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3 years ago

HTC One: Zoes and Video Highlights

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Two of the most important features on the HTC One are also two of the most confusing

One of the most important -- and impressive -- features of the HTC One is, of course, the camera. We're not going to dive into the whole "UltraPixel" thing here, nor is this a review of camera quality. We'll worry about how the sausage is made later. Right now it's time to learn a few important terms when it comes to the HTC One camera.

When it comes to the new features in the HTC One Camera, you'll be hearing a lot about Zoes (pronounced zoh-ee, as in Zoetrope) and Video Highlights. Zoes can stand on their own, or they can be part of a Video Highlight. 

Following is a walkthrough of what a Zoe is compared to a Video Highlight, what you can do with them, and how you can share them.

More Sense 5 features

What is a Zoe?

Still shots and videos have sort of morphed together in the past year or so. Smartphone cameras can now grab a single frame from video, and HTC's taken that a step further with what it calls a "Zoe."

The short version is that a Zoe is a 3-second video clip that bookends when you actually hit the shutter button. (The long version is that you also end up with 19 or so jpegs -- more on those in a minute -- and a single 3-second mp4 video. Yes, all that can seriously muck up any auto-upload schemes you have.)

A Zoe looks like this:

Taking a Zoe picture isn't really any different than taking a regular still picture. The only difference is you have to press the Zoe button first, and hold the camera toward the intended shot a little longer -- about three seconds. You get the hang of it easily enough.

Pro tip: Look for the shutter button to turn into a sort of progress bar when you're shooting a Zoe. It turns red as you're recording.

What can I do with a Zoe? 

Three-second clips aren't quite as useful individually as, say, a 6-second Vine. But Zoes have some neat tricks up their sleeves. 

First off, you can share them just like you would any other picture or video. A Zoe technically is just an .mp4 file (and the individual jpegs), so you can e-mail it, upload it -- anything you can do with any other .mp4 video. 


The HTC Zoe Share web service (click to view)

A little more useful is if you upload it to the HTC Zoe Share service. (Even more useful than that is when you upload more than one Zoe.) By doing that you get a public link that's good for 180 days that basically gives you a web gallery of your little 3-second pictures. Here's an example.

Viewing a Zoe on your phone, you also can scrub through and select one of the 19 individual frames, then edit that single frame (cropping, filter, etc.) and share it the same way you would any other picture, be it with e-mail, Facebook, Google+ -- whatever. Standard stuff, actually.

For our money, where Zoes really add to the HTC One experience are in Highlight Videos

The HTC One Highlight video

[

](/sites/androidcentral.com/files/postimages/684/zoeshare-site.jpeg "Zoe Share")

This may be the coolest feature on the HTC One. The gist is that the HTC One will take a gander at the still pictures, Zoes and videos you've taken and automatically make a highlights video out of them, complete with background music and filter effects. The Highlight Videos are standard .mp4 files as well, so you can share them in any of the normal ways, including the new HTC Zoe Share. There's also a discrete option to save the Highlight Video if you want to transfer it off the phone some other way. 

HTC's using some sort of black magic -- algorithm, they tell us -- to figure out which photos and videos go together for highlight purposes. Date and time come into play, as does location (if geotagging is turned on). It does pretty well with this, but it's also pretty aggressive in that there's no way to tell the HTC One not to make a Highlight Video. If you have a habit of taking a couple pictures of the same thing, just in case, they're going to get added. If you take a few shots with absolutely no intention of using them as a Highlight Video, well, too bad. You're getting a Highlight Video. We don't normally worry too much about storage space, but these things can start to add up over time. 

It's a pretty awesome way to create a quick montage of people and places and things.

Pro tip: The more images and Zoes you use for a Highlight Video, the better it'll be. Unscientifically, we get the feeling that it defaults to repeating still images if there aren't enough Zoes to pull from, and that gets old pretty quick.

How to have more control over what's in a Highlight Video

We mentioned that there's (as of this writing) no real way to keep the HTC One from creating a Highlight Video. But do at least have a little control over what goes in one. There are a couple ways to do that.

Selecting content after a Highlight Video has been created

Once a Video Highlight has been created, you can go back and choose which clips you want to be a part of it. Tap on the Highlight Video as if you were going to watch it. Then hit the overflow menu button (the three dots) in the top right and choose "Select content." Then you can choose which clips from that event you want to have in the Highlight Video.

