Scalado Re-Imagines The Smartphone Camera - InformationWeek

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3/7/2012
09:24 AM
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Scalado Re-Imagines The Smartphone Camera

Mobile World Congress showcased several groundbreaking camera phone capabilities, but Scalado's Random Access JPEG technology is the coolest one you've never seen before.

At Mobile World Congress, Nokia introduced a 41-megapixel camera in its new 808 Pureview phone, and HTC came out with some pretty amazing camera technology as well. But Scalado is busy re-inventing what phone cameras can do.

Scalado is one of the most interesting companies you've never heard of, but may have unwittingly come across. The Scalado technology is in more than one billion mobile phones, and its claim to fame is handling images more efficiently. But it's what it's about to do that gets especially exciting: Scalado has truly re-imagined what's possible with a smartphone camera.

Scalado accomplishes almost all of its magic using what its CTO, Sami Niemi, calls Random Access JPEG technology. Essentially, this technology can extract information from within a compressed JPEG file, and take only the parts that are needed for displaying information. So when you zoom or scroll around an image, it just displays the parts you need to see, rather than decompressing the entire file. Niemi claims that this process is more efficient, and it's certainly much faster, as we saw in some Scalado demonstrations at MWC 2012 last week in Barcelona, Spain.

Niemi scrolled around various high-resolution images, and even demonstrated 10,000 images on a screen at one time--a screen from which he could scroll, pick, and zoom instantly. Very impressive.

Niemi also demonstrated some uses for this technology, from the ability to take a burst sequence of photos and put them together into a single, interesting photo, to its "remove" feature where you can go into a photo and remove parts of an image. Many phone cameras (and software) let you take panoramic shots, but Scalado's demonstration application wasn't restricted to a single direction: It allows for 360-degree panorama, and then takes advantage of a device's accelerometer to explore the image. A similar capability lets it capture a 3-D/angled image.

All of these are featured in demonstrations in the video embedded below.

[ See our complete Mobile World Congress 2012 coverage, reported from the mobile industry's hottest event. ]

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