The HTC One (M8) is announced, with refocusing technology among other photographic toys

HTC's replacement for its HTC One wasn't exactly a well-guarded secret with most of the speculation centred on what exactly it'd be called. But now that the HTC One (M8) is here, it looks as if it has a very interesting camera function that I'm intrigued to try out. What, then, does it have to offer? First, HTC has stuck to its ultrapixel guns, with the emphasis being on the size of the pixels on the sensor, not how many there are to service the 28mm ƒ/2.0 lens. Gone is the 2013 image stabilisation technology, replaced by a smart stabilisation function that works with the ultrapixels. And added is the rear-facing second sensor that allows for better depth detection and Lytro-like control by taking two shots simultaneously with the UFocus function. But there's also Foregrounder, so that you can add effects and play with the background; Copy & Paste, a compositing feature that lets you copy and paste people appearing in one photo into a different image; and Dimension Plus, which allows you to alter the angle of your image by tilting your screen.


Similar to the flash in the iPhone 5S, the 2014-One has a dual flash that is designed to render better skin tones and a slow-motion video function, as well. And there're manual options for ISO and the like, giving you better control over your exposure.

For all that HTC isn't interested in the megapixel wars, it has bumped up the front-facing camera's megapixellage from 2.1 to 5, though.

The phone's 2.3Ghz Snapdragon 801 processor should be capable of whipping through your edits and if 16GB or 32GB of storage is insufficient for your archive of images, you can always make use of the micro-SD card slot.

The 2014 vintage One has taken cues from Apple, Samsung, and Nokia as well as going its own way when it comes to megapixels and fun and games. But however good the camera is on it, does HTC have the firepower to make it a go-to smartphone?

Will Toshiba be bringing Lytro-like refocusing to smartphones?

We've grown accustomed to the idea of photos that we can refocus after the fact thanks to Lytro's lightfield camera and to Nokia's Refocus app that takes between two and eight photos that you can play with to your heart is content. Now Toshiba has announced the first dual camera module designed for inclusion in phones and tablets, which is able to record depth data and well as an image simultaneously. The catchily named TCM9518MD comprises two quarter-inch five-megapixel CMOS camera sensors and a dedicated processor. This dual camera module can capture images where the foreground and background, and everywhere in-between, are in focus along with depth data for each object in the picture. Not only can the module allow you to focus, defocus, and refocus the images it produces, but it can generate 13-megapixel images by up-scaling images taken by its two cameras.

Focus and refocus with Toshiba's dual camera module

Andrew Burt, vice president of the Image Sensor Business Unit, added that: 'Not only does the dual camera module enable these advanced capabilities [e.g. refocusing] with fast digital focus and little shutter lag, the device doesn't require any focus motors, so it can be built much thinner than today's 13-megapixel camera modules.'

Toshiba has made sample modules available to smartphone and tablet manufacturers (they cost $50 a pop), so which devices will be the first to feature them?

(Headsup to the Verge, further information from PR Newswire)