How To Get Bodacious Bokeh Using The Google Camera App

Available starting today, the new Google Camera app offers features you’d typically find on a DSLR or by using the depth of field effect on the HTC One M8. While the HTC One M8 utilizes multiple sensors, the Google Camera app manages to pull off high quality depth of field effects using any compatible Android phone. Depth of field or bokeh is when your subject is in focus and the background is blurred. You won’t need a 50mm lens at ƒ1.4 to create stunning bokeh filled imagery, thanks to the Lens Blur feature in the Google Camera app.

Google Camera App

Google manages to pull off the effect by letting you set the field of focus after taking the photo. You simply tap on the image you want in focus and the software does the heavy lifting. A depth of field slider effectively recreates your aperture setting.

How to use Lens Blur on Google Camera app

  1. First thing, you’ll need to download and install the Google Camera app from the Play Store
  2. Open the app and swipe from the left part of the screen to reveal options.
  3. Select ‘Lens Blur’
  4. You’ll be greeted by a short tutorial. Essentially, you are going to shift your smartphone camera directly upward as you take a photo. Do this very slowly or you’ll get an error message that you went too fast.
  5. Swipe inward from the right side of the screen.
  6. Tap on the second to edit your lens blur. There are two settings here. The first is where you want your point of focus. If it’s a person, ideally I’d recommend targeting the eyes.
  7. Using the slider, you’ll create your depth of field or bokeh.
  8. Press Done

Bokeh

Google software engineers are able to use advanced algorightms to simulate a large lens and aperture. With a little practice, good lighting and subjects, you can easily take some amazing photos using the lens blur effect.

Download Google Camera from the Google Play Store

Google Nexus 5 Now Available In Bright Red

Google is now offering the Nexus 5 in a new ‘Bright Red’ option. The price remains the same, $349 for the 16GB configuration and $399 for 32GB. You can still pick up the Nexus 5 in white or black. If you had your heart set on a white Nexus 5, you’ll be waiting a minimum of 2-3 weeks.

Nexus 5 Bright Red

The Nexus 5 remains one of the better values in mobile. With a 5-inch display and support for 4G/LTE and a 2.26Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, there’s plenty of phone for price. As with any Nexus phone, the biggest draw is not only having the latest version of Android, it’s also free of any carrier or manufacturer bloatware. Android, pure as the driven snow and it should receive timely updates.

The Google Nexus 5 in bright red is available now from the Google Play Store.

Was anyone on the fence, but jumping now that ‘Bright Red’ is available?

 

NYT: Samsung Galaxy S5 To Be Announced February 24th

According to sources speaking with the NY Times, the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be introduced on February 24th at Mobile World Congress. Samsung had sent out invitations for Unpacked 5 Episode 1, but little had been known about their plans for product launches. Last year, we saw them announced the Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3. In previous years, the Galaxy S2 was announced, so the even has been used to introduce what is arguably their flagship line. When the Galaxy S4 was released last year, it was done in NYC at a big, bold event at Radio City Music Hall. Announcing a new phone in the theater district, the company put on a bizarre, yet entertaining show. This year will be different, instead opting for a more low-key approach. Of course, knowing Samsung, nothing they do is low-key.

Radio City

Last year, we saw hardware improvements, but the focus was decidedly on software. It will be interesting to see if the Galaxy S5 retains the same plastic chassis or if the company moves to aluminum. The HTC One was lauded for its aluminum body. Despite HTC’s beautiful hardware, it wasn’t enough to severely impact sales of Samsung’s S4 and Note products. The NY Times suggests that Samsung will include design improvements, but the focus could be on software. Specifically, a new version of Nox, the security software that could have greater appeal to business users.

The Galaxy S5 will not be on the only new product introduction at Unpacked 5. The company is also planning to introduce an upgraded version of their smartwatch. The Galaxy Gear will see an updated model.

Galaxy Gear support

Apparently, there was chatter that Samsung at some point would jettison the Galaxy S branding, but that is not expected this time around. One has to wonder if the timing of the announcement is to get a jump on Apple, who have seemingly moved to a September release schedule for their iPhones. While Mobile World Congress is a big stage, the announcement won’t be as big as last year’s NYC extravaganza. Could this mean a slightly upgraded model is coming? Maybe the next big thing is a new phone, new brand and the Galaxy S5 is a placeholder until that comes later this year.

In any event, mark your calendars for February 24th to see the big reveal of the Galaxy S5.

Lenovo To Purchase Motorola Mobility for $3 Billion From Google

According to a report from Reuters, Lenovo is in the final stages of a deal with Google to purchase Motorola Mobility for $3 billion. The handset division had been purchased by Google for $12.5 billion. The deal would include the companies patents and existing handset line which includes the Moto X and Moto G. An announcement regarding the agreement could come as early as today.

Moto X Camera

Google apparently purchased Motorola largely due to its patent portfolio. Recent cases involving the use of Motorola’s patents have not been sided in Google’s favor.

Source: Reuters

Motorola Puts Moto G Up For Sale Starting at $179 With No Contract

Motorola today started offering the new low-cost Moto G on their website for US customers, with prices starting at just $179 for an 8GB model. The Moto G comes in black, but you can easily customize it with an assortment of colorful backs, also available for purchase at $29.99. The 16GB Moto G is only $199, making that the model to purchase. There is absolutely no reason why you should buy the 8GB model, when you can double your storage for $20.

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Motorola Starts Android 4.4 KitKat for Moto X Rollout Today

Motorola today announced that Verizon Moto X customers would be first in line for the Android 4.4 KitKat software update, with a phased rollout starting today. No word yet on when other devices in their line-up would receive KitKat, but they have promised that Moto X customers on other carriers would hear news ‘very soon’.

Touchless control Google Now

As for the update, here’s a complete list of what you can expect from KitKat on the Moto X.

  • An improved phone dialer. Now you can search for contacts directly from the dial-pad and easily see and tap on those you contact frequently.
  • More gallery goodies. KitKat packs in some cool, new gallery effects—such as Posterize, Highlights, and Edges. You can even use the Draw feature to annotate your photos freehand with your finger.
  • New Hangouts app. All of your conversations now in one place—texts, video calls, and other chats all together in one app. Plus, you can now send animated gifs and share your location.
  • Color emojis. For when words aren’t enough, the Google Keyboard now includes colorful characters to send in text messages and other communications.
  • Drag to focus and expose. An updated camera app lets you control both the focus and exposure of your photos. Simply drag your finger to set just the right exposure and focus point.
  • And more… Restyled status and navigation bars, new full-screen mode, and enhancements to Motorola features like Touchless Control.

Given that KitKat was literally just released, this update to the Moto X clearly shows Motorola customers are benefiting from being under the Google umbrella. It’s also a bit surprising to see Verizon as the first US carrier to receive the KitKat update.

 

Motorola’s Shakes Up Industry, Offering Moto G At $179 Unlocked

Earlier today, Motorola had quite a big announcement, introducing the lower-cost Moto G. A sibling to the Moto X which we gave high marks in our review, the Moto G offers fewer bells and whistles, but still has all the signs of being a very capable Android phone. The big news here is the price, which starts at $179. That’s $179 unlocked, meaning zero contract agreement, allowing you to take it to any provider (GSM). Google’s Nexus line has garnered plenty of fans for the unlocked, low-cost and pure Android experience and rightly so. The Nexus 5, while a much more robust phone, is almost twice the price of the Moto G. This is by far the lowest price we’ve seen for a newly released device, even lower than the Nexus 4 close-out. So what does $179 buy you?

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