(Note: At the time of this writing, the "Select content" feature is a little buggy. HTC says it'll be addressed in an update.)

Copy images and Zoes to a new album

!(/sites/androidcentral.com/files/styles/w550h500/public/postimages/684/highlight-newalbum.png)

Another way to control what gets used in a Highlight Video is to copy pictures to a new album. You'll need to be in the "Album" view in the gallery (not the "Events" view). Choose the album you want to copy pictures from and tap it to open. (Most likely it'll be "Camera shots," but you can choose from any album.) Then hit the overflow menu (again, the three dots in the top right) and choose "Copy to." Now you'll select which images you want to copy. Do that, hit "Next", and then hit the plus sign in the top right to make a new album.

Now you'll get a Highlight Video with only the images you copied over.

The different Video Highlight themes

There currently are six themes -- background music and filter effects -- that you can use on a Video Highlight. (Hit the button in the bottom right to change the theme.)

The six themes are Polaris, Avalon, Vega, Eifel, Burbia and Islandia. Here's what each looks like:

[

](/sites/androidcentral.com/files/postimages/684/zoeshare-site.jpeg "Zoe Share")

The bottom line: Great features, but a little convoluted and a lot hidden

Zoes and Video Highlights are a lot of fun, and the principle is simple enough. Zoes are 3-second video clips. Moving pictures, even. Video Highlights are automatically made up of still pictures and Zoes and full video clips.

But the message itself is a little confusing.  Zoe is part of the Holy Trinity of HTC One, alongside BoomSound and BlinkFeed. In our retail version of the HTC One, it's printed on the protective wrapping of the phone. BlinkFeed, BoomSound, Zoe. But a Zoe is just one part of the experience here. Video Highlights are a big deal. But a Video Highlight isn't a Zoe. We imagine conversations like the following:

"How do I make a Zoe?"
Answer: "Tap the Zoe button, then the shutter button. Now you have a 3-second Zoe."
"No, I don't mean that. I mean the thing with the music and the effects. That's not a Zoe?"

No. It's not a Zoe. It's a Video Highlight.

Our other issue is that there's absolutely no top-level experience for Zoe or Video Highlights. Zoes at least get mentioned in the Quick Tips you see the first time you launch a new big feature. You're left to your own devices to figure out Video Highlights. And that's too bad, as it's too good a feature to be buried like that.

Then there's HTC Zoe Share. Again, a cool new service from HTC, but it's very much a work in progress (which HTC itself will tell you). Uploading to Zoe Share is easy enough. But the links it creates are only good for 180 days. So wherever you link to it from will have dead links in six months. And dead links are bad. Moreover, there's currently no way to see all the Zoe Share posts from a single user. You have to know the link of the Zoe Share post to see it. That's poor discoverability. You can delete a Zoe Share post if you squint and hunt and find the "Click here to manage your Zoe Share" link at the bottom left of the page.

We'd also like to see more fine-tuning with geotagging. It works just fine, but maybe too well. We like being able to Geotag pictures, but we need more control. For instance: I had a Zoe Share post with four images from one location, and a single image from another location -- my home. Guess whose house suddenly was pointed out on the Zoe Share post? We'd love to see an option to remove geotagging from the Zoe Share side.

We're also not thrilled about having to shut off auto-upload services. A single Zoe produces one video and 19 or so still images, and they all will be uploaded automatically by Dropbox or Google+, and probably by other similar services. (Those are the two we use.)

But overall, HTC's done good with Zoe, and with Video Highlights. They're two great features on a phone full of great features. But (if the length of this post is any indication), they take some explaining, and smartphone users have notoriously short attention spans. HTC has a little work to do on the features, and we have no doubt Zoes and Video Highlights will only get better.

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Nexus gets Android 4.2.2 starting today

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Finally.

Verizon has announced that starting today, its much-maligned Samsung Galaxy Nexus will finally get Android 4.2.2, some time after nearly every other version of Google's 2012 flagship smartphone.

The Galaxy Nexus by Samsung will be updated to Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The software will be pushed to Verizon Wireless customers in phases starting March 19.

