Firmware Friday: Motorola brings the Moto X camera up to scratch, Casio supports fast Wi-Fi cards


posted Friday, September 27, 2013 at 6:30 PM EST

The weekend has arrived, and once again it's a rather light Firmware Friday we have for you this week. In fact, we're stepping just slightly outside our usual remit to bring you news of a smartphone update, solely because it's said to bring a great improvement in camera performance. We also have news of another batch of firmware updates from Casio, following on from those released last week.

First of all, the smartphone, though. The US-assembled Motorola Moto X went on sale a month ago, and early reviews from the likes of Anandtech, Engadget, and the Verge quickly identified issues with its rear-facing camera. Google now owns the Moto X's maker, Motorola Mobility, and the phone is its flagship Android device. Given the aggressive marketing push behind the Moto X, you might have expected imaging to be a major focus of the design, and indeed it was. Motorola opted for an unusual Omnivision clear pixel image sensor, which substitutes one of the green pixels in a Bayer array with a clear pixel, for greater light sensitivity. Yet those early reviews were decidely mixed, using terms like "bimodal", "great, but ... also terrible", and "hit and miss". Ouch!


Now, Motorola and Google have answered these criticisms of what is, essentially, the flagship Android device with a new over-the-air update, and there's good news. According to the folks at Anandtech, there's been a significant improvement in imaging, with exposure, white balance, color accuracy, and noise processing all improved. Anandtech's Brian Klug describes the update as bringing the "biggest [changes] I've ever seen ... in an OTA update", and suggests that imaging performance is now close to fulfilling on the sensor's early promises. That's great news for Moto X owners, and may sway a few fence-sitters who've been lusting after the phone's other features, but remained put off by its camera.

And then there are the Casio updates. As with last week's initial round of updates, these all bring just one change. Last time, it was improved read performance with specific MicroSD cards. This week, it's support for Toshiba's FlashAir W-02 Class 10 memory cards, which are much faster than the earlier Class 6 card. Whether it was these same cards for which the earlier update made improvements, we're not sure. It's certainly possible, as it would a curious decision to update all but one of the TR-series cameras with FlashAir W-02 support, and then follow up a week later by gifting only that remaining TR-series model with W-02 compatibility. Either way, though, the list of cameras and their new updates is as follows: