Ricoh Theta V plug-in marketplace helps expand 360 camera features

Ricoh Theta V

Ricoh’s flagship Theta V 360 camera now has expanded features beyond what even Ricoh can imagine. After launching the Ricoh Theta Plug-In Partner Program in June, the company launched the Plug-in Store on Monday, July 23. The program, which Ricoh first announced on January 8 at  CES 2018, opens the Theta V to third-party developers to build expanded features that leverage the 360-degree camera. The store allows Theta users to expand the camera’s functionality using paid plug-ins.

The new program allows other companies to develop their own add-ons for the 360 camera by allowing access to the application program interface (API) and software development kit (SDK), which Ricoh rolled out in April. The kind of extra features the camera gains will depend on those developers, but as proofs of concept, Ricoh pre-installed two features it developed, when it launched the Theta V. One example is the plug-in that allows a smart device to control that 360 view when viewing footage on a standard TV screen, called Remote Playback. Another is USB Data Transfer, which lets users transfer content to a portable hard drive.

Because the Theta V has an open-architecture that is based on Android, developers don’t have to familiarize themselves with a new interface — especially if they are already developing Android apps — making it easier and faster to build these apps. These extra features are now downloadable using the Ricoh Theta V marketplace. When the platform opened, Ricoh added three new plug-ins it created: Wireless Live Streaming for YouTube; Automatic Face Blur that hides the faces of strangers in your photos and videos, to respect their privacy; and File Cloud Upload, which saves images to Google Photos.

“By opening the platform for application development, we are enabling the Ricoh Theta V to be a constantly evolving product. For this reason, we are very excited about the new partner program,” Wataru Ohtani, corporate associate vice president and general manager of Ricoh’s Smart Vision Business Group, said in a press release. “The Ricoh Theta V Plug-in Partner Program will enable third-party companies and developers to create custom features and services. Our goal is for consumers and businesses alike to benefit from Ricoh Theta V and to become a standard platform for the 360-degree imagery.”

At the launch, the new plug-in marketplace includes options from developers like Sony and Holobuilder. The first marketplace plug-ins add features like Google Cloud Storage with Fita, WebAPI access and industry-specific applications for construction and real estate.

Ricoh was one of the first companies to launch a consumer 360 camera in 2013, but the Theta V brings 4K and surround-sound compatibility to the line as well as low-energy Bluetooth. Using a similar design that’s shaped more like a TV remote than a camera, the V added advanced features to the line and enhanced the image quality over the company’s less expensive options such as the Theta SC. The Theta V is the first 360 camera that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a feature that Ricoh said at the launch would open up possibilities for third-party apps along with options directly from Ricoh. With today’s launch, that capability is now available for developers.

Read our full review of the Theta V.

Updated on July 25: Added the official launch of the Ricoh Theta V Marketplace.

Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.
Mobile

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Photography

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.
Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Product Review

With outstanding image quality, the ‘basic’ Sony A7 III excels in every way

Replacing the four-year-old A7 II as the new entry-level model in Sony's full-frame line, the A7 III is an impressively capable camera that gives more expensive models a run for their money.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.