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...
Recent Features - Hardware - Page 2
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.
I've simplified the title slightly, of course. The Lumia 950 wasn't a 'Nokia' product, but a Microsoft branded one by the ex-Nokia engineers. Still... the last one, the Nokia 9, is named accurately, though it's the 'new' Nokia under HMD's management. Everything's 'bought in', with the imaging here licensed from Light, though HMD is keen to apply the old 'PureView' brand. Ensuring that yours truly resurrects the PureView classics of old to carry out a detailed camera (stills, video may come after) comparison. Let the PureView battle commence!
It's no secret that phone imaging features online (not least at AAS and AAWP) are hugely popular. And for good reason, we all take loads of photos on our phones and we want them to be the best that they can be. But just how far do we take our definitions of 'best' here? And when we start involving manual/Pro settings adjustment, tripods, RAW files and Adobe Lightroom, haven't we gone a bit too far? Between casual snaps for Instagram and "just take a DSLR instead" there has to be a happy prosumer medium, surely?
MWC 2019 has wrapped, but not without echoes of MWC 2012, where Nokia took the wraps off something it had been working on for five years, the 808 PureView, much to everyone's astonishment, not least that it ran Symbian, considered 'old' even in 2012. The big reveal was the use of a 41MP sensor, of course - and here I want to reminisce about the aims of 'PureView' and the resurgence of the brand and also the technology. Not necessarily in the same phones!