google representatives told The Verge: "... Google reps say that a lot of attention has been paid to the low-light performance of the camera..."

Read More About Them
+ Android 4.2 via Techmeme
+ Samsung Nexus 10 tablet via Techmeme
+ LG Nexus 4 smartphone via Techmeme
+ a behind the scenes look at The Verge [NEW!]

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