The software includes new camera features such as photosphere to take 360 degree panoramic pictures that can easily be shared with friends. The camera app also has new tools to add filters and borders, further customizing pictures.

Additionally, an all new Gesture Keyboard is available, allowing users to slide their finger from letter to letter to type a word. Other enhancements include allowing users to place widgets on the lock screen for easier access to popular apps such as Calendar, Gmail and Clock.

Be sure to note that line stating the update will push out in phases. So if you don't get it first thing, keep an eye out. That said, we expect to see the manual download location any time now, so you probably won't have to wait too long. Hit up the forum link below to find out what's what.

Source: Verizon; More: Verizon Galaxy Nexus forums

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3 years ago

Of course HTC filmed itself outside Samsung's Times Square event

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In my Sunday column I wrote about HTC hitting up the queue outside the Samsung Unpacked event at Radio City Music Hall, handing out swag and showing off the HTC One. Turns out HTC was a couple blocks away at 46th and Broadway, hitting up Samsung's outdoor Times Square extravaganza as well. And this time, it took video cameras. No surprise there. If a troll strikes in the woods and no one is around, it doesn't count.

So HTC this morning posted a well-produced video of folks on the street getting their hands on the HTC One and learning a little bit about the features. They're all unsurprisingly excited to see it. 

One thing they still didn't learn: When they'll be able to buy one.

Hit the break for the full video.

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3 years ago

CM developers passing on Samsung Galaxy S4 - should you?

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Update: CyanogenMod on its Google+ account reminds us all that of its official position on the Galaxy S4 -- which is to say it doesn't have one yet. CM also reminds us all that individual developers' do not speak for CM as a whole. (Which is why the quotes in the following piece are from Team Hacksung and not CyanogenMod.) CM adds that it intends to wait for retail release of the Galaxy S4 before commenting on support, as it does for all new devices.

Original story: With the Samsung Galaxy S4 presumably coming soon, many are excited about the possibility of running a more stock Android-based experience, like CyanogenMod, on the hardware. It looks like that's going to be a slower transition than many were hoping, as the current Samsung CM maintainers have said that they have no plans to support the device.

The relationship between Samsung and the people trying to hack CM onto Samsung phones has been pretty tumultuous as of late. On one side, Samsung has to try to protect their IP. Some of the decisions they have made to help do this just aren't very developer-friendly, and some even violate the GPL (an open source license that covers everything in the Linux kernel used in Android). On the other side, you have a group of people that have to have a little access to this IP so they can build a working firmware for the device. They need everything covered under the GPL, and even a little friendly advice from the manufacturers is what it takes sometimes to get everything working just right. With the two sides unable to get together, frustration has set in and the developers have spoken. XpLoDWilD, speaking for Team Hacksung states:

Nobody at Team Hacksung (the team behind Galaxy S2, Note, S3, Note2, G Tabs... official CM ports) plans to buy it, neither develop for it. There are two variants which will be a pain to maintain, [and] the bugs we have on the S3 will probably be there on S4, too (camera), and we all know Samsung ability to release sources while staying in line with mainline. Yes Qualcomm releases sources, but Exynos sources we had were far from [working on] actual Galaxy products. I'm pretty sure the same will happen for this one.

That's a uniform "no" from us. 

The other developers are saying basically the sameCodeworkxEntropy512, and kernel developer Gokhan Moral have said they refuse to develop for the Galaxy S4. Read through the break for some discussion of what this might mean for users like us.

Discuss in the Galaxy S4 forums

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3 years ago

RadioShack cuts Sprint Galaxy S3 price to $49.99 on contract

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Now that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is announced and ready to head to stores, the flood of Galaxy S3 price drops have begun with RadioShack and Sprint. For new customers signing a 2-year contract, the Galaxy S3 has dropped down to just $49.99 from its original on-contract price of $199.99. If you bring in an old device to trade in with the "Trade & Save" program, you could get that down to $0 quite easily as well. As is usually the case, line upgrades will be charged a $50 premium over new sign-ups.

Now the smart money would say that you should wait for the Galaxy S4 to hit your carrier of choice before you make your decision. But if you're in dire need of a new phone and don't want to break the bank, be on the look out for these price drops.

