All posts in “smartphone”

Get a professional smartphone camera lens kit on sale for Cyber Weekend

Your smartphone camera deserves better.
Your smartphone camera deserves better.

Image: Shiftcam

Your family holiday photo says a lot about you, so you want it to look as good as possible, but why break the budget on a professional photographer? This holiday season, you can use your smartphone to take a photo that’s just as good with RevolCam: The Multi-Lens Photo Revolution for Smartphones.

The RevolCam allows you to use three high-quality camera lenses, an adjustable brightness LED with 230 light levels that helps illuminate subjects in any conditions, and a built-in selfie mirror all on the same smartphone. 

Want a fisheye shot of you and the dog? How about a macro of your family’s custom Christmas Tree ornament? Anything is possible with the RevolCam because it’s so versatile and compact. Don’t fret about traveling with a giant DSLR this holiday season. Just pop the RevolCam in its carrying case and you’re ready to go.

The RevolCam is usually on sale for $34.99 in the Mashable shop (40% off its normal price of $59) but now you can buy this awesome device at its Black Friday price of $29.99. Plus, if you use coupon code BFRIDAY20 at checkout, you can save an additional 20% off. You’ll get the entire set for an insane deal of just $24.

Hey Trekkies, you’re gonna want this ‘Star Trek’ Bluetooth communicator

Star Trek fans know well how much Trekkie merch is out there — considering the franchise was launched in 1966, trying to collect 30+ years of themed stuff is quite the task. And with the recent premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, there’s bound to be a supernova explosion of new items.

However, there is one piece of merchandise that hovers above the rest — possibly because it literally looks like it fell straight out of the show’s set. The Star Trek Bluetooth communicator is the thing that fans never knew they needed.

The Bluetooth communicator seriously looks like an exact replica of the one from the original series. The attention to detail can be attributed to the fact that it was designed using a literal 3D scan of one of the last remaining communicator props. To boost the authenticity even more, it features 20 voice clips and conversation fragments from the show. Who else can say they can have a conversation with Spock when they’re bored?

Though this one can’t contact starships or surpass rules of physics, it does have the features that 21st century folk covet. As a fully functioning Bluetooth handset, this gadget works with any Bluetooth enabled phone and allows seamless phone calls. It also works as a wireless speaker — the communicator in the show didn’t even do that. 

If you’re not a devoted fan but know someone who is, this is the ultimate holiday gift. Cue the happy tears and get the communicator for $149.95 here.

Apple’s TrueDepth camera will be used to send face data to third parties

The iPhone X is officially here, and with it comes a bevy of new bells and whistles that Apple promises justify the smartphone’s hefty price tag

Once such feature is the front-facing TrueDepth camera, which powers both Face ID and gives us the lovely notch. However, according to an Apple contract recently shared with app developers, it also opens up users to a new and not yet fully understood privacy risk. 

According to Reuters, which managed to review the terms of a third-party app developer agreement with Apple, the data gleaned by the TrueDepth camera need not remain on a customer’s phone. Instead, it can be transmitted to non-Apple servers — a revelation that has some privacy and security experts concerned. 

Notably, Apple has gone out of its way to address privacy concerns related to its Face ID biometric system. The company has promised that all data gathered by Face ID will remain on the phone, and that “[when] using Face ID, the [third-party] app is notified only as to whether the authentication was successful; it can’t access Face ID or the data associated with the enrolled face.”

Importantly, however, that doesn’t mean app developers won’t have access to the TrueDepth camera and the data it gathers. 

“Unless Apple comes up with something a bit stronger than a wag of the finger, this has the potential of getting real ugly.”

“App makers who want to use the new camera on the iPhone X can capture a rough map of a user’s face and a stream of more than 50 kinds of facial expressions,” explains Reuters. “This data, which can be removed from the phone and stored on a developer’s own servers, can help monitor how often users blink, smile or even raise an eyebrow.”

We reached out to Apple to confirm that this is in fact the basic structure of third-party app developers’ contracts with the company, and will update this story if and when we hear back. 

