Photosphere panorama

Google's "Photosphere" 360-degree panoramas are one one of the stand-out features of Android 4.2. But we've been left guessing as to whether third-party manufacturers will get access to this tech when they ship their own non-Nexus devices. Now it seems at least one OEM may be prepared to go it alone with its own proprietary Photosphere-like feature.

According to AndroidGeeks, which cites engineering sources within Samsung, the company will debut "Samsung Orb" on the upcoming Galaxy S4. This is said to be a Photosphere-like feature, allowing users to record similar 360-degree images for "an almost three-dimensional viewing experience." Naturally we'd expect an upcoming Samsung flagship to pack a better camera than the Nexus 4, so that's a point that'll work in Samsung's favor. 

Samsung's also said to be working with Facebook to bring easy social sharing of Orb images. That's in sharp contrast to Photospheres, which are shared primarily through Google+. It's unclear whether "Orb" panoramas will be compatible with the back-end stuff that Google's set up to support and share Photosphere images. Currently the only way to share these on the web is through the Google ecosystem, so it'll be interesting to see how the two standards live alongside each other.

But remember we're still in rumor territory here, as Samsung has yet to make any official comment on its next-gen Galaxy S phone. Multiple outlets have reported that the device will be unveiled at an event on Mar. 14, and we also understand that's when Samsung's planning to show the S4 for the first time. So it's likely we won't have long to wait before we find out exactly what Samsung's got up its sleeve.

Source: AndroidGeeks


Reader comments

Samsung 'Orb' rumored to bring Photosphere-like panoramas to Galaxy S4


Agreed, but if Google aren't making Photosphere available to 3rd parties (I don't think that anybody can say for sure either way, yet), then Samsung have no choice.

I hope that Samsung is using the same Photosphere "Spherical panorama" file format (which is open and documented), at least. Somehow I doubt it, though.

As far as I know, the Photosphere format is open, it was some XML file describing the images, their position etc. It will be nice if Samsung's Orb is using the same format so that one viewer could open either Google's or Samsung's spheres.

Photosphere is a Google copyrighted project. This is why CM and other custom ROMs don't have it.

the reason why you have it is because of GAPPS overwritting cm10's camera apk. If you were to take the camera.apk from gapps then flash it, then you would have Cm10 camera app, which does not have photosphere since it is not part of aosp.

You mean like SBeam, Direct Call, Palm swipe for screenshot, Smart Stay, etc?

Oh, I haven't even started with the Note 2 which destroys every other device in features.

I've probably used Android longer than most people here. All the way back to the G1 and every version of the OS thereafter across dozens of devices.

Please find me an OEM with aforementioned features in their phone releases before Samsung. And find me an OEM that has remotely the features of the Note2. Did Samsung create every new feature we enjoy today? Not even close. HTC and Motorola have contributed heavily to the android system before Samsung's rise.

I was an avid HTC user, however, they've been outmaneuvered, outmarketed and out-featured by Samsung. Whether you like the build quality of HTC/Samsung devices, that's preference. Both have been good to me despite having an EVO 3D dying out of the blue, but that's just electronics luck. I think we all need to give where credit is due and how Samsung has driven Android to 'mass appeal' levels.

SBeam? You mean beam which originally showed up on the Nexus S (yes I know it is made by Samsung, but beam is all Android).

Photo Sphere


In Android 4.2, we introduced Photo Sphere mode in the Camera, which you can use to create amazing, immersive panoramas just like you see in Street View on Google Maps. Today we’re excited to announce new APIs and documentation that empower developers, businesses, and photographers to explore new uses of Photo Sphere for work and for play.

We’ve made Photo Sphere an open format so anyone can create and view them on the web or on mobile devices. 



Samsung is doing it this way because they want to do it this way.  

Google DOES allow non-official 'photo-spheres' to be uploaded to Maps. So regardless of these being proprietary or not they could help Google out.

"Q: I didn’t use the photo sphere camera to create my panorama, can I still submit it to Google Maps?

A: Absolutely! You may use any tools you wish to create and contribute panoramas that fit the guidelines listed on our About page. Visit the Create page to convert your panorama to a photo sphere, load the JPG file onto your Android device, and then share it to Google Maps via the Android Gallery app."

