Tag Archives: Pixel

Google 'Accidentally' Reveals Massive Pixel 3 Upgrade
July 29, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Google has done a great job of leaking its new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on multiple occasions. And now the company has ‘accidentally’ done it again… 

Picked up by the eagled-eyed 9to5Google, today the Google app was updated to version 8.14 and it contains new code which goes a long way to confirming both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will add what is arguably the range’s biggest omission: wireless charging.

Pixel 3 XL ConceptConcept Creator

The giveaway in the updated Google App comes via a string of code referencing a new smart ‘Pixel Stand’. This operates like a smart speaker, gaining access to the Google Assistant by pairing with a Pixel while the phone’s display becomes a contextual, glanceable screen in response to the questions asked.

This functionality requires a Pixel owner to give explicit permission to access this data. As the new Google app code reveals:

<string name=”trusted_dock_action_text”>I Agree</string>

<string name=”trusted_dock_cancel_text”>No thanks</string>

<string name=”trusted_dock_message”>Your Assistant can use your personal info to make suggestions, answer questions, and take actions for you when your phone is locked and on your Pixel Stand</string>

<string name=”trusted_dock_title”>Get personalized help when your phone is on your Pixel Stand</string>

But what about the wireless charging part?

This comes together via a previous version of the Google App which the company launched in June. Code within that version gave away that Google is working on a wireless charging dock codenamed ‘dreamliner’. Given neither the Pixel nor Pixel 2 have wireless charging, their development suggested it must be for the Pixel 3. Now we have the ‘Pixel Stand’.

Pixel 3 XL leaked prototype was verified as realXDA Forums

Adding icing to this cake is the prior leak of a Pixel 3XL prototype which was found to have replaced the metal and glass back of the Pixel and Pixel 2 with gloss and matt glass. Apple made a similar transition from metal to glass last year with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X and it was specifically to introduce the conductivity required for wireless charging.

Will this addition be enough to compensate for concerns about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL’s controversial styling and high prices? Well, the Pixel 2XL combined super slick software with great battery life and a jaw-dropping camera to stand out as the best smartphone of 2017, so I have high hopes…

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Pixel Visual Core Now Adds HDR+ To Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat Images
February 5, 2018 6:07 pm|Comments (0)

When Google launched its Pixel 2 flagship smartphone last year, it included something of a surprise: A co-processor called Pixel Visual Core, the company’s first homegrown, consumer-facing piece of silicon. And while that feels like a momentous foray, the co-processor has lain dormant for months. Monday, Pixel Visual Core goes to work.

As it turns out—and as Google had nodded at previously—the hidden chip inside every Pixel serves a narrow but critical purpose. It will use its eight custom cores, its ability to crunch 3 trillion operations per second, all in the service of making your photos look better. Specifically, the photos you take through third-party apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat.

Those are the three partners at the Pixel Visual Core switch-flipping; since it’s open to all developers, more will presumably follow. They’ll all gain the powers to produce Google’s HDR+ images, photos that rely on a series of post-processing tricks to make images shot with the Pixel appear more balanced and lifelike. Photos taken with the Pixel Camera app have already benefited from HDR+ powers since launch—that’s one reason Pixel 2 earned the highest marks yet given to a smartphone by industry-standard photo-rater DxOMark. But Pixel Visual Core will extend the feature to the streams, feeds, and snaps of Pixel owners as well, after an update that will roll out early this week.

HDR+

To understand why Google would devote its first homemade smartphone processor to a relatively narrow function—not just photography, but HDR+ specifically—it helps to understand the importance of HDR+ to the Pixel’s photo prowess. For starters, it’s not the HDR you’re used to.

“HDR+ actually works shockingly differently,” says Isaac Reynolds, project manager for Pixel Camera. Where HDR essentially tries to combine three or so simultaneous exposures for the best result, HDR+ takes up to 10 identical underexposed shots. “We take them all and chop them into little bits, and line them on top of one another, and average the image together,” says Reynolds, who ticks off the reduction in noise and color quality as just two of the benefits.

That’s not just hype, or at least not entirely. HDR+ really does have tangible benefits—especially in Google’s implementation.

“HDR+ technology is a very good technology for noise and data preservation. This removes the noise in the picture,” says Hervé Macudzinski, manager of DxOMark.com. “That enables Google to provide a nice picture with low level noise high level detail.”