Source: RadioShack

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean update coming soon to a Droid 4 near you

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Update: Updated information from Verizon actually pegs the update as pushing out in phases, beginning Tuesday March 19. Even better news!

Those of you rocking a Droid 4 might want to gather round at this point. Seems Verizon has approved a pretty special software update for the QWERTY slider that will bump it up to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and all the goodness that comes with it. 

The rollout hasn't actually got underway yet, nor do we know exactly when it will. But, support documentation over on the Verizon website confirms the bump to Jelly Bean so Droid 4 owners will soon be able to experience that buttery smoothness of Project Butter and of course, Google Now. 

Aside from bumping up to Android 4.1, the update package will also include some device specific improvements. These include improved voice and data connectivity, improvements to mobile hotspot connectivity, and the removal of the pre-loaded MOG and Sling applications. 

Droid 4 owners will naturally be excited by this, so be sure to head on down to the Droid 4 forums to share it with us all. 

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Grand in India seeing Group Play update pushing out

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The Samsung Galaxy Grand is an interesting device. Despite having a 5 inch display -- the current standard for the high-end -- the Grand is definitely aimed at the mid-range market. It carries all the software bells and whistles of the current lead devices in the Samsung stable, with Android 4.1.2 and the latest version of Touchwiz, but has a dual-core CPU and a WVGA display. But, in India, the Galaxy Grand is reportedly seeing an interesting new update pushing out. 

The small OTA, weighing in at just 27.86MB, brings with it a version of the new Group Play feature recently announced on the brand new Galaxy S4. We've previously heard that Samsung plans on bringing elements of the Galaxy S4 software to the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 in particular, but that a mid-range device such as this is seeing some love is fantastic news. 

Group Play on the Galaxy Grand allows users to share music, documents and videos across devices when connected to the same WiFi network or via WiFi direct. 

Anyone out there snagged this update for themselves? Be sure to hit up the comments below and share it with us. 

Source: BGR.in

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3 years ago

Purple Galaxy S3 rumored for Sprint in April

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Maybe a white Galaxy S3 isn't your thing. Perhaps Blue gives you the blues. Perpetual leaker evleaks is back again with an oddly purple Galaxy S3, which he says is destined for Sprint in April. It does sort of look like a washed-out blue GS3, but they are decidedly different colors. The timing also would be a little weird, given that Sprint expects to be selling the Galaxy S4 by the end of the second quarter. 

Source: @evleaks

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3 years ago

Announcing the winner of 'The World's First Samsung Galaxy S4 Contest!'

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Announcing the Winner of 'The World's First Samsung Galaxy S4 Contest!'

Judging by the number of entries in 'The World's First Samsung Galaxy 4 Contest', most of you can't wait to get your hands on the device, and I can't blame you. I'd like the S4 in my arsenal as well, after checking out the Samsung Galaxy S4 Hands-on, and Galaxy S4 Forums. It's good stuff, but I digress. 

It's time to announce the winner of our contest. Our winner is:

MAJOR PAYNE

Congratulations!

While we're at it, we'll toss in a few cases to help you protect your new S4. :) We will be in touch via email and PM to get things sorted, and will ship the device as soon as we get our hands on it!

THANK YOU to all who entered (over 16,000 entries, AMAZING!). Be sure to keep it locked here at Android Central for the latest news and developments on the Samsung Galaxy S4!

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 UK SIM-free price emerges - £530 inc. VAT

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The first Samsung Galaxy S4 pricing details are starting to emerge online, with retailer Unlocked Mobiles being among the first to confirm how much Samsung's new flagship will cost in the UK. In news that should surprise no-one, the S4 comes in at £529.98 inc. VAT (£441.65 exc. VAT), which is the same ballpark figure you'll pay for other high-enders like the HTC One or Sony Xperia Z.

If you're thinking of importing the international Galaxy S4, that means you'll be looking at around an $800 price tag before shipping. Steep, yes, but the U.S. versions should be considerably cheaper when they eventually become available. 

Unlocked Mobiles says it'll begin shipping the Galaxy S4 from Apr. 26, which fits with some of the other dates we've been hearing.

