Snap!: The Xoom's Cameras
About ten years ago, someone decided that digital cameras should become standard in cell phones. Seemingly overnight, and probably due to the relatively low cost, digital cameras became basic cell-phone features. This one simple change altered the way that news was gathered. Today, anyone with a cell phone in hand can capture a still picture—or, better yet, video—of any event that occurs in front of him or her.
Now fast-forward through multiple generations of phones and other small devices to the Motorola Xoom tablet computer, which has not one but two fancy cameras for your enjoyment. Why does a tablet need two cameras? That’s a good question, and I’m not sure that I can answer it adequately here. Suffice it to say that the dual cameras let you use the Xoom as a video recorder, a still camera, and a webcam (showing off your pearly whites as you use the device).
In this chapter, I look at the Xoom’s cameras and their built-in software.
Exploring the Xoom’s Cameras
The Xoom has two built-in cameras: one front-facing and the other rear-facing. These two cameras allow you to take pictures and capture video by using the screen as a viewfinder, as well as take pictures of yourself using the screen as a viewfinder (because the camera is pointing right back at you). What’s more, the front-facing camera lets you stream video to the Web or engage in video phone calls over the Internet or via Skype.
The rear-facing camera
The rear-facing camera is the deluxe one of the Xoom’s two cameras. Its 5-megapixel capability means that it’s possible to take some reasonably nice pictures with it. That said, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be winning any photo contests using the Xoom as your primary digital camera, but a 5-megapixel camera is good enough to capture some decent shots. The rear-facing camera also has a dual LED (light-emitting diode) flash so that it can take pictures in the dark.
The front-facing camera
The front-facing camera sits dead center along the top edge of the Xoom. It faces you so that you can project your face to someone you’re communicating with over the Internet via Skype or some other communication program. This camera is also very handy for taking pictures of yourself, of course, or even for seeing what’s behind you while you’re looking into the Xoom’s screen.
With 2-megapixel capability, the front-facing camera isn’t as powerful as the rear-facing camera. Also, it doesn’t have a flash, which means that it can capture pictures only when there’s adequate light.