Season's new phones are all about selfie image

Sep 05 2014, 09:25 IST
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''There's something to be said about having selfies be kind of the modern-day version of the Polaroid - instant, but it has its own look and had its own style.'' (Reuters) ''There's something to be said about having selfies be kind of the modern-day version of the Polaroid - instant, but it has its own look and had its own style.'' (Reuters)
SummarySelfie becomes declaration to the world that they were there.

Visit any tourist destination, and you're bound to see individuals and groups taking photos of themselves for sharing on social media. It's a declaration to the world that they were there.

Pop stars such as Rihanna and Justin Bieber have helped popularize the trend, too, by posting stylized selfies to their leagues of followers. Even politicians are taking selfies with ordinary folks these days as a way of showing how close they are to voters.

So it was only a matter of time before tech companies responded with phones and apps specifically designed to help people take more and better selfies.

Several phones unveiled at the IFA tech show in Berlin this week sport higher-resolution front cameras, so selfies will come out sharper. Some even have apps that let you use the rear cameras, too. That means even clearer photos - and the use of the flash, if you need it.

Promoting new phones as the perfect selfie camera is a natural move for manufacturers scrambling to stand out.

''The `selfie phone' race resembles the megapixel race for cameras on the back of the phone,'' said Gerrit Schneemann, an analyst at research firm IHS. ''Handset makers try to satisfy a specific use case by including more powerful features in the front camera.''

One of the phones Microsoft announced Thursday, the Lumia 730, has a 5 megapixel front camera and software to help users touch up their image after taking it.

For even better shots, it'll be possible to take selfies with the 6.7 megapixel camera on the rear. Users won't be able to see themselves on the screen, but an app called Lumia Selfie will use face-detection technology and beep to tell users where to hold the camera.

With a starting price of 199 euros ($258) before taxes, the phone is likely to be particularly attractive to younger buyers and aspiring middle classes in developing countries.

It also fits neatly with Microsoft's stated strategy of prioritizing mobile phones and Internet-based services. The phones come with sizeable online storage space on Microsoft's OneDrive, where users can back up their photos or share them with friends.

Microsoft's announcement follows Samsung's new Galaxy Note phones unveiled Wednesday. The Note 4 and the Note Edge come with a special wide-angle option, which allows users to fit more people into their selfies by stitching multiple images together.

The feature could help avoid bloopers such as

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