Intel’s RealSense line up until this week, was a 3D creative camera that finally had a counterpart that was going to be build directly into Ultrabooks and other clamshell devices. At IDF Shenzhen we got a glimpse of the future for what we now understand to be an entire product line. RealSense is headed towards tablets this year and the results look very compelling. During the Day 2 Keynote they showed a video of the tablet focused depth camera in action. The first thing that came to mind was the refocusing abilities of the HTC One M8 smartphone with it’s dual camera.
What Intel is offering with RealSense is much more robust, as it offers up additional information about the scene. For example a baby was shown being held up in the air, with the camera able to indicate the height of the baby. Intel’s RealSense cameras have impressed developers in the past with their ability to generate droves of data with eye tracking in the current generation and plans to include pupil tracking are also under way. We were unable to learn any more specifics about the camera headed for the tablet, as specifics of the technology will be revealed later this year when we expect to see them appear in Bay Trail tablets. It is exciting to think that this line up of gesture control cameras will eventually find a home in Intel Smartphones as well.
HTC has clearly demonstrated that Dual Cameras are something that people are interested in. When first released I wondered if it was a gimmick that would add marketing flash and little substance to the overall camera experience. It turns out that the rich feature set that HTC has created, is quickly becoming a genuinely valuable feature for end-users. A Dual Camera set up simulates the one thing that a Smartphone camera until now never had, the big glass lens that we find on DSLRs. Depth perception alters this discrepancy, making the Smartphones and Tablets more attractive in general point and shoot photo taking.
Intel RealSense technology goes further than HTC’s implementation, since Intel has put compute power behind the camera, as gesture control was the line ups primary focus, not just photography. Intel is already hinting at the additional value ads of their technology with the ability to measure items that are captured in frame. The need to differentiate in the Smartphone and Tablet market is necessary for the survival of any platform, especially one trying to find their footing in China.