A blast from the past, but I had the pleasure of interviewing Juha Alakarhu on my most recent Phones Show Chat podcast, published yesterday and embedded below. Juha is, of course, the man who co-crafted the cameras in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (and various Nseries and the Lumia 950 before and after) - and is respected as something of an imaging guru in the industry. Do have a listen, he reveals some of the background to the two champion 41MP camera phones, including just how hard the 1020 was, in particular, having to combine the 808's power with the expected OIS after the Lumia 920's release.
Recent Features - Hardware
It's... another head to head article for AAWP... with a difference. Because the smartphone here is different, a direct descendant of the Nokia E7 (2010, running Symbian) and N950 (running Meego, which ended up still-born). Now, a spec comparison between 2020 and 2010 would be farcical, so I'm still going to compare the f(x)tec Pro1 to the Lumia 950 XL, so that specifications are at least in a similar ballpark. But I'm throwing in plenty of Nokia E7/Pro1 comparisons in photo form too, hence the AAS cross-post(!)
Yes, yes, this is being cross-posted on AAWP and yet there's no Windows Phone component. But in the AAWP comments on Lumia 1020 stories I've had a mountain of people wondering what the original Nokia 808 PureView would have made of the test shots. That 1/1.2" sensor, for a start, plus the most sophisticated oversampling system ever seen in the phone world (still). So here goes with some challenging shots and crops. [Updated]
Last weekend I went hands-on with Samsung's brand new Galaxy Fold in London. Yes, it runs Android and this is being published on AAS and AAWP, but I believe it's a very relevant current data point in terms of mobile computing on the go. Not least because it's a modern equivalent to the Nokia Communicators of old. But it also paves the way for thoughts on where Microsoft is going next with its Surface Duo...
2019 really has been the year of the folding phone - and not for the right reasons. The idea of a phone-sized device that unfolds to become a tablet (and vice versa) is such a tempting dream that we've been talking about as an industry for the last three years. Arguably 20 years if you include the Nokia Communicators, which unfolded to become a mini-laptop, in effect. We've seen attempts at a folding phone/tablet from Samsung and Huawei and with concepts from others, yet none of these approach the common sense of what Microsoft was patenting and prototyping back in 2016 for its reputed Surface Phone. So why hasn't someone else designed along similar lines? After all, a twin glass hinged unit would be cheaper and far more durable than bending plastic.
When considering smartphone imaging, there are two end goals, depending on who you talk to. The populist opinion, catered to by the likes of Samsung and Huawei, is that the photos you take should 'pop', with exagerated edges and detail, enhanced colours, and so on. My view, even though I enjoy hyper-real images as much as the next man, is that photos should accurately portray the world you see, and with as little enhancement as possible. In other words, photos from a phone should be natural and with scope for enhancement later in software without worrying about starting from an edge-enhanced, over sharpened base...
Following his intriguing part one, and detailed part two looking at 'Pre-Touch' technology, guest writer Michael 'Mivas_Greece' (surname withheld by request) brings us the third part of a tale of Nokia and Microsoft prototypes (one of which he has access to), focussing on the variations and specifications. And don't miss the 'bonus' part 4, also below.
I realise I'm the lone voice shouting in the wilderness here, but after multiple comments on multiple imaging features here on AAWP I wanted to respond - with a real world example - of why higher contrast and sharpening may look better on the phone screen but they're 'damaged' photos and greater purity (yes, yes, 'PureView') is where phone camera makers should be aiming their shots...
Despite my comparisons of current imaging flagships with the classic Nokia 808, Lumia 1020 and 950, people rightly point out that these 'benchmark' comparisons are just that - benchmarks. What about pitching potential Android purchases against each other? i.e. if imaging is your top concern, how does the highly rated Google Pixel 3 XL camera (now with Android Q under the hood) fare against the PureView-evolved Huawei P30 Pro, now with its new '161' imaging update?
With Microsoft sadly pulling development of the Surface Mobile project mid 2018, for reasons which did (in fairness) seem reasonable, it did rather leave the patented and much-rendered hardware design out in the cold. Which turns out to be even more of a crying shame, since the 2019 'folding phone' season of designs seem doomed to failiure. You heard it here first.