WhatsApp and Instagram UPDATE brings great new feature, but not for every smartphone
This week, Google will activate a hidden processor core in the Pixel 2 smartphone.
This chip, which is inside every Pixel smartphone, is the first time Google has created a homegrown processor, and it's a pretty impressive piece of technology.
The processor, called the Pixel Visual Core, is going to have a massive impact on some of the most commonly-used apps on Android devices.
Notably, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat have partnered with Google in the development of the Pixel Visual Core during its incubation, but any developer in the future will have the capability the leverage the power of the new processor.
For the end user – or, anyone that uses a Pixel smartphone – the switch being flipped on this new processor basically means one thing: you'll now be able to take much nicer images from within the apps it supports.
Before, you may have noticed that image quality may have suffered if you took a picture within an app, rather than with the camera.
That shouldn't be the case now: Pixel Visual Core will extend the camera's award-winning HDR+ capability to the streams, feeds, and snaps in other apps (aside from its native home in the Pixel Camera app).
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This isn't your base-level HDR other phones have, either. It's HDR+, something Google wants you to know is very different.
“HDR+ actually works shockingly differently,” Isaac Reynolds of Google, project manager for Pixel Camera, explains to Wired.
“We take the [the shots your camera takes] and chop them into little bits, and line them on top of one another, and average the image together,” says Reynolds.
So HDR+ takes about 10 images at the same time, all underexposed, and uses these to create an image with the highest colour quality possible.
Regular HDR takes around three shots and averages them out – and the difference is noticeable.
Google's camera also uses Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution (or RAISR) to make your zoomed shots better.
The image processing in RAISR basically uses machine learning to offset that horrible grainy quality you get in images too enhanced with digital zoom. The results aren't perfect, but they're getting better.
And thanks to the hidden processor now going live on Google Pixel phones, these features will be available for use in photos taken from apps, too.
This comes after WhatsApp last week revealed support for a massive new feature coming to the popular chat app.
It's been revealed that WhatsApp is the first third-party app to support Apple's popular CarPlay feature.
According to macrumors.com, in-car WhatsApp access was previously only possible using the app's Siri integration.
However, this new update now means official CarPlay support will allow users to also receive WhatsApp push messages while driving.
This new feature is introduced with the 2.18.20 version of the app, and offers some competition to Apple's own iMessage app.
According to a report via iCulture, you’ll be able to see unread messages through a badge icon on the CarPlay UI and also have have Siri read out received messages, and you'll be able to send new messages via dictation, too.
The only difference from the iMessage apps is that with WhatsApp, you won't be able to scroll through a list of message threads from the CarPlay interface.
The app will work with CarPlay as of its newest update, and will automatically show up on the system when it's ready.
You can read more about that here.