Hopefully they can get it to work better than photosphere. Cant wait to see what samsung does with this and the s4

S voice is not better than Google Now. S Beam, however, is FAR superior than just the NFC tagging in the Nexus line.

An advantage to Samsung having their own implementations of some of these things is they can bring the features to devices without needing to deploy the new Android versions on them. Wouldn't it be nice if the 4.2 camera app were rolled out to all the 4.1.x devices out there, without needing carriers to approve the OS updates? By divorcing apps from the Android version, it would allow Google to bypass AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint from delaying these great updates.

That's what a photosphere looks like when it is not viewed in a photosphere capable viewer. Obviously, a photosphere is not intended to be viewed like that. For a regular photo, one would take a picture with the regular camera.

HTC One comes with 4.1.2; maybe that's why it doesn't have it? I'm not aware of any devices that have 4.2 on them, except for the Nexus line, so it is probably too early to tell if a device that isn't Nexus will come with Photosphere on 4.2

I am no fan of facebook, but if Samsung manages to get fb support for their panoramic photos, that would be a huge plus for Samsung. In fact, practically *anything* facebook-related is an ace in the hole. The majority of smartphone owners use their phones primarily for texting, taking photos, facebook, twitter and browsing the web. So any stock app/feature that integrates with fb & twitter is a no-brainer.

As someone who loves taking photos with his phone I was like many intrigued by the photosphere but the problem with it for me is the fact that it's so tied into Google. Now I am more active on G+ than anywhere else but it would be nice to be able to share the full experience of photosphere elsewhere as has already been pointed the "image" produced doesn't really produce that great an image experience.

Now if Samsung are planning there own version then fairplay to them but I do hope the tie in with Facebook doesn't happen. I know that facebook is a huge eco system used by many but we don't all use it (me for one) and to tie it in so heavily with them would render the whole feature pointless the same as photosphere with Google.

Far too many apps and software developments these day are trying to tie there ideas into social networking these days which is fine but free up the system so that it can be shared how the end user wants to not how it's dictated by the owners.

Camera's all over the place, what about making real programs we can use? We'll be turned into machines soon enough & I'm sure not spending another $700 every six month's for a better camera. Seems dual sim is where I'm going, you know one carrier isn't enough. Build the speed, give us gsm & CDMA, with a great battery, why not build these items for us? Better yet how about building this in the USA.

Hmmm... Starting to wonder if Google and Samsung will have future conflicts... S-Voice, S-Beam, and Google Voice and Android Beam. Its like they take native OS features and bury them in settings and repackage them as their own. Now we have ORB and Googles own Photosphere.

Samsung will promote this Orb thing heavily, then they will sell a crapload of these phones, then Orbs will be everywhere on FB, then photospheres AND Google+ will be doomed to oblivion.
Samsung, working against Google since the advent of the Galaxy brand.

I'd use Photosphere much more if I could share them with my friends and family. Facebook would be the easiest way, few people I know use twitter or Google+ or have capable phones to view them on. I wish Samsung & Google would work together to enhance Photosphere though instead of yet another format and further touchwiz upgrade delays.

More gimmicks to come from Samsung. I want focus on actual cutting edge hardware in the best form factor, getting a "+" HD AMOLED Screen, and improving toucwiz on an aesthetic/design front to the level of sophistication of Sense at least. Instead, they're gonna focus on adding tons of "features", most of which are useless, to tick more boxes against the iPhone. S-Voice, anyone?

As much as I like HTC and Sense, I don't think you've used newer versions of Touchwiz and especially on the Note 2. I used to buy HTC because of Sense, but TW is quite comparable.

To be perfectly honest, I am starting to get very annoyed with the fragmentation in Android phones. Every quarter, there is a hot new feature announced. And, there is always a footnote to each and every announcement: "Oh, it's not available to YOU."

Sure, wireless carriers are partly to blame for this. OEM manufacturers are also to blame. As a customer, though, I am not interested in who I should blame for the fragmentation -- I am only interested in who will fix the fragmentation problem, and when!?!

This is depressing... Just got a S3 in July. Now my stripper girlfriend will have to work an extra shift to buy me an S4 by my birthday. Thanks Samsung, you keep this up and she'll never be able to pay off her student loans for nursing school!