But why does any of this matter? Well, Apple has reportedly forbidden third-party app makers from either selling face data to marketers or using it for advertising purposes. However, according to Dan Tentler, a security researcher with The Phobos Group, once the data leaves Apple’s grip it no longer matters what the rules are. 

If the technological capability is there for abuse, he notes, bad actors will find a way to abuse it. 

“It wont matter. Advertisers are going to [go after the data] anyway, and it’s plausible there will be a black market or underground market for quietly lifting that data off of phones despite [Apple’s] rules,” Tentler explained over email. “The trouble here is that their defensive mechanism appears to be just a bunch of rules, and it’s staggeringly obvious that making something against the rules only stops people who elect to follow the rules.”

Which, yeah, that doesn’t sound so good. 

Tentler took his warning even further, saying, “if people followed the rules, we’d never see malware being sent to people through advertising networks, or, you know, murder. You can’t depend on rules alone to stop people from doing bad things, so unless Apple comes up with something a bit stronger than a wag of the finger, this has the potential of getting real ugly.”

So, are iPhone X owners doomed to live a life of potential privacy abuse by unscrupulous app developers? Not necessarily, but they do need to exercise some caution. 

Jim Dempsey, the Executive Director of Berkeley’s Center for Law & Technology, told Mashable that while Apple does have a good track record when it comes to privacy, the specifics of the TrueDepth sensor require an extra level of consumer awareness. 

“Now, for some apps, [users] will also be receiving notices asking permission to collect facial data,” he wrote via email. “It’s very easy to say yes, because you want the features offered by the app, which seem cool at the moment. I think consumers have to become even more vigilant about those requests. There is a risk — probably already a reality — that many folks become desensitized to the requests for permission, accept them, and then forget about them.”

In other words, the next time a fun-looking third-party app asks for permission to access the data gathered by your iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera, maybe think long and hard before tapping “OK.”

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Fuller Razer phone specs have leaked, and it’s time to get excited

Razer’s smartphone is looking pretty impressive. 

New leaks show that the Razer Phone could be the gaming powerhouse it’s been hyped up to be.

The leaks were posted on a UK mobile plan reseller’s website, 3G, and has since been deleted, though an archived version is available to access.

According to a screengrab, the Razer Phone will have a 5.72 inch, 120Hz IGZO display, a dual 12 and 13 megapixel wide angle and zoom camera, Dolby Atmos sound with dual front speakers, 4,000mAh battery and 8GB of RAM.

If true, the 120Hz display is really impressive, setting the phone apart from most flagships on the market, that mostly come with a 60Hz display.

With twice the refresh rate, it means the phone will feel more nimble and reactive — perfect for fast-paced action games.

Here’s the difference between a Samsung S8 flagship at 60Hz on the left, and a Japanese phone with a 120Hz display on the right, courtesy of a Reddit user. In the slow motion capture, you can see how the S8’s display seems to trail behind the user’s finger movements, compared with the Docomo phone.

As of now, there’s no way of verifying 3G’s information, but it does match up with an earlier leak from another site, Phone Radar, which also similarly stated that the Razer Phone would have a 5.7 inch screen and 8GB of RAM.

The Razer Phone also looks pretty similar to the Nextbit Robin, from the smartphone company that Razer acquired back in January. 

We won’t have to wait much longer to find out, anyway. The Razer Phone is expected to launch in less than 24 hours, on Nov. 1 at 1PM PDT.

Razer’s going to IPO, funding future devices

The PC and peripheral maker’s expansion into the mobile scene is going to be bolstered by a promising stock market listing. The company has launched an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, with an aim of raising some $550 million.

If the firm does reach its target, that would make its CEO and co-founder Tan Min-Liang an overnight billionaire.

Tan revealed in an interview with news outlet The Straits Times earlier this year that the gaming company had sold $1 billion worth of products in the past three years, though the firm also reported a loss of $53 million this year.

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