You can see an example of what that means in the below before-and-after shots, with the usual caveat that Google provided them, and your own experience may vary.

The various benefits of HDR+ are also more or less pronounced depending on the conditions of the shot you’re taking. It helps especially bringing clarity to low-light images, or to give an assist if you for some reason take a portrait with the sun at someone’s back.

Google’s not the only company capable of this particular trick, but its execution clearly stands apart.

“The HDR+ is very impressive because they did something very efficient,” says Macudzinski. “If you want to do that, it’s going to be optimized and very powerful.”

Pixel Visual Core will also power two related photographic enhancements; RAISR, a technique to sharpen zoomed-in shots, and Zero Shutter Lag, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Until now, these optimizations have been off limits for third-party developers. Photos taken within the Instagram app, for instance, look a bit muddled compared to those taken with the Pixel’s native camera app. Which is where Pixel Visual Core comes in.

Sharing the Wealth

The primary benefit of the Pixel Visual Core, now that it’s on? You still won’t even notice it, says Ofer Shacham, the chip’s engineering manager.

“If we look at HDR+ as a key benchmark for us, it gives us the ability to run five times faster than anything else in existence, while consuming about 1/10th of the energy of the battery. We can put it under the hood,” says Schacham. “We basically hide it. That’s what enables every developer to use it, while not consuming energy from the battery, and even better, reducing the energy consumption from the battery while those applications take pictures.”

That also hints at why Google decided to go it alone with Pixel Visual Core, rather than rely on the powerful Snapdragon 835 processor that handles the bulk of the Pixel 2’s computational needs. The Pixel Visual Core offers not just customization, but flexibility.

“Google in a sense is a software and algorithm company,” says Schacham. “We want something that allows us to rapidly innovate, rapidly change the algorithm, rapidly improve it.”

To that end, the Pixel Visual Core is also programmable. That means while it works primarily in service of HDR+ today, it could go toward making other applications zip in the future, a possibility that Schacham acknowledges, while declining to go into detail on what sorts of use cases Google envisions.

More broadly, though, the Pixel Visual Core represents Google’s first foray into an increasingly common trend of smartphone manufacturers rolling their own silicon, giving itself tighter control over its product and weaning itself off of chip giant Qualcomm.

“I think it’s significant in that, first off, Google is an advertising company, who is also an operating system provider, and they are going more deeply vertical in what they’re doing by adding semiconductor features to enhance the experience,” says Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategies. “Any time somebody in software gets into hardware, interesting things happen—as in interesting really good, or interesting really bad.”

It would also make sense, Moorhead says, for Google to extend its processor plans beyond Pixel Visual Core. Microsoft uses a custom system-on-a-chip for the Xbox. Apple’s A series SoC has contributed greatly to the iPhone’s dominance. And with Google having poached a key Apple chip designer last summer, it seems unlikely that an HDR+ coprocessor is the end of the line.

For now, though, Pixel 2 owners can look forward to adding an HDR+ veneer to their social media pics—while waiting Google’s broader ambitions to come more fully into focus.

Pixel Perfect

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Gadget Lab Podcast: Pixel Buds, AirPods, and the Future of Ear Computers
November 18, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

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Report: Google to unveil smaller, linkable Wi-Fi router at Pixel event
December 19, 2016 12:35 am|Comments (0)


Google’s OnHub router was met with decent reception (heh), but a new report by Android Police indicates the company is looking to announce a new router alongside its upcoming probably-called-Pixel phones on October 4. It will simply be called Google Wi-Fi. The router will almost certainly include some of the OnhHub’s ‘smart’ features for simplifying connections and optimizing reception (although whether the OnHub really performed any better than similarly prices routers is questionable). But one big advantage over OnHub is that you will be able link multiple routers to create a larger, stronger Wi-Fi network. Android Police also suggests it will…

This story continues at The Next Web


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ProIntro HUD Released for Final Cut Pro X by Pixel Film Studios
April 24, 2016 5:25 am|Comments (0)

ProIntro HUD, a new FCPX effect, has been released by Pixel Film Studios for Final Cut Pro…

(PRWeb April 23, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13365961.htm


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Pixel Film Studios Releases TransTunnel for Final Cut Pro X.
November 22, 2015 9:55 pm|Comments (0)

FCPX Transition Developer Pixel Film Studios announces a new Final Cut Pro X Transition.

(PRWeb September 23, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/09/prweb12977288.htm

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