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Gimbal tech in a smartphone, Instagram Shops, and more tech news today

If this thing works, it's going to be great for smartphone video and photos. And lots lots more tech news rounded up!

Published onMay 20, 2020

ZHIYUN Smooth Q2 smartphone gimbal 1

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, May 20.

1. Gimbals are built-in to flagships now?

Here’s something: radical stabilization tech looks like it’s headed from concept to flagship product for brighter photos and smoother videos.

  • That’s what we’re seeing from Chinese maker vivo, who initially showed off the tech from afar for their Apex 2020 concept phone.
  • That concept phone was intended to be seen in person at MWC, but was stuck behind COVID-19 limits.
  • vivo has history of doing interesting things first: we previously saw tech in vivo’s Apex line, like pop-up cameras, appear long before commercial availability in the vivo Nex (let alone any other smartphone maker).

So, it does seem like it’s coming to a real-world product, in the vivo X50 flagship, after videos were posted to Weibo, including this clip:

gimbal vivo x50
  • The gif shows the X50 camera housing being moved about, and you can easily see the effect of the image stabilization at work, which is less magnetic OIS, found in most flagships, and more gimbal style.
  • The idea is it can capture steady video and blur-free photos, which has been the goal since the start of time for any device with a decent camera.
  • How well will it work? The exciting videos shared by vivo, are, of course, worthy of scepticism. At worst, they could be faked, as we’ve seen all too often.
  • But if it does work… real-world impact could be anything from general improvement, given how hard smartphone companies are already working on both hardware and software to offer steady video or photos, or actually fantastic, if you no longer need a handheld gimbal to capture that smooth framing.
  • Aside from video, it could be really handy for low-light photography. Even with OIS and multi-frame image capture, there’s only so much jitter a phone camera can withstand. This big camera housing could offer quite a bit .
  • This could (again, big emphasis on possibility) open the door for longer exposures, and much better dark and night snaps if the gimbal tech is reliable.
  • Up until now we haven’t seen much else about the vivo X50 series. A company executive was seen talking about the newly announced 50MP Samsung Isocell GN1 sensor, though, implying a range of new tech on this device or device series.
  • As an aside: I’ll never forget that vivo sponsored the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, alongside the likes of giants like Coca-Cola. That which must’ve surely cost parent-company BBK an untold fortune, especially as it will sponsor the next World Cup in Qatar, too.
  • (One of the key searches out of that World Cup was: “What is vivo,” and via Google Trends you can see people searching for vivo out of nowhere right on the World Cup timeline.)

2. Google CEO Sundar Pichai says ‘hardware is hard’ in interview about Pixels, confirms hardware commitment including a tiny tiny hint about 2021 products (Android Authority).

3. Galaxy Note 20: 100x zoom is pointless, and it looks like Samsung might agree (Android Authority).

4. Chrome 83 for desktop introducing tons of new safety tools, including Safety Check (Android Authority).

5. Save $30 on AirPods Pro and more — Best AirPods deals rounded up (Android Authority).

6. ‘Apple Glass’ details have been apparently leaked, courtesy of Jon Prosser, and will reportedly cost $499 and work with prescriptions. Significant general details revealed, so much so it’s hard to believe, but Prosser has a track record? (AppleInsider).

7. Significant: Facebook and Instagram roll out Shops, turning business profiles into storefronts. Key thing: Mark Zuckerberg has been reportedly personally invested in this, which takes it from an interesting idea to likely-to-be-important. But going all-in on Facebook has always been flirting with danger, given the complete lack of control you retain. Shopify’s involved as a partner, too (TechCrunch).

8. The Joe Rogan Experience goes exclusive to Spotify in a new deal, a move that is reverberating as the free/advertising-supported model of podcasts continues to turn towards walled gardens (TechCrunch).

9.  In Microsoft Office news out of Build 2020: it announced Lists, an Airtable-like new app (TechCrunch), and talked about its new Fluid Office documents, being called Google Docs on steroids (The Verge). Plus, Microsoft has also released a new open source PowerToys Run launcher for Windows 10, which is like Apple’s macOS Spotlight tool, now available to download, and here’s the readme (GitHub).

10. iFixit and right-to-repair groups fire shots at medical device manufacturers (Wired).

11. Mt. Everest visible from Kathmandu, Nepal for first time in living memory (r/interestingasfk).

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