Motorola snuck one past the carriers today when it pushed out a Moto X camera update via Google Play rather than an over-the-air upgrade.
Moto X users can download the Motorola Camera app from Google's app store for a brightened viewfinder that makes it easier to see when clicking photos and an expanded Quick Capture option.
Following the Moto X's August launch, the smartphone's camera was considered by many, including PCMag, to be a disappointment. As mobile analyst Sascha Segan put it, 'the camera here has serious problems' when compared to the superior Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5.
As noted by Android Police, it will replace the pre-loaded camera app on the Moto X. Right now, it appears that the app will only work on the Moto X.
A camera update was rolled out for the AT&T Moto X earlier this month and for T-Mobile in September. With the new standalone camera app, however, Motorola can bypass the carriers and just send updates via Google Play like any other app developer.
Motorola Spotlight Stories Also this week, Motorola introduced a new way of storytelling designed specifically for smartphones like the Moto X, dubbed Motorola Spotlight Stories.
Instead of simply adapting media like TV shows, movies, and books to a small display, Motorola engineers and Oscar-winning director Jan Pinkava produced something completely new. The team, led by Ratatouille director Pinkava, debuted its first effort this week, Windy Day, an immersive, interactive story made for mobile phones.
The story, as told by PCMag sister site Geek.com, whisks the viewer into a 360-degree virtual world, seen through the window of the Moto X. Users can follow Pepe the Mouse on his adventure to return a red hat he found floating through the woods. Keep up with Pepe and his friends by rotating, lifting, and tilting the phone as the narrative plays on.
Approximately five minutes long, Windy Day is the first of what Motorola hopes will be a long line of interactive stories, available exclusively on the Moto X. To watch, download the Motorola Spotlight Player from the Google Play store, then wait for the bouncing red hat to randomly appear.
The offering takes advantage of the Motorola X8 mobile computing system, which allows for intensive tasks at very low power.
'We took advantage of that access to build a powerful creative canvas for storytellers, incorporating a real-time 3D graphics engine, an advanced rendering technique from Pixar called OpenSubdiv, and sensor algorithms adapted from the landing systems of interplanetary spacecraft. Really,' said Motorola's Baback Elmieh.
Watch people watching the Motorola short in the video below. And, in the spirit of Halloween, enjoy the tiniest Superman try to find Pepe's lost hat.
For more, as PCMag's review of the Moto X and Why I Love the Motorola Moto X. Also, take a tour through Motorola's Texas-based Moto X factory in the slideshow above.