Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Viewing pictures taken with your Android phone

Camera phones take pictures.  You should be able to view those pictures too.  For some reason this basic functionality is limited on my Samsung Droid Charge.  So far I found 2 photo viewers on the phone.  One good, one less good.

Camera Photo Viewer:
If you click the camera icon you can go into review mode by clicking on the picture in the corner.  This is just like on the iPhone and is fairly intuitive.  Regular digital cameras usually do this with a switch.

This viewer is brain-dead.  First, it doesn't rotate the pictures when you rotate the camera.  That is basic functionality as of about 5 years ago.  Second, if you swipe the image left or right it does move to the next picture, but it doesn't show any swiping animation.  This is the first gesture system I've ever seen where there is no feedback.  It is quite jarring to use.  Even games back in 2001 did this. 

My Files viewer:
If you hunt around under "Apps" you will find an "App" called "My files".  This is a good photo viewer with a few odd quirks.  You can use this to view your pictures by going under the "DCIM\Camera" folder.  It does rotate pictures, and it does let you swipe.

From a technical perspective the folder layout is great - the DCIM folder is exactly the place most digital cameras place their files.  But most people don't know that and won't ever find their pictures which is a shame since this is the better photo viewer.  They need to make an icon that says "Pictures" that just takes you to this folder in one click.

The other issue is the order of the pictures.  Below is the list of my photos, nicely named and sorted with thumbnails.  That's great.

Suppose I click on the 3rd from the bottom, "2011-07-04 19.13.00.jpg" which was an experiment with the "Action Shot" mode.  We can see that the picture says it is 1 of 55.  But that was in the middle of the list, so it shouldn't be picture number 1.  But maybe the first picture you click on is always picture 1.  That's okay.

So I swipe the picture off the left side, and I get:
The wrong picture!  This isn't the next picture in the list.  It is the first file in the folder, and it isn't even close to the one we were just looked at.  It turns out that the picture you click on is number 1, and thereafter they start from the beginning.  This means that if I have 100 pictures on my camera, and I want to show someone the last 5 pictures I took, I have to swipe 95 times to get to them.  Or I have to click on the photo, then hit back, then click on the next phone.  Both options are retarded.

The file viewer app is the killer app for this phone.  It views every kind of file I can find, and unlike my iPhone I can copy files to/from it, including email attachments.  But the photo viewers are basic functionality for a camera phone and there are quite buggy.  Here are some more screen shots of the "My files" app:

Swiping works as expected:
 Camera app, with the "review" icon in the lower right corner:
"MY files" thumbnail and gallery options:


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