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Understanding the HTC New One’s Depth Sensing Feature with Dual Cameras

HTC finally launched their newest flagship android phone, the new One or All New One today and although most critics have praised its features and especially hardware capabilities, we can all agree that it doesn’t really bring anything new worth writing home about.  However, I find the new camera features quite intriguing and especially the dual rear cameras feature the device introduces.  HTC has given an official introduction to the dual camera feature and highlighted a number of great points you should know whether you are just an admirer or someone who plans to actually buy the phone.


There are two cameras at the back of the new HTC One, with the main camera, the lower one, housing a 4 megapixels ‘ultrapixels’ camera much like the older HTC One launched last year.  The smaller lens, positioned right above this one when the phone is in a portrait orientation has half the resolution at 2 megapixels but it does not capture images itself.  It’s primary purpose is to calculate depth and enable the primary camera that takes the pictures and video ‘understand’ the objects in the physical space.

According to HTC, the second camera that can be above the primary or to the left or right when the phone is tilted provides quicker and more accurate autofocus time of 300 ms since the camera can use the data from the second camera to determine the actual depth of objects and focus on them appropriately.  Besides this, the secondary camera helps in more detailed manipulation of the objects in the images because effects such as blurring and color change can be applied to already separated images in the foreground or background.

The camera on the new HTC One also comes with built-in editing tools to enable or apply depth of field effects, UFocus, Foregrounder to apply effects to the background of an image and of course tons of add-on tools such as 3D effects, falling snow and a kind of 3D effect on images.

The new HTC One camera feature is new, but it appears that its applications are limited.  For some reason, I thought the second camera would be primarily used to record 3D images or new forms of images.  HTC announced that it will be making the SDK for developers wishing to use the dual camera depth map stored as metadata in JPE|G image files can download and find ways to make it work for them and their end users.

The camera features of the new HTC One do not end there, you should read the full review if you want to know everything about the camera.  Anyway, the technology is great and although we haven’t gotten to review it and get a firsthand experience how it works, this can be a dealmaker for those who are undecided whether the upgrade is worth it.


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