Qualcomm depth-sensing tech could turn your phone into an AR powerhouse

qualcomm spectra depth sensing zte dual camera 1280x720 1
Rumors are gaining steam that the next iPhone will boast an impressive depth-sensing camera that will be able to map the room in front of you in 3D. Well, seems as though Qualcomm is beating Apple to the punch — the company just announced its new depth-sensing tech in the form of an upgrade to Spectra.

So what’s the point of depth-sensing technology? There are some pretty neat applications for it — one of which is augmented reality. Depth-sensing is, for example, a big part of the camera module used in Google Tango phones, which are built for augmented reality use. That could be pretty important going forward — especially as AR and VR continue to become important aspects of future smartphones.

Having better depth-sensing technology has applications beyond AR — in fact, it could seriously improve our simple photographs. For example, it could improve the quality of the bokeh effect we’re seeing available on newer smartphones. In fact, it could allow users to change the focus in the picture even after taking a photo — that’s made possible through a so-called “depth map,” which stores all the depth-related information with the image itself.

There are a few things that make Qualcomm’s new tech so impressive. For starters, the company told us that its camera module captures a hefty 10,000 points of depth — and even that number is apparently conservative. In the highest resolution, that represents 0.1mm in between each point, which, according to Qualcomm, makes it the most accurate depth-sensing technology on the market.

First launched last year, the Qualcomm Spectra camera module made it easier for manufacturers to implement dual-sensor cameras in smartphones. The new module takes things to the next level — and will require three camera sensors to take advantage of active depth sensing.

Of course, it may be at least a few months before we start seeing this tech in the real world. Qualcomm says it will be available as part of the company’s next flagship processor — which will be the Snapdragon 836. Some reports indicate that the Google Pixel 2 will be among the first phones to feature the new chip — so it’s possible we could see the new camera tech on the upcoming Pixel, though only time will tell.

Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…
Mobile

Get ready for more V-series phones: LG trademarks names up to the V90

It looks like we should get ready for more LG V-series phones. LG has trademarked names for the LG V50 all the way up to the LG V90. We may have to wait some time before we see these phones; the next LG flagship is expected to be the LG G8.
Mobile

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Mobile

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Deals

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Social Media

Facebook is rolling out a Messenger ‘unsend’ feature and here’s how to use it

Facebook is starting to roll out a "remove message" feature for its Messenger app. It lets you delete a message in a thread within 10 minutes of sending it, and replaces it with a note telling recipients that it's been removed.
Mobile

Google rolls out Night Sight to Pixel 3 and 3 XL camera app

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.