Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hello ANDROID!

Finally Google released the demo of Android. Android is an open-source Linux based software platform for mobile devices. The code is in a Java like language that utilizes Java libraries developed by Google. Android will support a variety of connectivity technologies including GSM, CDMA & EV-DO. A number of companies have shown interest in developing Android based smartphones. If I was a programmer working on Android this would freak me out. Just imagine trying to develop a code which has to work across all platforms and simultaneously cater to the needs of a plethora of smart phones from different companies. Now compare this with a team working on Apple’s iPhone. Their task is so much easier because they have to build an OS catering to the needs of a single hardware.

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The four layers of the Android are - the Linux Kernel (basically drivers), Libraries, the Application framework (OS management) and finally the Applications themselves. It’s been developed by Google in conjunction with industry leaders like Intel, HTC, Qualcomm, T-Mobile & Wind River Systems. It being open-source means you can create applications for the platform using the Android SDK and win upto $10,000 dollars. Interestingly, the name Android comes from the start up company Android Inc which Google bought. Google has been working closely with T-Mobile and is scheduled to release Anroid based HTC phones in the 4Q of 2008.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

DEEP ZOOM and PHOTOSYNTH Technology

Photosynth is a really cool product to come out of the staples of Microsoft Live labs which produces interactive 3-D Images from 2-D images. It also makes use if another really neat technology known as the Deep Zoom technology.

Deep Zoom technology allows users to look at Giga bytes of image data in a seamless fashion. This technology takes a set of tiled images created using a Deep Zoom Composer and will send the user only that portion/tile which he/she wishes to view at any given instant. This is akin to how map quest or google map works.

My limited and simplistic understanding of how Photosynth works is that initially a 3-D physical model of that place is initially simulated. Then key points of the 3-D structure are identified and are pictorially recreated using several overlapping 2-D photos of that key point. Here is a link to better understand how Photosynth technology works. http://labs.live.com/photosynth/videodemo.html.

Having taken Computer courses on Digital Image Processing I can easily think of challenges that can come with combining pictures with varying camera angles, varying picture resolutions, varying light intensity and so on and so forth. But the end product looks great and I guess the practicality of the application is endless. I guess the Orkut or Myspace profiles of the future are going to have Photosynth enabled models rather than mundane 2D pics. I’ll leave it to you to think of more useful places where this marvelous piece of technology can be used