More: Hands-on with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 forum

Source: Unlocked Mobiles

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3 years ago

Sony announces Xperia SP and Xperia L - new mid-range and entry-level handsets

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Without much in the way of fanfare, Sony Mobile has announced new mid-range and entry-level Android handsets, the Xperia SP and Xperia L. The subjects of many pre-release leaks, these new Xperias were expected to make an appearance at Mobile World Congress, but were no-where to be found on the show floor.

As rumored, the Xperia SP is a 4.6-inch, 720p-screened device with an aluminum trim that incorporates elements of both the Xperia Z and Xperia U. Like the former, it's uses on-screen keys and has big, stylized metal power button; like the latter, it's got a customizable light bar down below that can tie into certain apps like the music player. It's also Sony's first mid-range phone with 4G LTE support. On the inside, the SP is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip, so there’s plenty of horsepower to go around.

The Xperia L is Sony’s new leading entry-level device for 2013, and the manufacturer’s highlighting its 8-megapixel Exmor RS camera, a component it shares with the Xperia SP. The L is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus CPU and packs a 4.3-inch FWVGA (854x480) display. Visually, it’s a close match for last year’s Xperia T, with a chunky convex chassis.

Both phones run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, and are due for release during the second quarter in red, white and black color options. We’ve got spec lists and a couple of videos after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 launch event: A view from the outside

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While Samsung, the press, and a handful of celebrities were busy unveiling the Galaxy S4 at the Unpacked event in Radio City Music Hall, things we're jumping nearby in Times Square. Videographer Martin Reisch (@safesolvent) was there, braving the chilly March New York weather to catch the highlights -- swing dancers and all.

While the over-the-top presentation may not have been everyone's cup of tea, Samsung has reason to be proud, and we expect to see a lot more of the Galaxy S4 advertised on TV and in print. We're looking forward to it!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums | Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S4 | Samsung Galaxy S4 Details

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3 years ago

HTC One to release in April for the Middle East region

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The HTC One will release to customers in the Middle East in April, according to Neeraj Seth, senior brand communications manager for HTC Middle East.

While the phone will be available in selected markets in March, it will be officially released in the Middle East in April

The One is currently available on the German O2 network, and other European pre-ordered devices are set to be delivered in March, but it appears that general availability is going to be sometime in April for most everyone. Of course, individual carriers will make their own announcements with their own release schedule.

As Phil reminds us, timing is everything. Pushing back the release date means there will be more great phones to choose from there beside it on the shelf. That's a good thing for us, but HTC doesn't want the latest from Samsung, Sony, or LG there to steal your eyes away.

The good news is that April is only two weeks away. We should soon here solid release dates from carriers world-wide, and we'll let you know as soon as that happens.

Source: tbreak technology; Thanks, Moe!

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 reportedly set for early May launch in India

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There's a lot of folks all around the world that are excited for the Samsung Galaxy S4. Following on from the massively successful Galaxy S3, there's no doubts that this is going to be one of the biggest sellers in mobile this year. Since the official unveiling in New York City, we're gradually beginning to build up a picture of availability, and next up is news for our friends over in India. 

According to AndroidOS.in, Samsung is set to launch the Galaxy S4 in India in the first week of May. They go on to say that a press event is likely in late April to officially launch the device in the country. Considering global availability is slated to begin from the end of April, this is great news for Indians eager to get their hands on one of the hottest devices of the year. 

India's Galaxy S4 will also be carrying the new Exynos 5 Octa inside, and not the Snapdragon 600 of the U.S. version. There are no details of pricing or any word on carrier partners for the Galaxy S4, but considering we're still 6 weeks or so out from launch, there's still plenty of time yet. 

Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums | Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S4 |Samsung Galaxy S4 Details

Source: AndroidOS.in

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One

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Making a decision between the HTC One and the Galaxy S4 isn't going to be easy for many folks​

The battle lines have quickly been drawn between two of 2013's hottest Android smartphones -- phones that, by the way, not a whole lot of people have actually touched yet -- the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. The HTC One is just now going on sale in parts of Europe. We're still waiting on any U.S. carrier to announce availability for either of the phones.

We've been using the HTC One for a week now. (I've been using it as my main device, actually.) And we got to spend some time with the Samsung Galaxy S4 on Thursday in New York City. And we got to put both phones up against each other.

Know what? Folks are going to have a tough decision to make. 

Read on for some initial thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S4 versus the HTC One.

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