New Smartphones Are Coming

To be fair, there is always a new smartphone on the horizon.

ZTE will introduce the world’s fastest phone. LG reveals details about their upcoming G6 smartphone. Lytro receives an influx of cash to take the technology to the next level. Apple reveals the new venue and dates for WWDC. Epic releases the latest version of Unreal Engine 4.

ZTE announced they’re bringing out the world’s first gigabit-speed smartphone. Previously only available in a wireless hot spot, wireless gigabit speeds exceed the connection speeds available to most homes through wires! However, a hallmark of Mobile World Congress (MWC) announcements is their prematurity: the device will probably not be on sale for months, or could be canceled entirely. Regardless, ZTE is really putting themselves on the map here.

LG is explaining the reasoning for their extra-tall display on the G6. It’s for multi-tasking. The LG G6 raised some eyebrows when rumors pegged it as having an unusual 18:9 aspect ratio, but we now have official confirmation that the G6 will feature a 2880x1440 screen at 5.7" diagonal. 18:9 reduces down to 2:1, meaning it is precisely twice as tall as it is wide. By splitting the screen into two identical squares, LG has come up with a few neat uses for this aspect ratio:

  • Square camera lets you take perfectly square Instagram photos on one side while reviewing the shots on the other
  • FullVision is how they are branding the extra vertical space, allowing for longer timelines, more article content, and reading e-books.
  • “Advanced multi-tasking” permeates through all of LG’s built in apps.

We’ll have to wait another 10 days to see it all in action.

Lytro just raised $60 million more. The embattled imaging startup has had a hard time trying to figure out what it wants to be. Initially targeting consumers with a novel but ultimately niche (and underpowered) camera toy, they have been slowly gravitating towards the more professional market over the years. Now, it seems they have completely left the consumer space as they double down on the incredibly expensive and bulky Lytro Immerge and Lytro Cinema.

  • Lytro Immerge lets a filmmaker capture 3D 360º video that also captures depth and permits the viewer (limited) movement within the scene. This is said to be much more immersive than simply 3D 360º video, which can be captured by something like Google’s JUMP platform. I’d say Lytro Immerge footage is “true” virtual reality filmmaking, not just a sphere around the viewer.
  • Lytro Cinema is a light field camera about the size of a Civil War cannon that allows for much simpler and much more believable replacement of elements in the screen. The hope is to replace “green screens” in movies, and allow filmmakers greater flexibility and fidelity in post production.

Apple announces WWDC 2017. This year’s WWDC will be held at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, as the typical venue (the Moscone Center in San Francisco) is undergoing renovations. It promises to be an affair, like every year, where Apple puts forth where their software is headed, enticing developers to use new capabilities brought on by major releases of iOS, macOS, and perhaps watchOS and tvOS. Registration is a lottery, and is chiefly aimed at active developers for Apple devices.

Epic released Unreal Engine 4.15. This release focuses on performance, noting up to 50% faster compile times, the stable release of “cooking” Blueprints to C++, and support for the Nintendo Switch. Another interesting addition is the ability for mobile applications to use GPS, potentially enabling Pokémon GO-like projects to be done inside Epic’s game engine. As always, UE4 is free to download.